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Archbishop of Canterbury to lead banking debate

What makes a good bank is the question the Archbishop of Canterbury will be asking later when he makes a keynote speech in St Paul's Cathedral.

The Most Revd Justin Welby, who sits on the panel of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, will be joined by a panel of experts to discuss the "social contract" between banks and society.

It's expected more than 2,000 people will turn up to hear what the Archbishop has to say on the purpose of the financial sector. 

 In the past the Archbishop has said the banking industry needs reform and structures put in place that "lean toward virtue rather than vice". 

He has also said there are no simple answers, but there are simple principles which come down to saying that financial services must serve society, and not rule it.

Tonight's discussion will also hear from Antony Jenkins, Group Chief Executive of Barclays; John Fingleton, CEO of Fingleton Associates and former CEO of Office of Fair Trading; and Laura Willoughby MBE, CEO of Move Your Money.

Canon Mark Oakley, Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral, said:

"Having the 'right rules' is important, but we urgently need to look beyond them to a wider set of resources and more public conversations that make us more aware of, and accountable to, each other if we're not just to live in a world of self-reference. 

"We're inviting people into St Paul's for just such a debate in the hope that our conversations lead to our conversions - the kind of organisational and personal changes we all need if we are to continue believing that there is such a thing as society." 

Jamie Wanless, Finance Director of Kingdom Bank told Premier's Victoria Laurence on the News Hour why he believes the banking industry needs futher reforms:

Michael Quicke, Chief Executive of CCLA, which provides investment and property fund management services, said:

"The pressure to maximise short-term shareholder value inevitably strains even the strongest commitment to integrity. 

"It is tough to balance what is good for clients and what is good for shareholders, especially when your pay and future employment are aligned with short-term shareholder returns. 

"The system we have is finding it difficult to reform itself, and I hope this series of debates will encourage further examination of the link between morals and markets at a time when the public is acutely aware that the single minded quest for profit can come at a great cost to both individuals and society at large."

Meanwhile, reports suggest that executives at Britain's top banks may form a task force to respond to a report from a committee of parliamentarians examining standards within the industry, which is said to be published on Friday.

The Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards was set up by the government last July to examine ethics within the industry. Tonight's banking speech will be the third and final debate under the Cathedral's dome organised by St Paul's Institute, alongside CCLA.

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