Work
Programme

Culture means many things to many people. It was necessary to focus the initial activities of the IBCB on particular aspects of cultural change which would resonate with the IBCB’s key stakeholders. For this reason, we decided to ask for, listen to and act on the views of those two cohorts of stakeholders most impacted by bank culture – bank staff and bank customers.

We conducted two pieces of research in this regard. Firstly, we commissioned the UK Banking Standards Board (BSB) to conduct a survey in October 2018 of the 25,000 bank staff across our founding member banks to gauge their views on the internal culture of their institutions. Secondly, we conducted a Public and Stakeholder Consultation exercise.

The findings of these two pieces of research were published in two separate reports in April 2019. These findings have set the baseline of what the perceptions are of banking culture in Ireland and what needs to change. These findings have also been used to inform the IBCB’s year one (2019-2020) Work Programme.

This Work Programme is comprised of two pillars of focus – one focussing on internal aspects of bank culture – including issues such as Ethics & Behaviour, Speaking Up and Psychological Safety, and the second pillar focussing on external and more customer impacting issues such as Communications, Supports for specific Customer groups such as Vulnerable Customers, Financial Education and Awareness etc.

icon representing bereavement

Bereaved Customers

  • chevron-bereavement Bereaved Customers

Establishing the “Common Commitment of Care” was the first step in the Bereavement workstream. To ensure the provision of these services are making a real and tangible difference for impacted customers, the next phase of this workstream will be to assess and measure effectiveness, and examine what additional measures could be introduced.

In addition, the Irish Banking Culture Board will continue to work with important stakeholders and customer advocates in this space, including the Irish Hospice Foundation and Coroner’s Court.

Bereavement support teams phone numbers
Bereavement support
teams phone numbers
  • AIB Allied Irish Banks
    Bereavement phone number: 01 641 5182
  • bank logos Bank of Ireland
    Bereavement phone number: 01 460 6333
  • bank logos KBC Bank Ireland
    Bereavement phone number: 01 664 6896
  • bank logos permanent tsb
    Bereavement phone number: 01 212 4077
  • bank logos Ulster Bank
    Bereavement phone number: 1800 303 543
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icon representing financial education

Financial Education & Literacy

  • chevron-financial-edu2 Financial Education & Literacy

Financial Education and Literacy is a broad theme. A working group has been formed with senior representation from our five member banks and including sponsors from the Irish Banking Culture Board to consider how we can promote financial literacy in Ireland.

This will be a key enabler in preventing knowledge gaps at future stages when individuals are making significant and long term financial decisions. This issue is a challenge across all of society including customers in a vulnerable position and SME’s including farmers.

We held a dedicated session focussed on SME and farmer cohorts. Through that session the following key areas were identified; product selection and education, the credit application process and risk management awareness.

Through our work on this topic thus far, we have had the opportunity to liaise with Safeguarding Ireland and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission. We will continue to identify opportunities to collaborate with other relevant industry bodies, including as relevant the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland.

icon representing Respectful & Transparent Communications

Respectful & Transparent Communications

  • chevron-respect Respectful & Transparent Communications

Respectful and transparent customer communication has been identified as a key requirement in rebuilding trust in member banks. There is a need for the sector to treat all customers – both profitable and less so, those in arrears or part of vulnerable groups with greater respect. There should be less jargon in documentation but also transparency when things go wrong. Customers expect to communicate with someone knowledgeable, who takes ownership for issues and deals with them in a straightforward and honest manner.

A working group has been formed with senior representation from our five member banks and including sponsors from the Irish Banking Culture Board and we are currently designing a programme of work, with initiatives to address the key requirements.   This includes communication standards, use of straightforward language, removal of jargon and technical descriptions.   The programme will also look at one off communication, such as changes and incidents impacting customers in banks.  It includes a specific focus on communications with customers who are in arrears.

icon representing Support for Community & Society

Support for Community & Society

  • chevron-society Support for Community & Society

A key finding from our Public and Stakeholder Consultation was that one of the more important ways banks can demonstrate cultural change is by becoming a more positive and proactive servant of the communities in which they operate.  Communities want banks to engage with them, rather than expecting customers to engage with banks. They want banks to understand the needs and wants of local communities and people and for banks to be a friend of the community. Vulnerable and elderly people find challenges with accessibility and barriers to banking in their local community and report feeling unwanted by their bank.  Challenges with accessibility and barriers to banking are particularly felt in rural areas, where lack of broadband access makes online banking difficult and access to service can be problematic.

A working group has been formed with senior representation from our five member banks and includes sponsors from the Irish Banking Culture Board.

There is an opportunity to fill the gap between what banks currently do for communities, and what communities actually need.  It is recognised that more up to date research would be beneficial to inform this piece of work. A next step is to undertake some further research on the actual needs and wants of local communities, to inform the next steps in delivering positive changes for communities and societies in Ireland.  This will include:

  • How can banks collectively better engage with communities, with a particular focus on Rural Ireland?
  • What services are needed, are additional accessibility supports required?
  • What can be learned from other industries and/or other countries?

