Future Banking: Empower employees to deliver customer centric outcomes and innovation

  • Joanne Murphy
  • 2 April 2019
  • Blog | Managing People | Blog

A colleague highlighted to me a recent publication from the Financial Stability Board [FSB]. They’d held a workshop in October last year at which representatives of banks from across the globe discussed progress on the implementation of the FSB’s international standards on compensation.

In a short and easily digestible paper, I was pleased to read “areas such as culture, including greater emphasis on how results are achieved, are more impactful than changes in remuneration structures and noted that significant amounts of time were spent calibrating performance goals to achieve desired behaviours.”

But on reading the key takeaways, the lack of one word struck me – empowerment.

It is a view I have held since the start of my career in the banking profession and following many years of working with colleagues in retail and commercial arena. I have never met an individual on the front line who didn’t want to do the right thing for a customer, in terms of resolution or service. The interpretation of the rules, regulations and controls, which provide guidance, leave so little room for creativity or thinking out of the box that common sense, at times, does not prevail.  Ultimately, this leaves customers and staff frustrated and disappointed with outcomes.

The findings also highlighted that “Firms noted that it is vital for the industry to continue to be competitive with new digital and technological challengers. Firms believe that attracting and retaining talent is a key factor in remaining both competitive and profitable”.

I agree with that, but it is also the same lack of empowerment, which prevents the best use of technology, too many hurdles to overcome, too much hierarchy and a simple idea can be lost in the endless list of technology maintenance, never mind enhancements.  You need brave leadership and embedded cultural change to empower others; it would be interesting to understand what our members would have said had they been able to attend!

In my view, the solution is to empower the human face of the industry, if we want to change the experience of the customer on the high street.

And that is why we at the Chartered Banker Institute have worked hard to ensure that our offering is well aligned to this view across the board, as well as supporting individuals with the balance of technical skills and knowledge with professional judgment. Our 32,000 members are bound by the Chartered Banker Code of Professional Conduct and are also required to complete a minimum of 35 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) including ethics refresher training each year. By doing so, they are demonstrating a strong and continued commitment to customer-focused ethical professionalism. Yes, digital transformation in banking is important, but I’d argue having a diverse mindset, clear accountability and empowerment of people across an organisation is what is required for the challenging times ahead, and in building customer centric banking of the future.

Joanne Murphy

Joanne Murphy

Chartered Banker Institute | Chief Operating Officer

Joanne Murphy is Chief Operating Officer for the Chartered Banker Institute.  Joanne has worked in banking and finance for 28 years, holds an MBA in Banking and Finance and is a member of both the Chartered Banker Institute and CIPD.

As part of its work to monitor implementation of its Principles for Sound Compensation Practices, the Financial Stability Board held a workshop in October 2018. At it, international banks discussed their experience with regulation and supervisory practices. The aim was to gather information on key compensation issues and challenges.

We are interested to know what you might have said were you in attendance, therefore we would very much appreciate your participation in this short survey. It should take no longer than 2 minutes and we intend sharing results with members.

Financial Stability Board- Principles for Sound Compensation Practices

Take the survey