Assessing purpose and culture in banking

January 2022

On December 3rd, Bank Investor Engagement Project participants – bank executives and directors, executives from institutional investors, and subject matter experts – met virtually to discuss how banks and their boards think about purpose at a time when various stakeholders are demanding that banks avoid value and reputation destroying misconduct and play a key role in addressing issues like climate change and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Participants explored how that purpose is embedded into a firm’s culture and monitored on an on-going basis. Investors also provided perspectives on how they try to assess bank culture and how they would like banks to more effectively communicate about their approaches to purpose and culture. This ViewPoints synthesizes perspectives emerging from the session and discussions in preparation for the meeting on December 3rd. It is organized around the following sections:

  • Reexamining purpose in banking. 
  • Embedding a sense of purpose into bank culture.
  • Assessing bank communications on purpose and culture.
  • Conclusion and next steps.