CHANGING BANKING CULTURE IN IRELAND

  • Independent Irish Banking Culture Board launches today
  • 14 members of the Board announced
  • Publication of a national public and stakeholder consultation report and a banking staff employee culture survey – both undertaken to inform the IBCB’s establishment
  • “The role of the Irish Banking Culture Board will be to promote and measure an environment in which: ethical behaviour is made inevitable; fair customer outcomes are achieved; and reputation for competence is rediscovered.” Mr. Justice John Hedigan, Chairman of the Irish Banking Culture Board
  Dublin – Monday 15th April 2019: Today the Irish Banking Culture Board (IBCB) officially launches and also announces its appointed Board members. This is following an in-depth public and stakeholder consultation and a separate bank employee culture survey, which were undertaken to inform the IBCB’s establishment, both of which are also being published today. As part of the public and stakeholder consultation, almost 750 members of the public shared their views via an online survey and 38 face to face interviews with 51 key stakeholders, both within and outside the banking industry, including customers, the business community, members of representative bodies and the political system, took place. Furthermore, over 25,000 bank employees (from Allied Irish Banks, Bank of Ireland, KBC Bank Ireland, Permanent TSB and Ulster Bank) were invited to participate in the employee culture survey, conducted for the IBCB by the UK Banking Standards Board. The findings from both of these consultations have provided key insights into banking culture and have informed the selection of the IBCB Board members and will assist them in determining the IBCB’s priority areas of focus. The IBCB is an industry initiative, established with the aim of rebuilding trust in the sector and promoting fair customer outcomes. With the knowledge that public trust in the banking sector is damaged, the CEOs of the five retail banks in Ireland – Allied Irish Banks, Bank of Ireland, KBC Bank Ireland, Permanent TSB and Ulster Bank – announced the creation of this new independent entity in September 2018.
Speaking at the launch event, Michael D’Arcy TD, Minister of State at the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, with special responsibility for Financial Services and Insurance: “I am delighted to be welcoming the launch of such an important organisation today. It is clear that public trust in banking is diminished and has been for some time. Rebuilding trust is critical, necessary and overdue. The establishment of the Irish Banking Culture Board (IBCB) with its clear focus on culture is, I believe, a crucial step in that process. There is a real need to promote a sustainable banking sector that adheres to the highest standards of professionalism in its treatment of customers. I commend the banking industry for establishing this initiative and holding up a mirror to their profession. I look forward to the finalisation the Board’s work programme in the coming months.”
The IBCB’s goal will be to act as an advocate for cultural change in the banking sector. The newly appointed IBCB consists of fourteen individuals, including the current Chairman and Acting CEO of the Board. They are as follows :
  • Mr. Justice John Hedigan, Chairman of the IBCB
  • Marion Kelly, Acting CEO of the IBCB
  • Angela Black, Chief Executive, Citizens Information Board
  • Professor Blanaid Clarke, McCann FitzGerald Chair in Corporate Law at Trinity College Dublin
  • Dara Deering, Executive Director and Head of Retail Banking, KBC Bank Ireland
  • Jane Howard, CEO, Ulster Bank
  • Padraic Kissane, Padraic Kissane Financial Services
  • Ger Mitchell, Group HR Director, Permanent TSB
  • Robert Mulhall, Managing Director, AIB Consumer Banking
  • Vincent Mulvey, Group Chief Risk Officer, Bank of Ireland Group
  • Gareth Murphy, Acting General Secretary, Financial Services Union
  • Philip O’Leary, Managing Partner, Head of Commercial Department, FitzGerald Legal & Advisory
  • Sue O’Neill, Chair of the Small Firms Association (SFA) and Managing Director of Shellcove (AMC)
  • Martin Stapleton, Chair of the Farm Business Committee, Irish Farmer’s Association (IFA)
Chairman of the Irish Banking Culture Board, Mr. Justice John Hedigan said: “Following a loss of trust in the banking sector, rebuilding wider society’s confidence in the industry will not happen overnight; it will take time, courage and commitment. That journey begins in earnest today, informed by the voices of bank staff, customers and stakeholders from across Irish society. The composition of the Board is clearly critical to its success. Today’s announced appointments were carefully considered and are based on feedback from stakeholders throughout our consultation. It is important that the banking sector should be represented on the Board, and their representatives hold senior positions that can influence company wide decisions. Stakeholders supported this decision and the principle that the Board should be majority composed of non-bank representatives. We were also mindful that our Board needed to represent independent voices, including the voice of the public. We are most grateful to those who shared their valued views and perspectives which not only informed the appointment of our Board but will also inform the work of this important new body. I am also pleased to announce that Dr Martin McAleese has accepted my invitation to be Patron of the IBCB. He has been closely involved in this project since its inception and remains so today. I thank Martin for taking up this invitation and look forward to consulting with him in the future.”
