The report reveals, in very practical terms, how the deeply troubled financial sector could be transformed by learning from the commercial insurgents banging on the gates of the banking fortress. These companies and initiatives are tiny when compared financially to the behemoths controlling global banking but they are giants in terms of creativity and customer care.
For too long the culture and values of the banks encouraged managers to pursue profits at the expense of their customers’ interests. Banks have an asymmetrical relationship with customers: bankers know a lot more than their customers about the complex products and services they offer.
An inappropriate retail culture meant bank staff were rewarded for selling customers products they neither fully understood nor needed. Banks will not change fundamentally unless they resist exploiting this asymmetry and instead treat their customers with greater restraint, responsibility and respect.
Nothing is fixed in stone. There are alternatives to this dominant but flawed approach.These alternatives can show banks can make a decent commercial rate of return with very different approaches, in which they work with customers to enable them to manage their money more carefully and intelligently.