The Problem: Banking Has a Tarnished Image
The financial services industry has experienced tremendous change over the past decade, with the fallout from both the 2008 global financial crisis and the Royal Commission Inquiry from 2017 to 2019 directly affecting public trust in the financial sector in Australia.
The World Economic Forum (WEF)’s “Future of Jobs” 2020 report notes that a large share of the financial services workforce has been distributed, and many employees may not be required to return to on-site tasks.
However, a large number of personal and commercial banking professionals will still be required to have direct contact with the public, and this poses a challenge. The public as a whole currently doesn’t trust bankers and is rapidly turning away from traditional financial institutions and into the arms of fintech, where digitisation and personalised experiences are a priority.
To regain public trust and reestablish banking with new levels of professionalism and ethics, it’s necessary to ensure L&D programs in use are aligned with those objectives.
The Solution: L&D Transformation
New responsibilities are continually surfacing as the financial industry evolves, L&D needs to look beyond basic employee onboarding processes, cybersecurity education and compliance training to create new opportunities for employee engagement product/service innovation.
The purpose of your L&D initiatives should be to drive continuous improvement throughout your organisation, which can positively impact your business goals. Modernising your L&D approach to meet consumer needs and expectations is the best way to drive your institution forward and meet the challenges sure to be posed in the next decade.
Trends in Banking
According to PwC's "Banking 2020: the future of banking in Australia" report, the Australian banking sector is in a state of flux, with combined debate about culture and reputation and uncertainty around the pace, scale and breadth of strategic disruption to the industry leaving consumers unsure where to turn or who to trust.
Awareness of the following trends, and implementation of the concepts into your L&D program, can help you stay competitive.
Employee education needs
Financial services industry L&D objectives aren’t singular; there are multiple areas that require focus. Any L&D program must include courses that can meet the needs of employees across the following topics:
- Employee development and career advancement
- Regulatory compliance
- Cybersecurity awareness and fraud risk mitigation
- Ethics and professionalism
Constant changes in regulations, improvements in technology, and increasing globalization in a fast-evolving workforce mean training programs for the financial services industries must evolve and expand.
Financial institution needs
Financial services industry leaders can also improve their L&D programs by ensuring they include a focus on the following institutional needs:
- Reducing corporate spending by focusing on efficiency and clear goals to maximise results and ROI.
- Protecting the competitive landscape and market share by focusing on customer service as a differentiator.
- Increasing revenue opportunities by promoting innovation and flexibility and supporting employee engagement.
- Driving the future of financial services and competing with fintech by embracing digitisation and technology.
- Creating a flexible and agile culture by developing employees who are responsive to market and industry changes.
Sustaining a competitive advantage always comes down to your employees. Their knowledge, capacity, and engagement are critical to staying ahead of the curve. Your L&D teams must have a laser focus on creating proficient corporate learning experiences that enhance the abilities of your high performers and align well with your organisational goals.
Banking customer needs
Your banking customers need, expect and demand specific things from their bankers. Meeting these needs is a must-address topic when developing a solid L&D initiative. Your bankers need the skills to anticipate and fulfill their customers’ expectations, and may require targeted training for:
- Delivering service swiftly and with a high level of personal responsibility that shows customers they are in good hands.
- Identifying at-risk customers and providing reasons and incentives for them to stay with your financial institution.
- Predicting the next best action in any given situation with a banking customer who may be ready to churn, and implementing that action.
- Innovating solutions for customers with complex or unusual needs that aren’t completely met by your standard offerings.
- Building a foundation of trust through a continual commitment to and display of professionalism and ethics.
Only by personalising banking customer experiences will traditional banking institutions be able to regain consumer trust and compete with the rise of fintech and the digital-only banks which are beginning to emerge.
Ethics in Banking
Finally, it’s important that any L&D initiatives for bankers should include full awareness of the latest regulatory guidelines and best practices as well as covering professionalism and ethics.
The Banking Code of Practice (BCoP) is only a starting point, as true ethicality and professionalism in the banking industry is shaped and supported by concepts that go much further than the code, which is the bare minimum to which bankers should aspire.
Bankers who display a clear commitment to ethical behaviour develop personal relationships with their clients, understanding each one at a deep level in order to offer proper guidance. The goal is always the best interest of the customer over any other priority, including advice given about investments, credit extended, loans approved, and products or services offered.
The Chartered Banker Qualification
FINSIA’s Chartered Banker course gives banks the opportunity to provide access to a robust L&D offering. The course requires a serious time investment from the individual banker to complete, and allows them to show their commitment to professionalism and ethics in banking while ensuring their core knowledge is as comprehensive as possible.