Professional and Responsible Banking in a Digital Age

  • 27 February 2020
  • Blog | Career Development | Blog

Our Professional Banker Certificate has been updated. Lynn McLeod, Head of Learning and Assessment, Chartered Banker Institute, explains what has changed and why…

What is the Professional Banker Certificate?

The Professional Banker Certificate is the Institute’s flagship introductory banking qualification. It was originally launched in 2009.

What is its aim?

The Certificate was designed primarily for those who are new to banking with a view to providing them with an overview of the banking profession and to develop their understanding of the banking business.

The updated Professional Banker Certificate was launched on 31 October 2019.

It aims to develop the learner’s knowledge, understanding and skills relating to banking in a digital age. Study of core banking principles and practice is combined with learning about the forces that are transforming the way we bank, and how banks are responding to meet the changing expectations of customers in an increasingly competitive environment. Key themes include responsible and sustainable banking, and what it means to be a professional in banking in the current environment. By applying these principles, learners will be able to help their bank deliver its strategy, perform well at work, and serve customers, communities, and the wider environment well.

Who is it for?

The Professional Banker Certificate is for all bank employees in the UK and internationally. Particularly those new to banking, regardless of their own specialism, who want to expand their knowledge and understanding of the business they are in – the business of banking – and have that knowledge and understanding recognised through the award of a professional banking qualification.

How has it changed – and why?

The qualification has changed because digital innovations in technology have transformed the way we bank today, and will continue to affect the way we bank in future. Yet the core principles of professional and responsible banking remain fundamental to our banking practice. So we’ve kept the certificate’s main topics unchanged – these cover what banks do and their role in the economy and society, products, services and distribution channels, lending, risk, legislation and regulation, and professionalism and ethics. But we’ve updated the content supporting these topics to reflect the way we bank today and trends for the future.

The learning programme that leads to the award of the Professional Banker Certificate has changed from ‘Professional Banker’ to ‘Professional and Responsible Banking in a Digital Age’. We chose this title because the programme aims to enhance understanding of what is meant by professional and responsible banking, and what it means to be a professional in banking today. It also has more of an international feel, with more focus on sound banking principles that apply globally and more examples of developments outside the UK.

What’s different about the mode of study?

The method of delivery has been changed with a view to enhancing students’ learning experience.

The programme is delivered online through our Learning Management System. The study text has been replaced by an interactive study guide, or ‘workbook’, that includes information about the programme, tips for effective learning, bite-sized chunks of core reading, learning activities, case studies, links to online resources, including videos, recommendations for further reading, and questions for review and reflection.

Interactive e-learning modules and online knowledge checks, with feedback given on responses, are included to help students revise key topics and prepare for the exam.

How have you updated the tone and style?

The tone and style of the study guide is less formal than a traditional study text – more conversational and student-focused. We did it this way because we wanted to help students engage more with the content and include activities that would help them learn – and think about how they might apply what they have learned in their role at work.

We also want students to enjoy learning about banking, reinforcing its significance and the critical role banks play in the economy, society and the wider environment. We want them to realise that they can make a difference, contributing not only to their bank’s success, but also to the achievement of society’s goals.

As Simon Thompson, Chief Executive, Chartered Banker Institute, says in his foreword to the programme “…there has probably never been such an exciting time to work in banking. Not just because of the exciting opportunities opened up by digital and data-driven innovation, but also because of the key role banking plays in tackling some of our world’s greatest challenges”.

“We want students to realise that they can make a difference, contributing not only to their bank’s success, but also to the achievement of society’s goals.”

Lynn McLeod, Head of Learning and Assessment, Chartered Banker Institute

What kind of course content has been added?

All content has been updated. New content includes:

  • The digital and data revolution
  • Digital innovations in banking
  • Bank stakeholders, strategy and purpose
  • Sustainability and the UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • UN Principles for Responsible Banking
  • New distribution channels and ways of banking
  • What customers look for when choosing a bank
  • Segmenting customers in a digital age
  • The customer experience
  • Responsible lending
  • More on the types of risk banks face, including algorithms and machine learning risk, cyber crime and cyber risk, and climate-related risk
  • Enterprise Risk Management
  • Operational resilience
  • Open Banking
  • Regulation technology
  • Banking as a profession and what it means to be a ‘professional banker’ – future knowledge, skills and roles required
  • More content about understanding and applying the principles of the Chartered Banker Code of Professional Conduct
  • More about ethical dilemmas and ethical decision-making
  • Ethics and technology
  • Banks’ moral obligations towards the environment.

What skills and capabilities does it enhance?

The programme has been designed to enhance the learner’s ability to:

  • Understand and articulate what banks do, how they do it, and the significance of their role in the economy, society and the wider environment
  • Match bank products and services to customers’ needs, treat customers fairly, and contribute to a good customer experience
  • Support vulnerable customers and customers in financial difficulty
  • Apply a sound and responsible approach to lending
  • Identify and be aware of different types of risk, regulation and legislation that apply to banking
  • Understand and apply the values and principles of the Chartered Banker Code of Professional Conduct
  • Recognise when they have an ethical dilemma, apply an ethical-decision model, and exercise ethical and professional judgement when making decisions on how to act.c

We have also included content to help learners:

  • Study effectively
  • Set personal goals and outcomes
  • Plan their own development.


To find out more about the updated Certificate, please visit: