Bank staff have more trust in their employers — but the views of the public have hardened

Surveys reveal a growing gap between the public's view of Irish banking culture, and bank employees' view of it    
Bank staff have more trust in their employers — but the views of the public have hardened

Bank staff responding to their survey say they are increasingly confident about the banks' culture, but members of the public say they have less faith in banks than heretofore. Picture: Daragh McSweeney

Bank staff have more trust that their employers are acting in an ethical way, but the public says that their views of banks have worsened, not got better, since 2018, according to two new surveys commissioned by the Irish Banking Culture Board.

The board was set up by finance minister Paschal Donohoe as an independent organisation to help to improve conduct in the industry.

Banking culture under scrutiny

It was founded in the wake of the €1.5bn tracker mortgage scandal, the latest controversy to blow up for Irish banks following their key role in the events leading up to the State seeking an international bailout just over 10 years ago.

The views of staff who work for AIB, Bank of Ireland, KBC Bank, Permanent TSB, and Ulster Bank, were surveyed, as were the thoughts of the public, and the results were compared with similar surveys in 2018.

The staff survey showed “progress is being made on cultural change” at all five banks, with staff giving improved scores on a range of issues, including increased confidence on internal whistleblowing, or speaking-up processes, since 2018, the Irish Banking Culture Board said.

Staff report improvements

Bank staff “report material improvements in how their organisation does business, with 85% considering that, in their bank, people do business in an ethical manner,” the board said.

However, the survey of the public found that 48% of people said their views of banks had worsened over the past three years, although around a third of young people had a better view of lenders over the longer time frame of the last 10 years.

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