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FINSIA’s first Chartered Banker graduates urged to rebuild trust in the industry

by Lewis Panther | 21 Aug 2019
FINSIA’s first Chartered Banker graduates have been congratulated by the institute’s managing director, who urged them to carry on the mission to rebuild trust in the industry.

Giles Cuthbert - MD of the oldest professional banking institute in the world - delivered the message to the first six senior executives to gain Chartered Banker by Experience at a celebratory dinner.

Cuthbert described being awarded Chartered Banker status as “an achievement which demonstrates a strong commitment to customer-focused, ethical professionalism in banking”.

The stalwart supporter of professionalism who embarked on a renewed focus on core banking competencies more than a decade ago to rid the industry of its reliance on selling skills said the graduates were well placed to drive the “highest global standards”.

He also said they were perfectly-placed to shape a customer-focused, ethical professionalism.

“As we step into the next decade, we are acutely aware of the changing nature of banking,” he said.

“We need to do more than predict, however.  As banking institutes understanding the critical importance of customer-focused, ethical professionalism we need to be seeking to shape the future of banking in a digital age.  

“The only way we can achieve this is by having qualified Chartered Bankers in banks guiding strategy and making critical decisions.

“Since the GFC 10 years ago, there has been a great deal of talk about global standards for banks as institutions – but I would like to see us place more emphasis in the next decade on global standards for bankers as individuals.  

“What was missing – at least until very recently – was an equally vigorous pursuit of global standards to enhance and sustain banking’s human capital and its essential, customer-focused ethical professionalism.”

His hope for the next decade is that global regulators will promote and support the development of global standards of culture and behaviour to enrich our industry’s human capital.

He said: “We should strive for international consensus, founded on a genuine, global commitment, in which all banks and all bankers – including FinTechs and other providers of banking services - put principles of stewardship, prudence and professionalism first.

“Despite everything we hear and read - about artificial intelligence, bitcoin, blockchain, fintech, digital banking, electronic trading and robo-advising - at the heart of banking remains the essential human capital that our industry depends on even more than financial or technological capital.  

"In a digital age where bankers will very often be disintermediated (cut off) from customers, who will appear as data points rather than as people, instilling a sense of customer-focused, ethical professionalism is more important than ever.  And ensuring that we develop and maintain this sense of professionalism at a global level is key.

“Machines may do much of the work in the future.  But they will need to be trained by qualified, expert bankers.  They will need to be monitored by qualified, expert bankers.  And their outputs will need to be interpreted, communicated (and, at times, defended) by qualified, expert bankers.  

“Future bankers will still require core banking skills alongside a deeper understanding of technology and how to apply agile methodologies to develop, integrate, deploy and assess technological advances.  

“The future of banking must be one in which how technology works and the outcomes it delivers are transparent, and understandable – we need glass boxes, not black boxes.”

He said there had been constant disruption in banking during the 1950s, 1970s, 1990s and 2000s when computers were introduced to banking, then ATMs and other technologies transformed parts of high street branch banking. 
“In each case, banks and bankers had to acquire new knowledge and skills, and in doing so develop their own personal capabilities and further their career prospects,” he said.  

“Core banking skills, though, combined with a customer-focused, ethically professional approach remained – and where these were lost, problems swiftly arose.”


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