Belfast Telegraph

Lloyds Banking Group wants to bring trust back to banking

By Simon Read

Are banks starting to change? Lloyds Banking Group's boss, António Horta-Osório, recently set out his plans for the future of the troubled company.

Pleasingly, the words "profit" and "shareholder return" weren't at the forefront of his message.

Instead, the former Santander chief talked about helping people. He promised to help "more customers get on the housing ladder" and to "help our customers plan and save for later life".

He said: "We'll take a lead in financial inclusion to enable all individuals to access, and benefit from, the products and services they need to make the most of their money."

He talked about plans to measure the bank's economic and social impact, and to use its "power to influence the most change for the benefit of customers and communities across the UK".

He was brought into the bank to change its sickening commission-hungry culture, and his words this week suggest he intends to force through that change.

His move follows a similar one by new Royal Bank of Scotland boss Ross McEwan, who last month set out a programme to return the mainly taxpayer-owned bank to a position where it is trusted, rather than vilified. RBS hopes that by 2020 it will have reversed its position as Britain's most despised bank. By then it wants to be "the number one bank for customer service and the most trusted bank in the UK".

It hopes to effect this change of perception by scrapping such dodgy practices as teaser rates and 0% transfer deals. Instead Mr McEwan has pledged to play fair with customers.

If both these big bank bosses are to be believed, we are entering a world of fairness and trust where they treat customers with respect and even – whisper it – help them through the complicated and troubled world of finance. And that's something that's desperately needed by millions of people.

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