Despite years of financial crisis and industry turmoil, John Bree, MD of corporate security and business continuity at Deutsche Bank, said banks’ reputations remained one of their most important assets.
Bree told a briefing on reputational resilience, hosted by business group London First, that Deutsche is concentrating on building a stockpile of "reputational capital" and that required a proactive approach to communications.
Pointing to the blurring of lines between risk management, business continuity and reputation management, Bree explained that a key mitigator of risk was being able to demonstrate the company is a "good corporate citizen".
He added that banks had to accept that they may be judged as "guilty by association" when their peers were found to have done something wrong, but understanding what was going on provided the necessary information to address the situation.
"If you’ve got [the word] bank after your name, chances are you’re going to be lumped in – is it wrong? Not really. Is it something we need to understand? Yes," Bree said.
"My point is not that it’s wrong and not that we’re being treated unfairly; these are the things we have to pay attention to as we plan."
Financial services companies could achieve a lot through effective use of social media, he said, adding that if Twitter "is good enough for the Pope, it’s good enough for me".
Robert Hall, director of security and resilience at London First, added another key aspect of the banking industry’s rehabilitation was its acceptance that it no longer had only to do what was legal, but also what was seen to be right.