Following this research, a more detailed programme of work will be developed.

icon representing Ethics and Behaviour

Speaking Up

  • chevron-Speaking-Up-light-green Speaking Up

The Staff survey we conducted found that one third of all staff said that they had wanted to raise a concern at work over the last 12 months. Of those who have raised a concern, less than 2 in 5 felt that they had been listened to and taken seriously. [1]

A working group has been formed with senior representation from our five member banks and including sponsors from the Irish Banking Culture Board to collaboratively discuss fostering a culture where staff feel they can safely challenge and ultimately ‘Speak Up’ if necessary.

Following our first session with the working group on Speaking Up we decided to schedule a workshop with staff from various levels across our five member banks, to explore further the issues relating to Speaking Up which were identified in the IBCB staff survey 2018.

Three workshops were held in regionally Q1 2020. IBCB selected the attendees based of a variety of metrics to ensure diversity of thought at the sessions. Staff who attended the event found it extremely worthwhile and engaging. The outputs of these workshops will feed into our work programme for 2020.

Please see below our key findings and the key themes which were the outputs from the workshops with bank staff.

[1] Source: IBCB Employee Survey 2018

Feedback from staff on these events:

‘I left the workshop buzzing as it was such a positive workshop in terms of what IBCB is hoping to achieve. Something that is badly needed in the financial services industry.

The workshop worked as well as it could with the current Speak Up frameworks in place across the sector.  Until some of the feedback in relation to language, sharing MI etc is tackled I fear Speak Up will remain a challenge.

Key Findings
0%
34% wanted to raise a concern
0%
Only 59% said they had done so
0%
24% chose not to raise their concern
0%
Only 39% said they were listened to or taken seriously
They felt nothing would happen as a result (54%)
0%
They felt that doing so would make them look bad (32%)
0%
They felt it would be held against them if they did (58%)
0%
They said they did not trust the confidentiality of the process (33%)
0%
Key themes which were outputs from the workshops
Key themes which were outputs from the workshops

Speak Up process

Ditch the term ‘Speak Up’ (negative connotations)

Transparency / lift the  veil of secrecy (poor awareness of the  process among the 5 banks)

Psychological safety

Tone from the Top

Senior leaders to lead  by example

Training

(for line managers and  individuals – use case  studies / dilemmas –  face to face discussion)

Awareness & recognition

Recognise those who speak up and celebrate learning from mistakes’

Examples of senior leaders who have spoken up and not only survived but thrived!

icon representing Ethics and Behaviour

Ethics and Behaviour

  • chevron-Ethics-Behaviour Ethics and Behaviour

The Staff survey we conducted found that nearly one fifth of staff see a conflict between their organisation’s stated values and how business is done.

  • 10% of staff surveyed said that their colleagues did not work in an honest and ethical way.
  • 15% of staff said they had seen instances where unethical behaviour was rewarded, rising to 19% in IT and Operations.
  • 20% of staff have said it is difficult to make career progression without flexing ethical standards. [1]

 

A working group has been formed with senior representation from our five member banks and including sponsors from the Irish Banking Culture Board. This working group are working towards organising a wider workshop with staff from our member banks later in the year to develop ethical dilemmas to be used for training and awareness raising within member banks.

[1] Source: IBCB Employee Survey 2018

icon representing Staff Resilience and Pressures

Staff Pressures & Resilience

  • chevron-Staff-Resilience Staff Pressures & Resilience

The Staff survey we conducted found that a significant number of bank staff have said they feel under excessive pressure to perform at work. They also feel that working at their firm is having a negative impact on their health and well-being.

A working group has been formed with senior representation from our five member banks and including sponsors from the Irish Banking Culture Board to collaboratively discuss staff pressures and resilience.

Following our first session with the working group on Staff Pressures and Resilience we decided to schedule a workshop with staff from various levels across our five member banks, to explore further the issues relating to staff pressures which were identified in the IBCB staff survey 2018.

Three workshops were held in regionally Q1 2020. IBCB selected the attendees based of a variety of metrics to ensure diversity of thought at the sessions. Staff who attended the event found it extremely worthwhile and engaging. The outputs of these workshops will feed into our work programme for 2020.

Please see below our key findings and the key themes which were the outputs from the workshops with bank staff. We have fed these themes back to our members banks who are going to now consider them and what actions they can take internally.

[1] Source: IBCB Employee Survey 2018

Feedback from staff on these events:

‘The interactivity between multiple staff members was great. It made us feel that our problems weren’t our problems alone. We might sport different ‘brand names’, but a collective identity in relation to the problems we face was an eye opener.

What surprised me was that even though people in similar roles were sitting together at the tables, many of the issues faced were consistent across all 5 organisations.

Key Findings
0%
55% of all employees said that they felt under pressure to perform at work.
49% in functions – 62% in retail This jumped to 70% in Branch staff
0%
33% of employees said that working in their firm had a negative impact on their health and well-being.
49% in Retail Branch staff
Top 20 words used in the survey to describe organisations
Busy
Stressful
Understaffed
Pressure
Key themes which were outputs from the workshops
Key themes which were outputs from the workshops

Lack of resources

Realise efficiencies before reducing headcount

Collaboration v silos

A day in the life of / Trading places programmes

Performance Assessment

Performance review and the ‘Bell Curve’

Regulation and compliance

Pressures from the Regulator

Wellbeing

Retirement planning & support

Work / Life Balance

Flexibility v right to switch off

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