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The Irish Banking Culture Board publishes 2020 – 2021 Annual Report-Progress on banking culture being made but need to continue to learn lessons and focus on fair customer outcomes still critical.

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Written In-House

The Irish Banking Culture Board publishes 2020 – 2021 annual report

6 October 2021: The Irish Banking Culture Board (IBCB) today published its annual report for 2020-21. The report, which outlines the extensive activity of the organisation during a challenging year against a backdrop of both Covid and significant change in the banking sector in Ireland, highlights the determination, purpose and progress of the organisation.

Speaking about the IBCB annual report publication, CEO of IBCB, Marion Kelly, said: “The IBCB entered its second year of existence in April 2020, just as the enormity of the Covid-19 pandemic globally, and nationally, was becoming apparent. Our purpose is to work with member banks in order to rebuild trustworthiness in the industry and to assist it in regaining public trust. It was evident that member banks proactively supported their customers, particularly the vulnerable, through the Covid-19 crisis which is encouraging and is a demonstration of positive culture and behaviour. We have continued to refine our strategic priorities for the year to ensure that the impact of the pandemic on bank customers and staff from a behaviour and culture perspective continues to be addressed.”

In early 2021, IBCB conducted two independent, bespoke surveys of bank staff and customers in relation to the culture they experience in their banks under the banner ‘éist’, the Irish language word meaning listen. The Board was pleased that the Bank Staff survey results show significant progress being made internally across all IBCB member banks since 2018. However, the Public Trust in Banking survey demonstrated that internal changes in culture have yet to resonate externally with a significant majority of bank customers and the public in general. The IBCB recognises that achieving this is crucial for the future of the industry and for overall pride levels of staff.

IBCB CEO, Marion Kelly continued: “Building trust takes time, and as we enter our third year we are as determined as ever to continue working with member banks to assist the industry so the internal change in banking culture translates externally to the public. Upcoming change will see fewer banks operating in the sector and Covid’s acceleration of the transition to digital banking, by ever growing numbers of customers and associated effect on branch networks, will continue to impact customers. While it is not the role of the Board to focus on the commercial aspects of member bank decisions, it is our role to consider the effect of those decisions and whether they are fair and implemented in accordance with the behaviours the IBCB promotes.”

The IBCB developed five Guiding Principles for member banks in response to the material changes which have taken place in the Irish banking sector in the last year. In order to assess whether these industry and/or institutional changes within member banks are being managed in a manner that is aligned with the IBCB’s founding principles of fairness and transparency, the Guiding Principles for member banks are to be adhered to, as relevant, where there are significant changes in operating models and/or activities resulting in material impacts on bank customers, and/or staff, and/or the wider market. These Principles were launched in September 2021 and will be a priority area of focus for the IBCB in the coming year.

Marion Kelly added: “The implementation of the IBCB’s five guiding principles will form a core part of our activity throughout the remainder of 2021 and 2022 and enable the IBCB to play a strong role in ensuring that positive behaviour and culture lies at the heart of strategic decision-making in our member banks, resulting in fair customer and staff outcomes. We strongly welcomed the publication by Government of the heads of the Senior Executive Accountability Regime (SEAR) legislation and look forward to contributing to its successful implementation as a further means of working with the industry in addressing legacy issues in the banking sector and positioning the sector for the demands of the future. In this context, IBCB welcomed the recently published report on the Future of Banking by the Banking Payments Federation of Ireland, and we look forward to engaging with a range of stakeholders and the Department of Finance on the future of banking debate, to ensure that cultural issues are thoroughly addressed.”   

To review the full annual report, visit IBCB Annual Report 2020 / 2021.



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