Jamie Gray

Jamie Gray is a business reporter for the NZ Herald and APNZ

Banks need time to win back trust: expert

Lord Hastings says corporates cannot afford to ignore their public image in today's world. Photo / Greg Bowker
Lord Hastings says corporates cannot afford to ignore their public image in today's world. Photo / Greg Bowker

The world is still rebuilding after the global financial crisis, but it will take time before public confidence in the banking and finance sector is fully restored, says Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick, global head of citizenship at KPMG International.

Lord Hastings, who was in Auckland to speak to KPMG's annual partners conference, said business had re-emerged from the "brokenness" of the 2007-9 financial crisis but the future of capitalism was about responsible corporate behaviour.

Results from the Edelman Trust Barometer - a survey by international public relations firm Edelman - showed that confidence in business had improved since the crisis.

"What they tell us is that the momentum is upwards from a very low base, so I think we have bottomed out in terms of the attitudes to the banks and particularly to certain industries," Lord Hastings said.

"Banking and finance is a priority industry which lost public confidence substantially between 2008 and 2012," he said.

"Some of that recovery is under way and some of the big global banks have changed their base of operations towards a value-based approach and towards customer orientation compared with just being shifters of cash in order to drive profits."

Lord Hastings said there was now more transparency in banking and less of the obscure and hidden dealing characterised by derivative trading in the US which sparked the crisis.

"Transparency is the new currency of the 2014s and beyond," he said. "It's going to take a decade to return the banks to a place of effective public sentiment, and that's going to mean a lot of behaviour change."

He said the day when corporates could ignore their public image was gone, particularly with the advent of social media.

- APNZ

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