The Dark Side of Financial Services
Whatever the reason someone decides to contact their bank or otherwise adjust their finances, it has the potential to make a huge positive difference to their life. Unfortunately, that’s only the case on the ‘light side’ of financial services.
On the flip side of the issue, there’s also a ‘dark side’ of financial services. This is the side of finance that gives everyone a bad name, prioritising profits over people and destroying everyone’s faith in the system. And as is the running theme in any media with both a dark and a light side, it’s up to every individual to keep their eyes open and figure out which side they’re interacting with.
The Dark Side
At the core of this ‘dark side’ is what could be described as excess self-interest. Everyone expects any business to have some level of this. After all, business is business, and we know that any business needs to make money to keep going. That’s all well and good, and vital to the continued existence of any business – and its ability to provide a quality service.
When it gets too extreme, however, this starts to look less like ‘reasonable business practice’ and more like taking every opportunity to suck a little more cash out of clients rather than trying to help them. And that kind of behaviour doesn’t exactly endear the industry as a whole to its consumers. People get pretty fed up of being treated like nothing but a replaceable resource, and finding that they’ve been taken advantage of.
And it isn’t just about direct interactions with the customer. The finance sector is stereotyped as being a world of expensive lunches, excess of luxury, and still very much associated (in the West at least) with white middle aged men in sharp suits at the top. This isn’t exactly an image that fills customers with an ‘all in it together’ feeling when things in the financial world get a bit rocky.
But the general lack of diversity is a particular issue. Businesses can get caught up in employing people who fit the existing company culture, and by doing so reduce their robustness to new challenges. A wider range of people from different backgrounds brings a wider range of outlooks to the table, and can provide a wider range of novel solutions.
The Light Side
It’s very easy for the world of finance to be painted in an extremely negative light. Even more unfortunate, a lot of the accusations thrown at financial professionals come from real instances of the public being ripped off, deceived, or otherwise given reason to roll their eyes at the idea that bankers might be people too.
But at its best, the world of financial services helps individuals look after their finances. Sometimes, that may simply mean looking after what you’ve already got in a secure bank account, with a gradual accumulation of interest. Other times, it’s the chance to multiply what you’ve got through wise investments, or setting something up for rainy days or retirement.