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Back to Banca, ¡para servir, servir!

J. R. Pin Arboledas, IESE Professor and Chair of Chair of Governance and Leadership at public administration, University of Navarra

Banking, to serve, to serve!

Fri, 24 Jun 2011 08:25:39 +0000 Published in El Economista (Madrid)

Outraged people who complain at the shareholders' meetings of the banks. Politicians, including government politicians, who blame bankers for unemployment. Academics investigating the lack of ethics in financial institutions as the origin of the crisis.

The documentary Inside Job describes financiers as heartless. Stock market delays new bank share issues. EU leaders say that private banks do not financial aid in the Greek crisis and ask them to do so. What is going on?

The banking sector is not at its most popular. It was never much appreciated, but now there is enmity.

Television shows evictions for non-payment of mortgages: family with two children and a baby on the street and neighbors who gather to prevent it. A small businessman declares on the radio that he will fire workers because they cut his line of credit . A business leader says that the lack of credit makes it difficult for the economy to take off. Meanwhile, the big international banks announce profits after receiving public aid to survive and their managers receive bonuses.

However, the banks have social responsibility programs and the savings banks have a social work. They take care of their reputation. Why is it so difficult to communicate this? As financial intermediaries, they are supposed to receive money that they are supposed to remunerate adequately and lend to facilitate consumption or the purchase of housing, create wealth and jobs work. In return, they receive a profit.

Criticism is usually emotional, with little economic logic. But the demonstrations against such a noble official document indicate that, at the very least, these institutions fail to convey the importance of their service. Or is it that they are not fulfilling their mission statement? They should reflect on their activity in recent times, on whether they are fulfilling the function that society entrusts to them. Do they compensate the liabilities with justice? Do they transfer it to credit to create wealth and jobs work? Because... to serve, to serve.