Social and successful?

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First we serve our clients, second our stakeholders and last ourselves.

While this sounds too good to be true when you think about the average breed of investment bankers it still reads like your Private Banking 101 sales talk. And what priorities should your ideal bank really have?

  • The Clients – for most banks on this planet that’s we’re the problem and the opportunities start at the same time. Do I want to serve my local and loyal niche, the people I am in direct contact with and with whom I form a community? Or do I want to embrace a global business model and reach out to the world, trading scale and efficiency for local context & touch? Depending on which way a bank chooses the social agenda and responsibilities that come along with that decision are widely different.
  • The Products – am I in push- or pull-mode selling. Do I listen and learn what my client base needs and serve them accordingly (pull) or do I try to deliver excellent service and try to anticipate their needs. From there to convincing the clients that they really do need certain products it’s a small and tempting step (pull). Yet again, I have to adopt my social agenda according to which path I choose.
  • The Shareholders – obviously the people investing in my bank want me to produce financial performance for them. Should banks in a radical thinking hence not be allowed to be publicly traded? Or do we have to ask the shareholder in turn to take their social responsibility seriously. How could a socially responsible investor influence our banking landscape? Quite radically, we think!
  • The Employees – is it morally wrong to work for banks. Haven’t the last few months / years already shown a massive erosion of the bankers public and self esteem? Shouldn’t we be able to restore the former picture of the trusted advisor by encoding a moral and social policy into the bank’s guidelines alongside all the policies devoted to risk and image protection?

One of the goals of our „Bank Weiser“ project is to push banks towards opening up their internal policies to the public. Let us see which standards you live and work by internally. If the moral code of conduct would be in line with the marketing slang there’s nothing to hide.

I have yet to find a business reason why these policies remain company secrets and only a fuzzy and skewed derivative is brought to the interested public: it’s called CSR reporting!

 

Tom Debus (@tomthebuzz)

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About Barbara Bohr

I teach communication and project management at a technical college. My Interests are: Text analysis, (financial) innovation for the common good.

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