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Boards, CEOs and The Regulators should make it compulsory for career bankers to be a Chartered Banker.

by Lewis Panther | 14 Nov 2019
That’s the message from high-profile Australian banker Joseph Healy, who praised FINSIA’s drive to instil professionalism into the banking industry.

The co-founder and joint CEO of Judo Bank, who has just released his outspoken Breaking the Banks book, said: “I do believe Chartered Banker should be compulsory. 

“For people intent on building a career in banking - anybody who aspires to general management and above - it should be conditional on them having passed or being in the process of undertaking the Chartered Banker qualification.”

Healy’s Judo Bank - set up to address the failure to serve the SME market - is undoubtedly already a huge success story having seen the
largest private investment in an Australian start-up with $540m raised in two funding rounds.

That the former NAB executive has not been shy in his criticism of the Big Four may have raised eyebrows. But the unwavering way he has described the demise in the role of relationship banking in favour of product selling has also earned the praise of commentators in the financial press who say Judo’s model is a good example of how to tackle the trust deficit. Either way, he is consistent in what needs to be done.

“Banking has to recapture its professional values and professional ethos,” the long-standing Chartered Banker said.

That professionalism is based on values and ethics, he says, adding:  “On top of that foundation, there are a set of technical competencies that you have to build - accounting, finance, and economics, people management, the role of the bank in the economy and the society, the role of the banking system domestically, regionally, globally. 

“Good bankers understand all that stuff, and are trained in that in a professional sense.

“The concept of social license is very important too.

“Society has an expectation traditionally that they can trust the bank they're dealing with, the banker who's providing advice to them, that that individual has their best interest a heart and is free from conflict.

“In the same way that you would expect that of your doctor or your dentist, you would expect that they would have your interests at heart and they wouldn't seek to cross-sell you on things that you didn't need.”

While the shadow of the Royal Commission is still hanging over the banks with Kenneth Hayne’s criticism aimed at all levels - from the Regulators, to CEOs and the boards - Healy’s sentiments remain the same.

“Boards should be insisting that bankers demonstrate a high level of professionalism by making Chartered Banker compulsory above a certain level,” he said.

“There's also a role for the regulators here in making it a mandatory requirement for bankers above a certain level of seniority.

“People talk about culture change taking a long time, and it does. And few CEOs ever get the time to see a cultural change inside an organisation. 

“Few CEOs have access to a burning platform to drive culture change. But everybody has a license to say, I want my workforce to be the most professional workforce in the industry - and I want people who will aspire to a career in this bank to commit to the professional standards that we believe are a part of addressing the challenges that the industry has to face.

“It's the board who need to say, we want all of our staff who aspire to a career to commit to doing the professional qualification for the industry - and we will not appoint anybody who does not sign up to that.

“What a message that sends about an organisation's commitment to dealing with the issues that society's screaming out and saying the industry has to deal with. That is such an easy thing to do.”

To find out more about the Chartered Banker click here


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