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What is the BSB?

A New Body For
Banking Standards

The Banking Standards Board (BSB) has been established to promote high standards of behaviour and competence across UK banks and building societies.

A successful, dynamic UK economy needs a strong, stable banking sector that serves the best interests of its customers. For the sector to contribute fully to the economy and society it needs to be trusted; not only by its customers (in the UK and globally), but also by its staff, by potential employees, by regulators and by policy makers. Trust in the sector has been damaged, and it is only the industry itself – by demonstrating honesty, reliability and competence on a consistent and collective basis – that can rebuild it.

The BSB began its work in April 2015. It is a private sector body funded by membership subscriptions and open to all banks and building societies operating in the UK. It is neither a regulator nor a trade association; it has no statutory powers, and it will not speak or lobby for the industry. It will, instead, provide challenge, support and scrutiny for firms committed to rebuilding the sector’s reputation, and it will provide impartial and objective assessments of the industry’s progress.

Read the BSB Governance Report 2017 and Financial Statements 2017

Read the BSB Governance Report 2016 (pdf 104MB) and Financial Statements 2016 (pdf 909KB)

Read the BSB Governance Report and Financial Statements 2015 (pdf 229KB)

Promote High Standards

Banks and building societies operating in the UK recognise that some firms in the industry have let themselves, their customers and the industry down. The BSB aims to help to raise standards of behaviour and competence across the industry by providing independent challenge and support to member banks and building societies.

Industry initiative

The BSB is an industry-driven initiative, responding to the collective challenge of rebuilding the sector’s trust and reputation. The organisation’s start-up was supported by seven of the UK’s largest banks and building society, and its membership opens formally in January 2016. There is no statutory requirement to join the BSB; membership is a voluntary, positive affirmation of each firm’s commitment to high standards of behaviour, competence and professionalism individually and across the whole of the banking and building society sector.

Restoring trust

Trust has to be earned; and it is earned by consistently honest, reliable and competent behaviour. Individual BSB member firms start from very different places in terms of reputation and standing, and the challenges for each will vary (as will their cultures); but all recognise the importance to the economy and society of restoring trust in the sector. The BSB will provide the scrutiny and challenge that will support them in their individual and collective efforts.

Origins of the BSB

Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards was appointed

The Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards is a joint Committee appointed by the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
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Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards Report

It recommends the creation of a “professional body for banking in the UK" with "the onus... on the industry itself to maintain the impetus for its development."
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Sir Richard Lambert to undertake a review

The Chairmen of UK's seven largest banks and building societies (Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, Nationwide, RBS, Santander and Standard Chartered)
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Sir Richard Lambert publishes his Banking Standards Review

"There is a strong case for a collective effort to raise standards of behaviour and competence in the banking sector...”.
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Funding for the new BSRC

The seven founder banks and building societies agree to fund the creation of the Banking Standards Review Council. Sir Richard Lambert acts as interim Chairman, while Bank of England Governor Mark Carney leads an independent panel to appoint a permanent Chairman and CEO.
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Dame Colette Bowe is selected as Chairman

"Colette not only has a deep understanding of financial services regulation, but also a proven track record of improving standards of fairness, transparency and integrity across a range of industries."
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Alison Cottrell is selected as Chief Executive

"Alison has a depth of knowledge of the policy context for financial services, alongside experience of working in the industry..."
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The BSRC is renamed the Banking Standards Board (BSB)

And launches with a 14-strong Board made up of nine non-practitioner members and five practitioner members, chaired by Dame Colette Bowe.
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The BSB was founded on the participation of the UK’s seven largest banks and building society.

The banking industry has a collective interest in raising standards of behaviour and competence across the industry.

If your organisation is interested in joining the BSB please read our Membership content or email

Senior Managers and Certification Regime

Exploring how the SMCR - and especially Certification - can be implemented in the most effective way across the sector.

The Senior Managers and Certification Regime is a major regulatory change that will affect all banks and building societies. Responding to recommendations by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, the government and regulators have together developed a comprehensive framework to ensure better accountability and responsibility for behaviour, competence and culture in banks and building societies. The new framework provides an opportunity for the industry to focus on and demonstrate a culture of professionalism. We are working with firms and regulators to facilitate this, including areas where a common approach across firms could support both the objectives of the regime and the skills and development of the people covered by it.


Evaluating whether a more 'professional' approach to banking would improve behaviour and competence across the industry.

The Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards found that 'banking culture has all too often been characterised by an absence of any sense of collective responsibility to uphold the reputation of the industry', and argued that a greater focus on professionalism could be an answer to this. Working with a leading team at the University of Leeds, we are researching the issues around professionalism in banking. In particular, we are reviewing how professional qualifications are currently used across the sector, and at whether a stronger role for professional bodies, along the lines seen in some other sectors, like medicine or law, would help raise standards. To inform this work and develop a rounded picture of 'professionalism' and what it means in banking, we are surveying banks and building societies, professional bodies and a wide range of other interested groups, including consumer bodies and investors.


Providing an honest and impartial assessment to Boards of progress against objectives on behaviour, competence and culture.

The BSB assessment exercise presents Boards with an objective and impartial view of their firm's culture, identifying where things are working well and recommending areas for improvement. It draws on information not only from Boards and senior teams, but also from employees, investors (or members), trade unions, customer groups and other relevant bodies. In doing so, it will provide constructive challenge to each firm individually, while building a collective understanding of common issues across the industry, or sectors within it. We undertook our first annual assessment exercise in 2015 with ten firms (Barclays, Citi, HSBC Bank, Lloyds Banking Group, Metro Bank, Morgan Stanley International, Nationwide, RBS, Santander UK and Standard Chartered). The BSB itself will not publish individual assessment reports - each firm owns its own report - but key themes and messages will be set out in the BSB's annual report, the first of which will be published in Spring 2016. Given that Board engagement is central to the assessment work, only firms that have their headquarters in the UK are eligible for the full assessment exercise. All firms, including branches of firms headquartered overseas, will however be included in a focused membership-wide survey, which will allow each participating firm to benchmark itself against its peer group.



If your bank/building society has not responded adequately, or in time, to a complaint that you have already made, you can register your complaint with the Financial Ombudsman Service. Which offers a guide on consumer rights when taking a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.


If you have a problem or query relating to your financial affairs, or are seeking personal finance advice or guidance, there is free, impartial information available from the following organisations:


If you work in the financial services industry and are concerned about any activities conducted by your employer or any other firm or individual, you may find the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority's guidelines on whistleblowing helpful. It explains what constitutes whistleblowing, and what procedures are in place to respond to blow the whistle and how your anonymity would be protected. Public Concern at Work, the whistleblowing charity, also offers support and advice to individuals and employers about how to report concerns and how to establish whistleblowing frameworks.


If you are seeking the services of an independent financial adviser, Unbiased may be able to help, or if you are looking for more general financial guidance, the Money Advice Service may be a useful place to start.