New generation of bankers must replace the old ways with a new approach

A ‘New Financial Culture’ led by the next generation of banking professionals is needed if the finance industry is to win trust again, according to Bjorn Cumps, Director of the Vlerick Centre for Financial Services in Brussels.

In the wake of RBS failing government stress tests in the UK and Optima Bank in Belgium going bankrupt, Cumps says the time is now for a new approach to banking.

“There are already enough challenges for banks today: regulation, digitisation, and governance. Bankers have their hands full with new laws, new FinTech competitors, new technologies, new bank taxes, new client needs, and interest rates that are staying low. It’s not easy.”

“But all these external challenges seem irrelevant compared to the continuous stream of scandals that totally undermine trust in banks. Panama, RBS, Optima, the list goes on – and just at the point when the sector was managing to rebuild trust after the financial crisis.”


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Cumps says that trust must now be rebuilt – and that echoing the ‘New Political Culture’ of the 1990’s is the way to do it.

“Bankers must break from old values, norms, relationships and behaviours and replace them with new ones”, he says.

“Banks, just like all other organisations, are just a collection of different people. And that is where hope lies, as amongst these people are new actors who are now fixing the system from the inside —bankers that are breaking away from the “Old Financial Culture” and building a “New Financial Culture”.

This is a culture where concentration of power makes way for participation, co-creation and crowdsourcing. Where hierarchy moves aside for autonomy and self-management. Where complexity yields to simplicity and transparency. Where technology and innovation support clients. Where people are more important than numbers.”