by Jasmin Panjeta
The Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV) is a network of banking leaders from around the world committed to advancing positive change in the banking sector. Our collective goal is to change the banking system so that it is more transparent, supports economic, social and environmental sustainability, and is composed of a diverse range of banking institutions serving the real economy.
Founded in 2009, we are a growing network, with banks, banking cooperatives and credit unions, microfinance institutions and community development banks joining us from many parts of the world. Our members have one thing in common: a shared mission to use finance to deliver sustainable economic, social and environmental development, with a focus on helping individuals fulfil their potential and build stronger communities.
Our members are deeply connected to the people and the communities they serve and are accountable for the risks they both take and create for the people who use their products and services. Our focus on inclusion puts basic banking products in service of a greater number of people, rather than highly sophisticated products in the hands of a few. We are also highly aware of the externalities produced by our banking activities by the projects and clients we finance.
The Global Alliance comprises 40 financial institutions and seven strategic partners operating in countries across Asia, Africa, Australia, Latin America, North America and Europe. Collectively we serve more than 24 million customers, hold up to $110 billion USD of combined assets under management, and we are supported by more than 42,000 co-workers.
Planet-Bpm.com wants to know more from Jasmin from Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV):
Are Banks bad?
Interesting question, I would have to say that banks as banks are not bad. Even if they would not exist, we would have to create them. Banking industry varies based on the priorities. Banks can put more focus on making profit or choosing some other business models where for example a bank would focus on supporting the development of local communities and people with no effect to environment.
Are there Banks that are not that bad?
The same with the question before, the banks are not good or bad – the question is about their focus and priorities. Some banks choose to adopt a different business model where they operate under the Six Principles of Sustainable Banking. For these banks profit is a consequence and not an overarching goal in itself. These banks and programmes are positively focused on society and the environment, helping to create more balanced communities and are not creating systemic risks since they are more diverse and, by focusing on the real economy, their risk is more acceptable
What can Europe do in this context?
European member banks are very active in different projects supporting local communities, not just in Europe but abroad as well. All our members are doing different initiatives to advocate for a better position of ethical banking. We were very happy when one of our European members Banca Etica from Italy managed to push Italian Parliament to pass a law to recognize and promote ethical finance. This is a big step for banking on values and we hope many more countries will do the same.
How do you see the banking sector in Spain? Is it more ethical than before? –
If we look at the six principles of sustainable banking, we are not seeing significant changes in Spain compared to the pre-crisis situation. Most banks would not fit into the principles before the crisis and they do not fit in it now, although this is something that requires a more in-depth research based on evidence.