To say the Royal Commission is the talk of the town is no exaggeration this week. Every cab I have climbed into has had talk-back radio blaring with people’s views on the findings, and newspaper headlines have screamed with the scandal of it all.
There is a lot of emotion around the findings (not from Hayne himself mind you, we all saw that clip of him handing the report over) that has erupted into full blown public outrage. One would have to say, that the findings have done two very important things:
It seems as the though the findings of the Royal Commission have sparked a crisis of no confidence that has many people believe that they have been stolen from. Duped. Lied to. Hoodwinked.
Now there is no denying that many people have been damaged by poor and deceiving practices. And that this must change. The majority of people however, have most likely not greatly been affected by the things that the Hayne report have highlighted. Despite this however, most people now have an emotional and visceral reaction to all things bank related. And emotions are very hard things to change.
While they say today’s headlines are tomorrows fish and chips wrappers, I can’t help but think that the stench of this is going to linger long after the headlines disappear. While most of us can but get on with things and work toward a better future, in some way we have all been damaged by these findings and the general public’s view of the finance industry. In the past these were the kinds of things that started revolutions.
In an era where personalities are trusted far more than brands, I believe that it will take key individuals standing up and outlining a plan to soothe the damaged soul of the public psyche. I’m pretty sure that is not going to come from the political arena - both sides are using this crisis as a reason why their party needs to save people from the industry itself.
Which leaves us to find our own champions.
Authenticity will key in starting to change the public view. In a world where image is managed carefully, and lawyers have the final say, this will be the biggest challenge our industry faces in presenting a different face. If ever independent organisations who are brave have a chance to stand for something and make a difference - it’s now.
While the task ahead is tough, I have not lost faith we can rebuild trust in financial services with large segments of the Australian public. Not everyone, but over time, a majority. I am talking to many of you out there who want to be part of the solution. And have the energy and conviction to help get it done.
So let’s let the dust settle on this report and then move forward together. As the biggest industry in Australia, the consequences of not doing so would be dire. We all have a lot to gain, and even more to lose if we don’t.
Until next time,
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