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“Bankers Oath” to turn back tide of scandal?

Think tank ResPublica has called for the introduction of an oath for bankers similar to the Hippocratic Oath in order to raise accountability and standards in banking.

ResPublica’s latest report, Virtuous Banking: Placing ethos and purpose at the heart of banking, argues that policy makers have pursued the wrong type of reform, ignoring the root cause of the banking crisis: an inherent lack of virtue amongst our banking institutions. Because of this, more of the same from Government and the industry will not be enough to stem the tide of scandal. Instead, virtue and responsibility must be encouraged through higher levels of banker personal responsibility, it maintains.

It argues that this is best promoted by developing a better sense of professionalism and ethics which includes requiring all members of the banking profession to affirm a new Bankers’ Oath.

In medicine, the Hippocratic Oath provides a centre-piece for personal responsibility in the profession. ResPublica believes that the Bankers’ Oath could perform a similar function in banking.

Phillip Blond, director, ResPublica said: “As countless scandals demonstrate, virtue is distinctly absent from our banking institutions. Britain’s bankers lack a sense of ethos and the institutions they work for lack a clearly defined social purpose. In order for us to have the banks we desperately need and the country deserves, bankers must recognise the good, do the good, and be good. The Bankers’ Oath represents a remarkable opportunity to fulfil their proper moral and economic purpose, and finally place bankers on the road to absolution."


Picture credit: © Sanjay Deva |

ResPublica | UK & NI Ireland | Codes of conduct


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