The archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has said that the banking sector remains “in denial” over the circumstances leading up to the 2008 financial crisis. He called for a complete overhaul in culture across the industry.
Speaking on the BBC Radio Four Today programme on Tuesday, Welby said that he would back banks bosses who pursued “a vision based in justice and hope” to change the face of the financial services.
Welby also said that banks had become disconnected from society, adding that it would take a “long time” for bankers to win back the trust of their customers after “a progressive loss of vision as to what banks were for in society”.
“I don’t want to name names but I came across some people recently who are very clearly senior members of the City, for foreign organisations, but who very clearly still absolutely in denial about what happened in 2008,” he added.
Welby also featured on the regular Thought for the Day section of the Today programme, challenging banks to change their cultures.
He said, “One of the great challenges for the coming year, especially if the economy is going better, is for our financial system. Will it revert to the bad old ways of the past or continue the efforts for cultural change towards something that serves the common good?”
He also highlighted leadership as the issue, saying, “Leadership must have a vision based in justice and hope so that everyone at every level is committed to change.”
The Church of England and the Catholic church are thought to possess two of their most revolutionary leaders seen in generations. Welby and his opposite number Pope Francis have spoken out in favour of changes within public and private institutions.
The pope recently attacked an “economy of exclusions” in which he said the “powerful feed upon the powerless”. He also likened the “idolatry of money” to the worship of the golden calf.