Volume 31, Issue 4
  • ISSN 1018-2101
  • E-ISSN: 2406-4238



In the ten years from 2008 onwards the banking sector was constantly in the spotlight. Blame for the financial crisis and concern regarding controversial government bailouts were followed by public outrage about inflated bonuses, money laundering and false reporting. Over this period, banks deployed a range of legitimation strategies to salvage their reputation. This paper proposes a modified typology of legitimation strategies based on previous research (van Leeuwen and Wodak 1999Vaara, Tienari and Laurila 2006), and examines how these are used by in the “letter to shareholders” published by the chairs of the five main UK-based banks over the ten years following the crisis. The strategies are analysed in terms of their object, target and interdiscursive features, and the particular persuasive roles of narrative and emotion are underlined.


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