Should bankers have banking qualifications?


In a recent report, the Lafferty group’s Bank Quality Ratings highlighted the surprising lack of qualifications among banking CEOs. I have to ask – should bankers have specialist banking qualifications?

It’s easy to argue that bankers don’t need them. After all, our banks have operated without any formal professional requirements for years, why change it now? That’s not to say those in charge don’t have any qualifications – quite the opposite in fact. The majority of top executives and CEOs have post-graduate degrees and professional qualifications, however as the Lafferty report points out, very little of those qualifications pertain to banking as a profession. That said – a core competency of a CEO is leadership, what difference would a banking qualification make?

In the spring 2016 Laffery Bank Quality Ratings, Aongus Buckley remarked “Mr [James] Crosby studied mathematics, trained as an actuary and worked as a fund manager, but his first real experience of banking was as the head of Halifax. Perhaps if he had more knowledge of banking, he would have realised that the bank’s sales strategy, while boosting short-term revenue, was bound to damage the bank in the long run.”

Recent research has shown that consumers are looking for more transparency from banks, and would have considerably more confidence in banks if they knew they were dealing with professionally qualified people. This is hardly surprising, considering similar professions (lawyers, accountants) follow a rigid qualification structure to ensure a sufficient level of quality for all fully qualified candidates. Clearly, there is a need for CEOs and banking leaders as a whole to be more holistically educated. It’s this holistic view that enables decisive strategic decisions that represent both the consumer and banks’ interests.

It’s a little astonishing that there’s been so little governance over the education and quality of retail bankers for so long. After all, they are the ones who handle our money and we trust to act in our best interests. Without an emphasis on ethics and compliance, and an understanding on the wider retail banking business, it’s no surprise some retail banking professionals become isolated and focus only on their specific job targets.

That’s why we’ve made it our mission to raise the professional standard of retail bankers worldwide, through our internationally recognised Accelerated Certified Retail Banker programme. Specifically designed for retail banking professionals with over 10 years experience, our programme supplements the wealth of knowledge already accumulated, and builds on the core skills needed in today’s retail banking environment.




The Retail Banking Academy is the only international training academy that offers qualifications exclusively dedicated to the best practice principles in retail banking from the practitioner’s point of view. We are committed to making the Certified Retail Banker qualification (CRB) the recognised industry standard, that promotes excellence in ethics, education and customer-oriented retail banking. 

Evelyn Hunter
About Evelyn Hunter 4 Articles
Evelyn Hunter is Chief Executive Officer of the Retail Banking Academy. Joining Lafferty Group in 2007 from an initial role as assistant to the chairman, she became Lafferty Group general manager in 2008 and was a founding partner of the Retail Banking Academy and currently sits on the Board and Awarding Body.

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