BankingFutures: building a healthy banking sector

Systemic stories

Anne Wade & Sophia Tickell

01 September 2016

Who are we?

BankingFutures is run in partnership by Leaders’ Quest and Meteos, two non-profit organisations committed to improving the role business plays in society.

What is our goal?

We aim to create a healthy, resilient and inclusive banking sector in the UK; one that can withstand shocks and enables all stakeholders to participate in the economy.

What is BankingFutures?

To meet this challenge, we have convened leading figures from the UK’s largest banks, regulators, institutional investors and civil society experts to jointly address: 

  • What bank leaders can do to (re)align incentives to deliver long-term value and better societal outcomes
  • The best means of improving communication between those advocating reform within the sector and civil society
  • The positive steps institutional investors can take to reshaping bank behaviour.

Our goal is to enable stakeholders to engage with leaders of bank reform to help create a diverse, sustainable banking system.

Phase 1

BankingFutures began with a structured dialogue with over 200 industry leaders, investors and customers. The resulting report, Banking on Trust, (February 2016), called for the UK banking system to make significant progress and take concrete action. This resulted in a second phase of the project.

Phase 2

Phase 2 builds on this work by creating Action Groups to develop policy, market and management recommendations in two areas:

  1. Forging strong links between the financial system and the real economy
  2. Reintroducing a long-term culture into investing (in recognition that the current model has been at the expense of customers and society)

The project will be overseen by a Steering Group of senior banking leaders, investors, financial reform experts and civil society representatives. Its remit is to provide guidance and supervision, and to ensure the cross-pollination of ideas across our three Action Groups.

What’s our method?

We will achieve these goals by undertaking formal roundtables, facilitated office-based workshops, site visits to users of bank services, conversations with financial exclusion experts, and meetings with people who’ve personally experienced bank shortcomings. 

The process is designed to enable different stakeholders to build trust and collaborate on solutions together. Our work is underpinned by extensive primary and secondary research, and consultation with a range of external experts. 

Our deadline

Our BankingFutures project and accompanying recommendations will be launched in September 2017, laying out a road map to 2020 towards a healthy banking sector.

Our ethos

We believe concrete commitment to action, and visible, forward-looking leadership will lead to long-term change.


“Our starting point is that banks are here to serve. Society needs to tell us how, and then we need to meet those requirements. However, it’s also our responsibility to help society express informed choices. We have a collective challenge that our voice is currently absent from these debates.”

John Flint, Chief Executive, Retail Banking and Wealth Management, HSBC

“Even 8 years after the financial crisis there remains a gap between public perceptions of banking and the banks’ view of the world. Meaningful engagement between banks and civil society is vital to closing this gap and navigating towards a financial system that not only delivers the best possible economic and social outcomes, but is seen to be delivering them.”

Tony Greenham, Director of Economy, Enterprise and Manufacturing, RSA

“For a long time investors over-emphasised the importance of short-term profit maximisation. We need to hold managers to account so they can drive the right behaviours in their organisations. It’s incumbent on this group to work with managers to set new expectations and help drive down that change.”

Jessica Ground, Global Head of Stewardship, Schroders

“Trust in the banking industry remains perilously low. Time alone won’t heal that; it requires concerted effort by the industry. We’ve been pleasantly surprised that people were ready to hear from bankers. We now have space to discuss and debate a way forward with the stakeholders that we serve. The leadership challenge in banks is unique and complex; the UK industry needs initiatives like BankingFutures to help unravel that.”

Matt Hammerstein, Head of Client and Customer Experience, Personal and Corporate Banking, Barclays

“Many communities are still failing to benefit from economic growth while people and businesses still struggle to access the appropriate and affordable financial products and services they need to participate in the mainstream economy. Constructive dialogue between all those involved in the financial services sector is critical to tackling these issues.”

Jennifer Tankard, Chief Executive, Responsible Finance

“The core challenge facing the banking sector is how it better serves the needs of the real economy - and a real economy that is in transition to a zero carbon future. The individuals in BankingFutures are seeking to stimulate the next generation of leadership in the sector, which means both preparing for and shaping a very different future"

Nick Robins, Co-Director, Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System, UNEP