A bank goes to some lengthy extent to uphold the integrity and credibility of its name and brand.
But for a bank to lure more clients in, for a bank to thrive, banks must observe two cardinal values all the time: respect and ethics. Clients tend to gravitate towards business entities that show them respect and are ethical in dealing with them. It seems that the two values are the most potent measures in defining a bank's professionalism, credibility and integrity.
Clients do not only entrust their money to the bank. More than money alone — and more importantly — clients entrust their reputation to banks as well because in any industry, reputation is a premier requirement to a smooth-sailing and better chances for success of any enterprise. In the banking industry, trust is the foundation of all transactions.
In banking parlance, depositors are not the only ones being regarded as clients. Even those availing of bank loan products are also the clients. The fact makes it imperative for banks to accord the same amount of trust mutually held by both the financial institution and the client. After all, banks generally profit from their loan products.
The question is: what remedy is available for a client if a bank breaks the cardinal values of respect and upholding ethical standards being observed in this kind of industry?
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Just recently, a client falls victim to its bank's irresponsible treatment when it publicized the latter's loan standing, placing the client's company in harm's way. The financial standing of the loan exposed by the bank subjected the client to becoming talk of the town, taking in defamatory comments bordering on personal attacks, mainly through social media.
The display of glaring malpractice of the bank prompts the public to ask: Is ethics only applicable when a client is in a good standing position? Is one's diminished level of professionalism in dealing with a client who is in some degree of challenged compliance acceptable?
With such mischievous treatment of a bank towards its own client, the government's financial regulatory body like the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) should step in and examine how such high profile bank had resorted to unimaginable imprudence. Government regulatory institutions should look at this for reason: the act both harmed the client's reputation and compromised the entire banking industry as well.
BSP and other concerned regulatory institutions, even private organizations, must not take this lightly. They must find ways, or shall we say "find better ways," to not just instill higher appreciation and compel adherence to ethical standards, but take vigilance thereof.
Let this recent incident of "unethical" client treatment serve as a nudge to the banking industry to refresh their commitment in their values and hold rule breakers accountable for their destructive mischief to clients, and to the industry as well.
After all, trust is all there is that keeps the ball rolling.