For many of us over the years banks have come to be seen as an industry which has prioritised its own interests, often to the detriment of its staff, shareholders and customers. A history of poor lending practices, management bonuses, loan sales, and various over charging scandals have created huge reputational damage for an industry that is a vital cog in the wheel of every business, big or small.
For every small business, including us farmers, banks are a necessary tool to manage our finances, even if we never borrow or save with them. For those of us who run small businesses, the need to be able to trust our banks is crucial as we neither have the time, or the expertise, to constantly check if every charge on our account is accurate.
The Irish Banking Culture Board (IBCB) was set up to restore the reputation of our banking industry. While we all understand that banks need to operate profitably, to do so, all the stakeholders involved must be treated fairly and equitably, especially our vulnerable and those who are at a particularly vulnerable time in their lives due to a sudden bereavement or life-changing injury.
Reputational change is a long-term project in which I’m optimistic the IBCB will have a major positive role to play. As a board member of the IBCB, I will be ensuring that our views as farmers and businesspeople will be heard loud and clear.
by Martin Stapleton Treasurer IFA & IBCB Board member