Banking for the common good: A Lonerganian perspective

J.A Ballantine, Martin Kelly, Patricia Larres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


The financial crisis of 2008 left a legacy of hardship in its wake and exposed a culture of moral penury in UK banking. In an ex-post attempt to address this malaise and restore confidence in the sector, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) affirmed, in its mission statement, a strong commitment to serving the public interest. We appraise the FCA’s public interest rhetoric and contrast the term public interest with its antecedent, the common good. In so doing, we conclude that the common good is superior to the public interest insofar as the former incorporates a moral dimension which is absent from the latter. Moreover, the common good embraces an inclusivity in its altruism that renders it superior to the majoritarism of the public interest. Thereafter, we illuminate the concept of the common good by drawing on Bernard Lonergan’s philosophical anthropology and, in particular, his cognitive structure of dynamic knowing. Finally, we provide a discourse for the banking sector which incorporates Lonergan’s philosophy as a mechanism for conceptualising
accounting and accountability for the common good. We argue for a new focus to liberate banking from self-interested desires, embedded in a neoliberal ideology, and redirect it towards a compassionate caring culture.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102061
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Early online date20 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We should like to thank the editors for their encouragement and the anonymous referees for their insightful comments on earlier versions of this paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Accountability
  • Common good
  • Lonergan
  • Public interest


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