In the early part of 1995, Michael Lafferty, Chairman of Lafferty Group, met with senior retail bankers in a series of exploratory meetings around the world to discuss the creation of an international peer group for the retail banking industry. There was a universal desire for a forum that would allow industry leaders to resolve industry issues in a facilitated environment rather than simply discuss them.
The initiative soon became a reality and the International Retail Banking Council ((IRBC) was established as a unique membership programme for senior executives dedicated to industry progress. Through a systematic review of the successes and failures of others and brainstorming the future, senior bankers came to rely upon a neutral and objective structure within which they could meet peers to discuss strategic issues and trends in confidence. The Council also provided a platform that allowed members to commission international benchmarking and other research work – a practice that continues to this day.
All meetings are conducted under three simple rules – everything is confidential, everyone participates and there is no selling. In reality, the Council can be seen as unique form of advisory service, where the members advise each other – but it is more than that. It is a unique and authoritative voice for the industry.
Letter from Michael Lafferty
There is no shortage of commentary on the difficulties in the current global financial system. The unprecedented crisis has made us think long and hard about the future of retail banking. Far from being despondent, we see this as a “once in a lifetime opportunity” for those committed to retail banking to build a business model that will command the trust of all and build long-lasting mutually beneficial customer relationships.
As you may know, we at Lafferty Group have retail banking in our genes. We started with a newsletter, then a conference and then a report called “The Retail Banking Revolution” – and suddenly found ourselves with enthusiasts for retail banking across the globe. Many newsletters, reports and conferences followed – all over the world. We are convinced that retail banking is a ‘relationship business’ and that this is what makes retail banking special.