Much criticism of banking over the last decade has included the recommendation that it become ‘more professional’. What does that mean in the context of an industry already heavily government regulated?Professor Dimity Kingsford-Smith, Professor Thomas Clarke and Justine Rogers have conducted extensive research and produced 'Banking and the limits of Professionalism'
This project considers the conditions of the banking industry and whether it would be possible to introduce the public service ethos and client obligations of the professions. Exploring the possibilities of professionalising banking has taken the presenters to the limits of professionalism, and it also suggests the steps which an occupation aspiring to be a profession must take on that journey. The paper also notes that the status of profession may be gained, but may also be lost, and considers what banking which was once considered by many to be a profession, might do to re-professionalise.
The Banking and Finance Oath is considered and compared with the Dutch Oath and the U.K Oath and without spoiling the read here is a reflective comment made -
Peer relations in banking, by contrast, are characterised by intense competition,219 and not shared purpose, peer respect or jealous guarding of common reputation. However, and encouragingly, there are some efforts among this sector to inculcate collegiality and more collegiate relationships. One of the strengths of the Australian Banking and Finance Oath organisation, reviewed above, is the community of like-minded people it connects who prioritise ethical behaviour. The organisation provides opportunities for learning, discussion, scenario analysis, and seeking the support of other signatories.220 Possibly replicating the professional mentorship model, it concentrates on recruiting senior and experienced bankers and on hosting events and discussions to educate its oath-takers. This seems to us to be a start in supplying the platform for the wider norms of professional ethos (public purpose and clients) to flourish, as well as developing the ethos and routines for professional association with peers.