Thursday, 25 October 2018

Questions (21)

Joan Burton

Question:

21. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the progress being made in respect of the establishment of the banking culture board; if his attention has been drawn to the concerns expressed by a union (details supplied) in respect of the manner of the configuration of the board; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43975/18]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I wish to clarify for the Deputy that the Irish Banking Culture Board is a private initiative from the banking industry in Ireland aimed at rebuilding trust and confidence in the industry following the tracker mortgage scandal, and as such it is not within the remit of my Department nor the Central Bank as regulator.

It is intended that the Irish Banking Culture Board will be an independently led entity to ensure that the industry is focused on the best interests of the customer and leads to a sustainable banking industry that promotes the highest standards of behaviour and professionalism.

I have been informed by representatives of the five main lenders that over the next 6-12 months, the search for an independent Chairperson will be concluded, the wider Board will be appointed, and there will be an initial culture survey and a stakeholder consultation process.

The initiative does not seek to replace or diminish existing regulation and will be run out of a separate entity to the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI) and the banks. The establishment costs and annual running costs will be funded by the retail banks themselves. The Board will not act as a lobbying or representative organisation. It will not act as a regulatory body nor duplicate the work of individual banks or the regulator.

I welcome this initiative by the banks to regain the trust of customers, but it is no substitute for regulation.

To that end, my officials have been working with the Central Bank over the past year on policies to be addressed in a forthcoming Central Bank (Amendment) Bill. As I have already stated, the Government is supportive of measures to enhance individual accountability arising from the Central Bank's culture report recommendations. The Central Bank's proposals to enhance individual accountability include: Conduct Standards for all regulated financial services providers and the individuals working within them; a Senior Executive Accountability Regime; and, enhancements to the current Fitness and Probity Regime. I propose to address the required changes to legislation under the ongoing Central Bank Amendment Bill project. My officials have been engaging with the Central Bank and other stakeholders in that regard and I intend to bring forward heads of a Bill for approval in Q1 2019.