How micro moments help build trust

How micro moments help build trust

Alison Inverarity - Chief Risk Officer
Supporting The Community

Alison Inverarity, our Chief Risk Officer, was invited by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland to write an article on trust, given the reputational issues that have beset both accountancy and banking. This article explores how Alison sees humility and empathy as being key for building trust.

As both a Chartered Accountant and a long standing professional within the banking industry, I find it disappointing that the reputation - and trustworthiness – of accountants and bankers has been called into question in recent years. We have historically been, and should always be, trusted advisors to the clients who seek our guidance. And our professions are so important to society, that society rightly demands the highest standards of integrity from us.

At Hampden & Co, we are dependent on the trust built between our bankers and clients so we carefully nurture professional standards of conduct and this can be illustrated in three ways:

1) Empathising with our clients

We’re building a bank based on the provision of personal, professional banking services offered by our bankers to their clients. As a private bank, we look to develop long-term relationships with our clients and their families. Everything should be done to deliver the right outcomes for our clients as we want them to really feel we are on their side. Each client is unique - we take the time to listen, then use our professional judgement and experience to help find the right, bespoke solutions.

2) Being trustworthy does not always mean saying "Yes"

One of the ways that we differentiate ourselves is by looking at every lending proposal on its own merits as we don’t use automated credit models. There can be times when approving a proposal is not the right outcome for the client and we will say so. This is a moment to show both empathy and integrity and can often require quite a bit of courage. Frequently, we can find alternative ways that allow our clients to achieve their ultimate goals so they still feel valued by our bankers.

3) Building trust one client at a time

Trust is built in the small moments – those points where an individual thinks not of their interests but of the interests of the other person. For example, if we make a mistake, it’s about being open and honest about it, showing humility and making sure our client feels we have resolved the matter fairly. It’s also about helping a client in their time of need, not when it’s convenient for us.

From the perspective of the banking profession, hopefully we have learned the lessons from the mistakes of the past decade and we will always remember the importance of valuing our clients. It will be a slow burn to bring people back on side, but the approach by new banks, such as Hampden & Co, will hopefully accelerate the change of sentiment.

And finally, I like to reflect on this quote by CS Lewis: “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when nobody is watching.” It’s about adopting high standards of conduct, not just because your professional institute and regulators expect it, but because it’s how you want to behave