IF A leading blue-chip PR firm was commissioned to find a suitable banker to project a different image of banking to the British public, then they might plumb for Ashok Vaswani without hesitation.
Let’s face it, most people think that bankers are just rhyming slang for people who entertain themselves a lot (in true cockney parlance, and that is the benign interpretation).
Vaswani has put the customer at the very heart of what he does – as the CEO of Consumer Banking and Payments – and for an industry that can sometimes appear very unfriendly, he projects a warmth and humility that isn’t much in general evidence across this sector.
If it was as simple as ‘the customer is always right and everything should be centred around that’ few banks would arguably, make the amount of money that they do (pre-pandemic).
Therein, crudely, is the crux of a difficult equation. Vaswani put the GG2 Power List in no doubt as to where he stood on this. “I think any organisation has to truly know and understand what its purpose is, why you exist.
“When you are purpose-led and you get your focus right, everything else flows from this.
“We have always said that, nobody needs another bank! Instead, how can we help people get the things done in their life that truly matter to them?” he tells the GG2 Power List.
For him, there are two further points that guide him in focusing on the fundamentals of what banking is, and should be, about.
“Secondly, putting the customer first. It’s about listening, truly listening to what the customer is telling you, about their pain points, about what matters to them, and then responding and bringing something to them that meets those pain points. And third, being humble.
“We have to