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Message from CEO Alison Rose

The tragic death of George Floyd has caused shock and anger throughout America, and across the world. Thousands of people, from all communities, have taken to the streets to demonstrate their frustration and call for change. Closer to home, in many messages and conversations I’ve had in the last few days, it’s clear that people within the bank feel passionately about the need for action.

I wanted to write to you today because, as an organisation that aims to be purpose-led, it is vital that we listen to those calls, and make clear our commitment to equality.

Our purpose is to champion potential. That applies whether you are black or white, male or female, young or old. Every day, we work with thousands of customers and colleagues from every background, in every part of the country, helping them to achieve their goals and to thrive.

But we also know that too often there are extra barriers faced by people from BAME backgrounds. We have a substantial role to play in tackling those inequalities, and are taking important steps to support BAME customers, colleagues and communities. The targets we have set ourselves to grow the number of BAME-led businesses that we support, as well as to increase BAME representation across our workforce, particularly at senior levels, are aimed at driving meaningful and lasting change. More immediately, initiatives like the reciprocal mentoring scheme involving the bank ExCo and BAME colleagues, are helping us to better understand the issues, and informing how we can improve.

These are just some of the initiatives we have in place, and externally, we are a founding signatory of the UK Government’s Race Equality Charter. We can be proud of our record, but what events in America are forcing us to consider is - are we doing enough?

I am committed to building a positive and inclusive culture and am clear that achieving that is a fundamental responsibility of every leader in the bank. What the reaction to events in the US shows is that people still see too many instances where discrimination or injustice are blighting people’s lives. It shows that the worst thing we can do is be complacent, or believe we have solved the issue.

At our best, we are an open, inclusive, progressive organisation, but until that is everyone’s experience, every time, we have more to do.



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