Former HBOS (Halifax Bank of Scotland) Chief Executive Sir James Crosby has put 'greedy' bankers to shame by acting quickly and decisively to make amends, following the publication of a scathing report into the collapse of the bank which cost British taxpayers £28 billion ($43 billion) to bail out.
Crosby was one of three top HBOS bankers strongly criticized last week for what the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards described as "catastrophic failures of management, governance and regulatory oversight."
In addition to a fulsome apology, Sir James offered to relinquish his knighthood and give up a third of his £20 million ($30 million) pension pot, which pays out nearly £600,000 ($918,000) a year.
In reputation management terms, his quick actions are a masterstroke. Rather than drag things out for months on end, he's made a very public show of contrition and is prepared to sacrifice a significant financial sum that technically, he could have kept.
Of course, his actions will provide cold comfort to the millions of people who face an uncertain future in the current economic climate, with pitiful savings rates, increased job insecurity and the rapidly rising cost of living. The impact of the banking crisis on Britain has been compared to that of a world war.
Many blame the UK's devastated economy on bankers who played fast and loose with their money, betrayed the trust invested in them, begged the public for cash when the system collapsed and still demanded eye-watering salaries to prevent them from leaving the country.
The banking industry has its work cut out to rehabilitate its tarnished reputation.
The dark clouds of mis-selling, rate-fixing, money laundering and billions in UK and US commitments and sanctions still hang heavily over the industry.
Crosby's actions are a tiny, but symbolically significant step in the right direction.
Thoughts on customer service, communication and, of course, reputation management.