June 21, 2010

Archbishop attacks market mentality of bankers

by David Masters

The ongoing economic crisis was caused by a “market mentality” in the financial sector, the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales has claimed.

Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols said a “gradual erosion of the duty of service to society” was to blame for the problems underlying the banking crisis.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, the Archbishop said: “A market mentality which focused relentlessly on the search for ever greater and quicker profits, exploiting to the full the regulatory opportunities available, allowed many to lend and deal recklessly.”

Nichols believes the financial sector desperately needs ethical leadership and must end its addiction to profit as the sole mark of success.

“Profit must only be a means to this end, and not an end in itself,” he said.

He added: “We should, as a society, explore profoundly what it is that truly makes for a humane and fulfilled life.

“This is also an opportunity to change our lifestyle for the better, giving more value to the intangible qualities and virtues such as love and compassion that never appear on records of GDP, but which are at the heart of all that makes life worthwhile.”

Last week consumer rights group Which? published its Future of Banking report, which urged the government to radically reform the financial services to focus on “service” rather than profit.

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