Digging Out from Political Turmoil: A Case Study

Posted by | January 22, 2020 | Articles | No Comments

What happens when the media spotlight turns and you find yourself having to defend your actions but are constrained in what you can say? 

This was the situation a private bank found itself in when, at the center of a highly charged political environment in Malta, it became embroiled in government money-laundering allegations and had its banking operations called into question. 

Background 

Malta assumed the EU Presidency in early 2017 and had a high international profile. However, allegations of financial wrong-doings involving one of its newly established private banks, led many to question the country’s due diligence approach and appropriateness as a banking global hub; ultimately contributing to a hastily called government election later that year.

As a financial institution and regulated entity in Malta, the bank operated to strict financial and regulatory disclosure rules which prohibited them by law from commenting on any clients, transactions or regulatory interactions. The banking allegations led to the bank coming under huge public scrutiny, receiving unsubstantiated accusations and a crisis of credibility.

Media Spotlight

This proved a testing time for the bank’s executive team. Despite voluntarily participating in a magisterial inquiry as a witness to provide regulatory and independent auditor reports and confirm compliance with all financial laws and regulations, the bank was constrained with what it could say in public.

It also had to re-assure correspondent banks and investors, address employee concerns and continue to operate in line with regulatory requirements while trying to stem the flow of negative headline news. 

Spoken Word Communications was engaged to develop a communications strategy to help restore the bank’s reputation and position it positively with key stakeholders in Malta and abroad by:

– creating a new company narrative

– producing position statements and QAs

– establishing social media channels

– filming executives to provide a ‘human face’ for the bank

– implementing a proactive media relations program

– undertaking media refresher training for executives

– strengthening the bank’s internal communications 

– monitoring media coverage and addressing inaccurate reporting

Communications Step-Change

Over the next few months, the bank saw a positive change in its communications delivery with more balanced media reporting, greater positive interaction with key stakeholders, and stronger employee engagement – all contributed to help restore trust with key stakeholders, rebuild its image and sense of pride in the bank.

The Bank’s Chief Operating Officer summed up: 

“The crisis management and communications training provided by Spoken Word proved invaluable to ensuring our team was prepared to communicate clearly and effectively with various stakeholders and media outlets. Their expertise was instrumental in bringing structured methods and strategies to what otherwise were unstructured and unpredictable events. I highly recommend them for proactive communications training.”

Next Step

To learn more about how Spoken Word Communications can help you in a crisis situation, contact us at Dave@SpokenWordGroup.com

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