‘Make bankers swear oath to do good like doctors’

Call for stronger ethics in banking comes after a series of high-profile scandals in banking sector

Bankers should swear an oath of good service in the same way as doctors, a think tank has proposed.

Rather than focusing on rules or macroeconomic issues, regulators must consider the conduct of bankers, said ResPublica, which looks at economic and cultural problems.

The call for stronger ethics in banking comes after a series of scandals such as the mis-selling of payment protection insurance, Libor rate rigging, and the mis-selling of interest swaps to small businesses.

Part of ResPublica’s banker’s oath says: “I will do my utmost to behave in a manner that prioritises the needs of customers. It my first duty to provide an exemplary quality of service to my customers and to exhibit a duty of care above and beyond what is required by law.”

Another part adds: “I will confront profligacy and impropriety wherever I encounter it, for the conduct of bankers can have dramatic consequence for society.”

The think tank’s banking oath is based on the Hippocratic Oath doctors swear, which dates back 2,500 years to Greek medical pioneer Hippocrates.