Rigid and unresponsive: Ouch. Those are the adjectives suggested by a new study of bank corporate culture by the Hay Group. But there's good news, says the consulting firm: bankers recognize the need to change.

Hay's survey of 52 bankers and banking organization representatives used its Targeted Culture Modeling process to rank 56 attributes that banks reward, using a scale measuring seven levels of priority from low to high. After blending the responses, overall behaviors were generated-and "these types of behaviors are responsible for a lot of what people hate most about banks," says Paul Platten, director of Hay's banking practice.

Like what? Bankers value the chain of command, supporting top management, limiting downside risk and sticking with proven methods. These manifest themselves in rigid loan policies, long waits and unresponsiveness to customers, Platten says. By the same token, bankers put lower value on entrepreneurial attributes like innovation, risk-taking, flexibility and a service mentality.

But when asked what behaviors they'd like to encourage, bankers changed their tune considerably (see table). Change is coming, but to listen to consultants, it can't come fast enough.

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