Financial Shenanigans

Banks Need Culture Change

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Recent bank scandals, whopping legal costs and executives’ strategy of denial show it’s time for a new breed of banker to take over, the author argues.

  • Facts


    • Fifteen of the largest banks paid $266.5 billion in penalty fees and legal provisions between 2009 and 2015, according to the Conduct Costs Project in Britain.
    • U.S. banks’ earnings dropped 7.3 percent in 2014’s fourth quarter from a year earlier, due in part to increased costs to settle legal cases related to sales of risky mortgage securities before the crisis.
    • Wednesday in London, chief executive Stuart Gulliver apologized to Parliament for the conduct of HSBC’s Swiss private bank. The activities included helping clients evade taxes.
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cochefs db reuters


Collusion in tax evasion, manipulation of prices for precious metals and scandals in foreign exchange trading —a long list of well-founded concerns have once again been hurled at a number of banks in recent days.

It is a list that speaks volumes about the state of a once so self-confident industry. And which has also prompted the well-worn litany of reactions from the banks’ executive suites: It’s a matter of old cases from the past. Investigations are proceeding apace. And what’s more, the affected areas of business have already been completely reformed, eliminated or subjected to significantly stricter controls.

So everything is hunky-dory at the financial institutions, the change in corporate culture is well under way — or so you might think.

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