Marion Kelly, Acting CEO of the Irish Banking Culture Board, said, “In establishing the IBCB, we have been acutely aware of the importance of asking for and listening to the views of bank stakeholders, in particular bank staff and customers as regards current banking culture and how the IBCB can work to change this for the better. Much of this feedback makes sobering reading, however it was important and necessary for the sector to ask for, and to listen to, these views – to hold the mirror up and to be prepared to act on what it reflects. Through the consultation we have identified a role for the IBCB to help banks be more transparent, and to benchmark their progress in changing the way they conduct themselves for the good of their staff and the people and communities they serve. Each of the five founding member banks has its own internal culture change programme underway and progress is being made. However, the bank employee culture survey shows that more work is required to create an open environment where staff feel comfortable to raise concerns, where concerns are listened to and where staff’s sense of well-being is a key focus. The challenge now is to translate the views expressed during the consultation and survey process into actions that result in positive. While we recognise there is a long road ahead, the fact that an overwhelming 85% of the public, who participated in the consultation, stated they supported the establishment of the IBCB is a great starting point. I would like to thank all of the stakeholders – public, expert and banking staff – who generously gave of their time to contribute to the consultation and survey process. Your views have been heard and will form the foundation of both how the IBCB is structured and what it focusses on.”

ENDS

For further information, please contact: Aoife Van Wolvelaere/Gill Curran, Edelman BankingCultureBoard@edelman.com 01 678 9333 Notes to Editor
  • The IBCB will not act as a lobbying or representative organisation. It will not act as a regulatory body nor duplicate the work of individual banks or the regulator.
  • The establishment costs and annual running costs associated with the IBCB are being funded by the five Irish retail banks: Allied Irish Banks, Bank of Ireland, KBC Bank Ireland, Permanent TSB and Ulster Bank.
  • Both the public and stakeholder consultation report and the separate banking staff employee culture survey can be found at https://www.irishbankingcultureboard.ie/
  Public and stakeholder consultation Included below are some of the key findings from the public and stakeholder consultation.
  • Acting ethically, customers and transparency are key focus areas – ensuring banks act in accordance with and are held accountable to the highest possible ethical standards (83%), ensuring customers are treated fairly (61%) and promoting a culture of transparency (60%) are the top three focus areas for the IBCB, according to those surveyed.
  • The need for the sector to treat all customers with respect. This theme of a need to demonstrate greater respect included the means of communicating with all customers  – whether through the tone and frequency of letters to those in financial difficulties; the number of phone calls required to get through to someone who could assist with an issue – particularly for customers in distress; or the difficulties experienced by customers seeking a face to face meeting with a bank;
  • The need for the sector to consider the needs of marginalised or vulnerable customers and those in rural communities that are impacted by the evolution of the banking model – particularly via the move to digitalisation;
  • The need for the sector to support financial education amongst their customers, including ‘just in time’ education prior to making significant financial decisions;
  • The need for greater transparency in communications – specifically, less jargon in documentation but also transparency when things go wrong – there is a general acceptance that mistakes happen but what is key is that when they do happen, they are quickly acknowledged, steps to resolve are clearly communicated; progress is explained, and banks learn from their mistakes;
  • The need for the sector to consider the banking needs of smaller business and how they are impacted by the move to less face to face banking engagement – particularly SMEs and farmers.
  Banking staff employee culture survey The survey was conducted for the IBCB by the UK Banking Standards Board and comprised 37 core questions grouped into 9 themes of Honesty; Respect; Openness; Accountability; Competence; Reliability; Resilience; Responsiveness and Shared Purpose. The response rate was high – with over 14,300 (59%) of staff completing the survey.
