Why we're still waiting for a banking 'culture shock'

Bad bank culture change hasn't happened: Author
Bad bank culture change hasn't happened: Author

Banks may have repaired their balance sheets following the global financial crash of 2008 but we're still waiting for any notable shift in their culture, according to a market commentator.

Alex Brummer, a journalist who concentrates on the U.K.'s financial hub for the Daily Mail, told CNBC Monday that "reckless banking" persists in the industry nearly six years after one of the greatest financial upheavals in the last two centuries.

"The cultural change that we hoped for never actually happened," he said. "(Regulators are) beginning to slam the door but it's taking a hell of a long time to do so," he said.

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Brummer added that any penalties that have been dished out to U.K. banks following a string of trading and market manipulation scandals are just being seen as a new cost of doing business.

"It's really curious that the smallest countries involved in the crisis, Iceland and Ireland, where perhaps it had the most severe impact on ordinary people in some respects and on the future of their economies, are the only ones that bothered to try these people and put them in prison," Brummer said.

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Brummer also rounded on bonus payments for bankers saying that the incentive schemes are all wrong, and added that any upheavals that policymakers or the public want to see would be a "really long term process."

'A long way' from changing banking culture: Expert
'A long way' from changing banking culture: Expert

Allegations of rate fixing and foreign exchange manipulation have provided setbacks for many banks across the globe as they try to reinforce capital buffers to provide better foundations in the event of another crisis. In the City of London, some bankers have been suspended from their roles, organizations have been fined and investigations have begun into the alleged wrongdoing. However, critics remain skeptical following the small number of prosecutions that have ended in a prison sentence.

U.K. Treasury chief George Osborne has been keen to show he is taking a tough line with the City. Back in June, he reiterated rule changes that mean potential jail terms for bankers that manipulate the markets. The new U.K. financial services law last year means senior bankers in Britain could now face up to seven years in prison if they were found guilty of reckless misconduct in regards to interest rate rigging.

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Chris Skinner, the CEO of Balatro and chairman of the Financial Services Club told CNBC that potential scandals in the pipeline could involve the fixing of silver markets as well more the miss-selling of financial products. However, he was hopeful that sector has changed since 2008.

"The culture has definitely changed significantly but we're still a long way away from fixing all the issues," he said.