Press Release

New York Fed Releases New Podcast Series Focused on Norms, Mindsets, and Decision-Making in Banking Culture

November 10, 2021

NEW YORK – The Federal Reserve Bank of New York today released the latest podcast season of "Bank Notes,"  titled "Banking Culture Reform: Norms, Mindsets, and Decision-Making."

The nine-episode series examines the norms and mindsets that contribute to the spectrum of decision-making, from ethical to unethical. It features interviews with thought and industry leaders representing a broad range of experience across banking, regulation, psychology, neuroscience, and aeronautics and space.

The podcasts take a deeper dive into many of the issues raised in the New York Fed's recent Governance and Culture Reform webinars, and are part of the New York Fed's broader initiative to spur reform of culture and conduct in the financial services industry. Details of the nine podcast episodes follow:

Episode 1: Recognizing the Importance of Culture (Introduction)
John Williams is the President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In this brief introductory episode, President Williams touches on the perspectives that listeners can expect to hear in this season of Bank Notes, as well as the importance of culture in shaping decisions at the individual and institution-wide levels.

Episode 2: Exploring the Predictive Power of Guilt
Taya Cohen is an associate professor of organizational behavior and theory at Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business. She studies moral character in the workplace, including the predictive power of guilt proneness in individuals. In this episode, Cohen discusses why highly guilt prone individuals may have a moral advantage; shares her perspective on individuals' proclivities toward ethical behavior and honesty; and outlines how to hire for these traits.

Episode 3: Establishing Values, Not Rules
Mark Mortensen is an Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at INSEAD. He studies collaboration, team dynamics, and communication, with a particular focus on remote and distributed work. In this episode, Mortensen recounts what drew him from engineering to behavioral science; why we can't rely on rules to drive good decisions; and the critical importance of psychological safety in building strong cultures.

Episode 4: Prioritizing People and Mission…in Space
Holly Ridings is the Chief Flight Director at NASA, an institution that has spent more than six decades researching how culture connects to outcomes. In this episode, Ridings talks about putting safety and mission first; the importance of humility in learning from past mistakes; and how NASA's culture helps directors of human space flight develop their command presence and remain laser-focused.

Episode 5: Applying Neuroscience to the Workplace
Elizabeth "Zab" Johnson is a neuroscientist and the Executive Director of the Wharton Neuroscience Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania, where she harnesses insights from brain science to help understand and improve business outcomes. In this episode, Johnson uncovers the neuroscience behind the behaviors and decisions that we see, and shares how practices like perspective-taking can help build stronger cultures.

Episode 6: Understanding Behaviors in Context
David Grosse is responsible for conduct risk, culture and behavior at HSBC Global Banking and Markets. A long-time banker (and later behavioral scientist), he became convinced that understanding human behavior was central to understanding what was happening at a bank. In this episode, Grosse shares his own experiences with context and group behaviors – including at rugby and soccer matches.

Episode 7: Shaping (and Re-Shaping) What's 'Normal'
Betsy Levy Paluck is a Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton University. She studies the way group norms are shaped and changed, including how social perceptions and networks can be used to influence behavior. In this episode, Paluck explains – among other things – why we're really all just middle schoolers at heart.

Episode 8: Building Processes that Serve Everyone
Mark Roe
is the Head of Risk Culture at the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). With a background in Criminology, he brings a unique perspective to the supervision of governance, behavior, and culture. In this episode, Roe shares his perspective on why risk culture matters and how organizations can impact decision-making among staff.

Episode 9: Reforming the Financial Services Industry
Mikael Down is the former Executive Director for Assessment and Insights at the Financial Services Culture Board, an industry body that assesses culture at financial institutions in the UK and helps to design cultural interventions at member firms. In this episode, Down shares his perspective on how cultural norms in the UK banking sector have evolved in recent years, including the pandemic's impact on firms' relationships with their employees.

The New York Fed’s Governance and Culture Reform initiative website features events, speeches, and other materials related to the study of conduct and culture in the financial services industry. Among them are case studies released by the Education and Industry Forum on Financial Services Culture, a sponsored group of the New York Fed that facilitates the teaching of ethical norms to those in academia and the financial services industry.

Mariah Measey
(347) 978-3071 
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