  • 75% of respondents said that their organisation’s purpose and values were meaningful to them. However, nearly one-fifth of staff see a conflict between their bank’s stated values and how business is done;
  • 85% said that they saw their colleagues go the extra mile to meet the needs of customers, and 83% of employees said that they were encouraged to provide information to customers in a way that helps them make the right decisions. However, 19% of employees said that they did not believe that their bank put customers at the centre of business decisions;
  • 34% of all employees said that they had wanted to raise a concern at work over the last 12 months. These concerns related most commonly to actions not in the best interest of customers, to bullying or to ignoring internal policies. Of those who have raised a concern, less than 2 in 5 felt that these had been listened to and taken seriously;
  • Over half of all employees said that they feel under excessive pressure at work and 33% said that this was having a negative impact on their health and well-being;
  • 91% of staff said that their colleagues act in an honest & ethical way. However, almost 15% of staff stated that they have seen instances where unethical behaviour was rewarded and 20% stated it was difficult to make career progression without flexing their ethical standards.
Irish Banking Culture Board members:   Mr. Justice John Hedigan Chairman of the Irish Banking Culture Board (IBCB) John Hedigan was born in Dublin. He attended Belvedere College, Trinity College Dublin and Kings Inns. In Trinity, with other students, he re-founded the college branch of Amnesty International. He sat on the National Executive of Amnesty chaired then by Sean McBride SC and in company with Mary Robinson. In the later 1970s he was National Coordinator of Amnesty’s Campaign against Torture. John was called to the bar in 1976 and had a wide ranging practice as a barrister. He became a Senior Counsel in 1990. In 1998 he was elected a Judge of the European Court of Human Rights. He served on that court until 2007 when he was appointed a Judge of The High Court and returned to Ireland. On the High Court he worked in Judicial Review, presided over the jury list and finally worked on the Commercial Court. In 2016 he was appointed to The Court of Appeal where he sat on both the civil and the criminal side. He retired from the bench in October 2018 having reached the compulsory retirement age. Judge Hedigan is an honorary bencher of Kings Inns, is Judge in residence in DCU and is a member of the Judicial Council of the International Association of Law Schools. He was appointed as Chair of The Irish Banking Culture Board in January 2019.   Marion Kelly Acting CEO of Irish Banking Culture Board (IBCB) Marion initially joined the IBCB in August 2018 on secondment from Bank of Ireland (BOI) as Programme Director leading the establishment of the IBCB. Marion joined BOI in 2006 and has held a range of senior leadership roles across BOI in Regulatory Compliance, Operational Risk, Internal Audit and Recovery & Resolution planning. Prior to joining BOI, Marion worked with PwC Dublin for 7 years within the FS Regulatory advisory practice, and prior to that spent 4 years working in Brussels with both the European Savings Banks Group and the European Commission. Marion qualified as a Certified Bank Director in 2018, she holds a Masters in European Economic and Public Affairs and a BA Economics and German both from UCD.  Marion commenced the Institute of Banking’s Professional Diploma in Leading Cultural Change & Ethical Behaviours in Financial Services in February 2019. Angela Black Chief Executive, Citizens Information Board Angela Black has been Chief Executive of Citizens Information Board since 2014. CIB provides information, money advice and advocacy through www.citizensinformation.ie , and funding a network of over 200 locations in Ireland. Last year, CIB restructured 93 of its funded services into a regional model of 8 MABS and 8 CIS companies. Co-ordinating MABS’ Dedicated Mortgage Arrears and Abhaile schemes, CIB also supports National Traveller MABS and 66 free legal advice (FLAC) clinics in Citizens Information Centres; National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities, and Sign Language Interpreting Service. Special projects include the Personal Microcredit “It Makes Sense” Credit Union loan scheme. Qualified in banking risk, Angela has several years’ experience in consumer financial services in the Department of Finance and European Commission. She represented Ireland’s EU negotiations on e-money, consumer credit, insurance and financial markets legal instruments. She led European Commission work in Brussels from 2007-2011 on distance marketing, bank fees, switching, quality of investment advice and credit/APRC issues. She chaired European Parliament negotiations, reaching agreement on the Mortgage Credit Directive during Ireland’s 2013 EU Presidency.   