Interview with Chris De Noose

  Chris De Noose is Managing Director at WSBIIs Responsible Banking the first step to overcome the financial crisis that started in 2008?It depends on which behalf I would speak. If I speak on behalf of the savings banks I wouldn’t say ‘it’s not the first step’, because the savings banks were not at the origin of the crisis that started in 2008. They were not at the origin of the crisis, but they have become the victims of the financial crisis and the economic crisis which followed the financial crisis. If I speak on behalf of the banking industry I would say that initiatives like this one will help to make the banking sector saner. Some of the banks forgot about the essential role of the banking industry. The main goal of a bank is to serve the economy, the real economy.Could we summarize the term Responsible Banking by saying: “emphasizing the interest of the costumer before the interest of the bank?”Absolutely. We discussed today that we were too much emphasizing the product and maximizing profits, we should look more the needs of the clients. This should be the starting point: to serve the economy.You said that banks must reconsider their role in the economy, if this happening?Some banks are reconsidering it. But it takes time, because it’s not about reconsidering it’s about implementing a new culture, and this must come from the top. The crisis has caused a new thinking, with maybe too much regulation. But what we need is not more regulation, just better regulation. I think that some countries survived very well.If we talk about those countries?The German financial system is doing very well with the regulation they had, maybe the regulation in Spain was even tougher than in other countries. Some people said that maybe they have difficulties due to the provisions, one of the elements. The conclusion is not clear. In Spain maybe what happened was the governance of some financial institutions, secondly the economic crisis and third the concentration of the risk in real estate.What can give the Master in Responsible Banking to a professional?You have to see this as an investment. You won’t measure the result after a year. It can help a lot in creating a new culture on the banking industry. The banking industry is at the service of the economy, and not the other way around. It’s an important investment in the education of a professional.The professionals starting in this master will be ahead of their time in a near future?For sure. I really hope that one day the people from this Master can become CEOs of Banks and Saving Banks.Which key messages could summarize the then points of Responsible Banking that you are presenting today?I would say that banks should serve their stakeholders. The responsible banking emphasizes the bank’s primary socio – economic role as a provider of sustainable welfare to both the citizens and the economy.Give us a few words about those principles. Fair and transparent corporate governance…And independence, having in mind the stakeholders. In the past people looked too much to the figures. Of course you need to make profits to be sustainable.Clear relations with costumers…You should not try to sell products that the customer don’t need. The starting point is looking at real needs of the costumer. And we have to educate people on how to manage their budget.Provision of useful products that contribute to the well being of the costumers….We are working on a barometer of financial health to bring the costumer some kind of serenity to them, to improve their financial health with the right information at the right moment.Responsible investment through integration environmental, social, governance…You should only invest in services which are environmental friendly and positive to society.Promotion of accessibility and financial inclusion…That’s the main role of a saving bank. We have to provide access to finances not only in the cities. In collaboration with the Gates Foundation we are promoting access to finance in developing countries. In Europe you speak about financial exclusion, but in developed countries we speak about inclusion. The least one was Italy with 89% of the population with acces to banking services, but in developed countries the percentage is just de opposite.Promotion and provision of financial education policies and instruments…We have to adopt a culture of responsibility in the bank, but financial industry must educate the population: with kids etc. as IEB is doing.Environment – friendly business…We have examples of banks like Lloyd’s doing important advances in this fieldMaking a responsible contribution to the community…Again that idea of serving the communityBeing a responsible employer through the application of fair and equal treatment of all staff…That’s the most common.Contribution to financial stability…Not to take to many risks. If we don’t contribute to financial stability we are playing a big risk.