Barely a week goes by without some scandal coming out regarding those nasty bankers. Fraudulent, dishonest, greedy, aggressive and selfish – surely the entire banking community is a toxic mess, filled with charlatans and thieves.
The truth however is very different. The banking industry is filled with ordinary people – talented, flawed, beautiful, messed up people. People who have capacity for extraordinary generosity as well as the most mean spirited greed. People who can love and loathe, confident people, insecure people, brave people, fearful people.
People who worry about their kids’ futures, and people who grieve because they can’t have kids. People whose lives are so full they don’t have a minute to themselves, and others who find themselves isolated and lonely. In other words, the banking system is filled with people just like you and me.
It is true that due to their often privileged roles they have capacity for more significant impact when they fail, but basically most are decent people, often maligned for the behaviours of a handful, or for errant individuals.
It may well be that we need a structural change to lessen the concentration of risk in banks. And we are much in need of a new relationship between the industry and the rest of society. So as you pray today for the banking community, do so from a place of humility and kindness, wishing the best for ordinary people, often with enormous pressure, so that when important decisions do need to be made, they will be made from a place that is mindful of both privilege and responsibility.
Phil Wall is a Business Psychologist and Executive Coach who spends most of his professional life coaching leaders through change in the media and financial services industries. He is also the founder of the International AIDS Orphan charity Hopehiv and a rugby nut.