Professor Blanaid Clarke BCL, MBS (Banking & Finance), BL, PhD, FTCD Blanaid holds the McCann FitzGerald Chair in Corporate Law at Trinity College Dublin. Her research interests include corporate law, corporate governance, financial services law and takeover law and she has published extensively in these areas.  Blanaid is the Irish representative on the OECD Corporate Governance Committee. She is a member of the European Securities and Markets Authority Takeover Bids Network and the European Securities and Markets Authority Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group. She also serves as a Vice President of the Academic Board of the European Banking Institute in Frankfurt. Blanaid works with the Irish Takeover Panel and was a member of the Irish Central Bank Commission (2010-2018). Previously, she was also a member of the European Commission’s Informal Expert Group on Company Law (2014-2018) and Reflection Group on the Future of EU Company Law (2010-2011).   Dara Deering Executive Director and Head of Retail Banking, KBC Bank Ireland Dara was appointed Executive Director with responsibility for Retail Banking in KBC in February 2012. Since joining she has led the launch and implementation of a new Retail Bank, broadening the range of products and services available, and offering a new banking alternative for Irish consumers. In February 2015 Dara also assumed Executive responsibility for the arrears support unit in KBC. Prior to joining KBC, Dara worked in leadership positions in the retail financial services industry for a number of years. Dara holds an MBA from Smurfit Business School and a Bachelor of Science Management from Trinity College Dublin.   Jane Howard CEO, Ulster Bank Jane Howard has worked in the financial services industry for more than 37 years. She has operated at Executive level for the last 14 years in risk management, and leading large scale operations and customer facing businesses. Jane’s previous role, to August 2018, was that of Managing Director, Personal Banking for RBS, one of the largest UK Banks. Under Jane’s four year leadership, Personal Banking implemented a Financial Health check for customers, reshaped the network so that customers have more physical and digital ways to bank than ever before and launched a professional development programme to enable customer-facing colleagues achieve an externally recognised Professional Banking Certificate.  In August 2018, Jane was appointed to CEO, Ulster Bank DAC commencing in role early September 2018. Jane is a certified Bank Director from the Institute of Banking (Dublin) and also holds a degree in Banking and a compliance diploma.      Jane is a fellow of the Chartered Banker Institute in Scotland.   Padraic Kissane Padraic Kissane Financial Services Padraic has over 30 years in the Financial Services Industry with extensive knowledge and experience in all areas of Financial Services. A member of ‘Brokers Ireland’, Padraic Kissane Financial Services is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Padraic is one of the foremost experts on Tracker Matters in Ireland and has been heavily involved in what has become known as ‘The Tracker Debacle’. He was the first to recognise the enormity of the problem through his investigation work on behalf of customers. Padraic has worked tirelessly to get the matter properly investigated. Padraic has appeared on many media forums as well as having made presentations to the Oireachtas Finance Committee on a number of occasions in relation to the Tracker Investigation.   Ger Mitchell Group HR Director, Permanent TSB Ger joined the Branch Banking division of the Dublin Savings Bank in 1993 and in the following years held a variety of roles across Branch Banking, Intermediary development, Regional General Management. Ger was appointed to the Permanent TSB Group Executive Committee (ExCo) in late 2012 as Group Lending & Insurance Director. In 2015, following the successful IPO of Permanent TSB, he was selected by the Group Board to lead the Mortgage Product Review Group. In 2017, Ger was appointed Chief Human Resources Officer and has since led the restructure of the HR function, the refresh of the HR Strategy and the establishment of the Bank wide culture programme. Ger chairs a number of group committees; Corporate Social Responsibility; Security Crisis Management and the Organisational Culture Programme. Ger is a Certified Bank Director (IOB/UCD 2016) and, along with a number of other General Management & Finance qualifications, he completed a Business Masters (MSC) through UCC/IMI (2014) specialising in Strategic HRM and Business Strategy & Innovation.   Robert Mulhall Managing Director, AIB Consumer Banking Robert’s career in AIB has spanned almost 25 years, covering a variety of roles up to senior executive management level in areas including Retail and Commercial Banking, Digital Channels Innovation, Retail Banking Distribution, Customer Relationship Management, Business Intelligence, Strategic Marketing and Development, Sales Management and Operations. In addition to Robert’s current role, he is also the bank-wide sponsor for Diversity and Inclusion, as well as Culture, within AIB. Coupled with his AIB Career, Robert also held the position of Managing Director, Distribution & Marketing Consulting and Financial Services with Accenture in North America from 2013 to 2015, during which time he brought his industry experience and subject matter expertise to build a growing consulting practice in the fast-moving and innovative areas of Financial Services. Robert holds a BSc degree in Applied Physics, an MA in Finance and is also QFA and CFA qualified.   