As valued customers I want to talk to you today following the publication of Sir Christopher Kelly's independent review into the past events that led to the announcement of The Co-operative Bank's capital shortfall last year.
We broadly accept the findings of the report which we know will make difficult reading for many of our customers and I would like to apologise for the extent of these past failings. The Bank lost its way but it is important to remember that the report is about the problems of the past and we are making significant progress in putting it back on track. We still believe that running a bank on co-operative values is more relevant today than ever and we are determined to prove to customers that if they believe in those values and ethics we should remain their bank of choice.
The Bank commissioned the report jointly with The Co-operative Group in July last year to ensure that there is a clear understanding of what went wrong at the Bank that led to the capital shortfall. It is important that vital lessons are learnt. However, I want to emphasise that the report is not a reflection of how the Bank is run today or the quality of the customer service our people continue to provide despite the challenges the organisation has faced.
As a new management team, we have been very aware of some of these failings and we have already taken significant steps to strengthen the Bank for the benefit of our customers. We have an entirely new management team with the depth of knowledge of financial services needed to turn the Bank around, we've improved the governance of the Bank and we have our own Board, independent of The Co-operative Group. Our Board is staffed by independent directors with knowledge of a wide range of subjects, including banking, accounting and IT. We are in the process of recruiting a further Non-Executive Director with human resources expertise.
We must continue to make changes, we know that. However, our customers should be in no doubt of my commitment, and that of the whole Board, to return to our roots as a smaller, efficient bank focused on serving individuals and small and medium sized businesses with values and ethics at our heart.
We know our customers joined the Bank for its ethics and values, and saw those as a distinguishing features. Despite the issues we've had we are focused on refreshing our values and ethics, and we intend to talk to you, our customers, in the next few months with our proposals for doing just that.
In the meantime, once again I'd like to thank you for your continued support. I understand the continued bad news around the Bank is unsettling and I want to assure you that we will continue to serve you with the same attention to service quality and the same empathy that we are known for.
Niall Booker - CEO of The Co-operative Bank