In a speech at Oxford University’s Saïd business school, CEO of Lloyds Banking Group António Horta-Osório said that the financial crisis has damaged the banking industry’s ability to recruit graduates.
‘We need to take steps as a sector towards rebuilding our reputation through how we behave and what we do,’ Horta-Osório said. ‘In tandem with this we urgently need to address the perception of banking as an attractive career opportunity for young people.’
‘We want the best and the brightest to see banking as a credible career choice. This is vital for the industry’s long-term viability.’
Talking about mistakes the industry had made in the past, he said: ‘Banks became complacent, inefficient and crucially they stopped caring about their customers.’
‘Several banks became complacent about risk. They developed unsustainable business models. They invented ever more complex financial products which their customers didn’t understand or need, and they incentivised their employees to sell those products in volume.’
‘The next generation should see banking as an industry that helps to build economic wealth and is playing its part as a useful member of our local communities.’
Recent research has also revealed a potential talent drain as resulting from banking’s negative reputation: more than one quarter of students (28%) reported that they would be too embarrassed to tell friends if they were going to work in a bank. The survey also found 41% of students distrust banks and financial services providers and 56% trust banks less than they did five years ago.