300 VDK employees first in Belgium to take new banker's oath
Around 300 employees from the head office of VDK Bank in Ghent were the first in Belgium to sign a banker's oath on Thursday. This is a document drawn up by the bank to strengthen confidence in the sector.
"A quarter of Belgians no longer feel welcome at their bank and are looking for human contact: a permanent contact person and personal advice," said CEO Leen Van den Neste, based on a survey conducted by the bank.
She hopes that a professional oath, like that taken by lawyers and doctors, can restore confidence in bankers. The Netherlands has had a similar oath for eight years, and the number of complaints from customers has steadily decreased.
In the oath, VDK employees promise, among other things, to bank securely and confidentially, to put the customer's interests first, speak clearly, help every customer personally, and treat everyone equally regardless of age, origin, orientation and income.
Finance minister Vincent Van Peteghem has also drawn up a scheme whereby all bank employees will be required to take an oath in which they promise to comply with a number of deontological standards or face sanctions from the financial watchdog FSMA.
However, the VDK bank oath goes further: besides economic commitments, it also contains social and ecological promises. For example, employees promise to follow an investment and credit policy that is in line with the Paris Climate Agreement, and not to invest in companies that violate human or labour rights. Van den Neste hopes that the future official banker's oath will also include similar pledges.
Eventually, all office employees of VDK Bank will take the oath.
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