Vincent Mulvey Group Chief Risk Officer, Bank of Ireland Group Vincent is responsible for Risk and Compliance oversight including Conduct and Regulatory matters at Bank of Ireland. He believes that good customer outcomes and effective risk management are intrinsically linked through culture. At Bank of Ireland, he is Chair of the Group Risk Policy Committee and the Group Culture Steering Committee, which guides the Bank’s culture transformation program. He is also a member of the Group Customer Board. Vincent has over 30 years banking experience across Branch banking, Business and Corporate lending and Risk management. He previously served as Head of Group Credit before joining the Group Executive Committee in 2009 as Chief Credit and Market Risk Officer. He is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and the Institute of Banking, a graduate of NUI Galway, and is a member of the editorial board for the Risk Management Association (RMA) Journal.   Gareth Murphy Acting General Secretary, Financial Services Union Gareth is the Acting General Secretary of the Financial Services Union, the trade union which represents workers across the banking and finance sector. He has worked for the Union for over 10 years and is committed to providing a professional voice for bank and finance staff with employers, the Government and more generally. Gareth is current undertaking a PhD in Queens University in performance management, technology and trade union responses and is also involved in his local GAA club.   Philip O’Leary Managing Partner, Head of Commercial Department, FitzGerald Legal & Advisory Philip is a member of the Law Society of Ireland with experience specialising in Banking and Security and commercial lending and debt advisory. Philip was appointed by the Minister for Justice as Chairman of the Irish Legal Aid Board for five-year term in 2016.  He has a long standing and consistent commitment to access to Justice issues and fairness from the Consumer perspective. Philip’s qualifications include BCL (Hons) University College Cork (UCC) and LLB (Hons) University College Cork (UCC).   Sue O’Neill Chair of the Small Firms Association (SFA) and Managing Director of Shellcove (AMC) Sue O’Neill is Chair of the Small Firms Association and Managing Director of Shellcove, an Association Management Company (AMC), which she founded in 2004. The company offers bespoke management services that help organisations to grow and remain relevant. Shellcove acts as a headquarters or provides individual support solutions which deliver scalability of staff or services. Sue is also a board member of Mircrofinance Ireland. She holds an MBA from Dublin City University, a Diploma in both Digital Marketing and Print Management and is a graduate of the IMI Business Development Programme.   Martin Stapleton Chair of the Farm Business Committee, Irish Farmer’s Association (IFA) Martin Stapleton is a Dairy farmer based in Limerick. Initially involved with Macra from 1997-2001, he joined IFA in 2002.  In 2016, he was elected Chair of IFA’s National Farm Business committee, a position which he still holds until the end of 2019.  Martin also sits on both the Advisory Board of the Property Registration Authority and the Advisory Group on Small Business. The Farm Business committee’s roles include developing IFA’s annual pre-budget submission; developing taxation policy proposals for farm businesses; as well as identifying measures necessary to support farm investment. Access to credit and the cost of credit are also relevant issues that are dealt with by liaising with the banking sector on behalf of the Association.  During his term as Chair, Martin has further developed the IFA’s Debt Support Team, a service for members who have Non-Performing Loans or who are encountering serious credit difficulties.   Dr. Martin McAleese Patron of the Irish Banking Culture Board Dr Martin McAleese holds an honours B.Sc. degree in physics from the Queen’s University of Belfast and B.A., M.A. and B.Dent.Sc. degrees from Trinity College Dublin. He worked for many years as financial controller and company secretary with a number of Aer Lingus subsidiary companies before qualifying as a dentist and becoming a partner in a large dental practice in Northern Ireland. He is a former independent member of Seanad Eireann. Martin is currently Chancellor and Chair of the Governing Authority of Dublin City University, Chair of the PwC Ireland Public Interest Body, a trustee of the Edwards MacLiammoir Gate Theatre Trust and joint Patron of the 30% Club with his wife Professor Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland.