Bankers should have to swear an oath of good service in the same way as doctors, a think-tank said today.
Rather than solely focusing on rules or macro-economic issues, regulators need to consider the personal conduct of bankers, said ResPublica, an independent UK think-tank that looks at social, economic and cultural problems.
ResPublica called on the British trade bodies British Bankers’ Association (BBA), the Building Societies Association and the new Banking Standards Review Council to adopt an oath it has drawn up for members.
The think-tank’s banking oath is based on the Hippocratic Oath doctors swear, which dates back 2,500 years to Greek medical pioneer Hippocrates.
ResPublica director Phillip Blond said: “As countless scandals demonstrate, virtue is distinctly absent from our banking institutions.
“Bankers lack a sense of ethos and the institutions they work for lack a clearly defined social purpose.
“The bankers’ oath represents a remarkable opportunity to fulfil their proper moral and economic purpose, and finally place bankers on the road to absolution.”
Part of ResPublica’s banker’s oath says: “I will do my utmost to behave in a manner that prioritises the needs of customers. It my first duty to provide an exemplary quality of service to my customers and to exhibit a duty of care above and beyond what is required by law.”
Another part of the oath adds: “I will confront profligacy and impropriety wherever I encounter it, for the conduct of bankers can have dramatic consequence for society.”