Banks Need Less Talk, More Culture Change, FCA’s McDermott Says

Oct. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Banks are still not doing enough to change a culture of profits over ethics and must do more to regain public trust, in the view of the U.K. finance regulator’s top enforcer.

Tracey McDermott, the Financial Conduct Authority’s director of enforcement and financial crime, says in a speech scheduled for delivery tonight that the financial services industry must “walk the walk as well as talk the talk.”

Banks’ reputations have been tarnished by a number of scandals since the financial crisis in 2008. Lenders have paid fines for rigging benchmark interest rates, while others were penalized for failing to halt the laundering of money in sanctioned countries such as Iran.

“Even after all these years since the start of the crisis, the reaction of certain individuals is to say, “not my job guv -- we aren’t regulators,” McDermott will say according to comment in an e-mailed statement from the FCA. “As long as the industry believes the problems are created by the regulator or are there to be fixed by the regulator, then nothing will change.”

Adair Turner, the former chairman of FCA predecessor’ the Financial Services Authority, made a number of calls last year to change banking culture in the wake of the Libor interest rate-rigging scandal. He said reforming the banking culture had to start with the most senior levels of management questioning excessively profitable products.

To contact the reporter on this story: Suzi Ring in London at sring5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net