Bringing the voice of the citizen into finance

 

  • Listen to the full audio podcast with Marcos Eguiguren, Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values.

The banking sector all over the world are facing a major issue of becoming focused on short-term profit maximization, that does not pay enough attention to social and environmental risks, and it leaves 2.5 billion people without access to adequate or any financial services. The voice of the citizen is rarely heard either within banks or by those who regulate them.

Greater CPH Post had the pleasure to talk with the Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, Marcos Eguiguren at the New Social Economy Innovation conference recently held at Malaga, Spain. He has also occupied management positions in Triodos Bank España, BBVA and Barclays Bank.

Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV)

The Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), incorporated in 2009 is a network of banking leaders from around the world committed to advancing positive change in the banking sector by providing financial voices to the citizens.

GABV banking networks are operating in countries across Asia, Africa, Australia, Latin America, North America and Europe. Collectively, they serve more than 24 million customers and hold up to $110 billion USD of combined assets under management. The Global Alliance is supported by more than 42,000 co-workers.

Mobilizing capital effectively for people and planet

“Today’s financial system is in many ways too large, too complex, and too removed from the real economy” reported by United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) back in 2015 in a working inquiry paper to advance policy options to improve the financial system’s effectiveness in mobilizing capital towards a green and inclusive economy—in other words, sustainable development.

Marcos Eguiguren shared his experience of “radical transparency banking” at NESI forum discussion panels and working groups. He told Greater CPH Post that, “GABV was started with a policy of “thinking people before profit” right from the beginning and now have developed a culture around it. As from our balance sheets at least 90 percent of our financing are from the depositors, that are bringing positive impact to the society. We are basically lending depositors money, not the shareholders. And we do it mostly through radical transparency banking.

How would you describe your customers all over the world? 

Marcos Eguiguren: From a global perspective,we have varied types of lending in terms of demographics and so we have many diverse depositors, person from Mongolia, Bangladesh or India – the answer would be X, but people from Denmark, Spain, Germany the answer will be Y. But if we narrow it to Europe – our depositors have a common feature of special awareness and cautious about the current and upcoming economic challenges in terms of climate, social changes and new businesses ventures creating jobs and better livelihood.

Banks play an important role in the economy. It is the bridge between savers and borrowers. Banks role can play an important part in contributing to or undermining sustainable development.

So we at GABV is using depositors money for lending to the real economy, and secondly most important is that lending it in a triple bottom line framework. (Triple bottom line is an accounting framework with three parts: social, environmental (or ecological) and financial).

How is GABV experience in dealing with the perception of values based banking to the end user?

Marcos Eguiguren: We at global business alliances banks had a positive trends and building a strong brand for value based banking sector. We have always kept our policy of investing in people and planet since the millennium. Leading in excellence in serving the heart of a values based financial system: sustainability, transparency, diversity/fairness and inclusion.

In the last two decades evidences of fraud, market-rigging and other bad-faith activities in the banking sector as well as its failure to provide better financial protection for all in today’s age and time.

How is GABV coping with digital disruption within financial markets? What are the challenges in sustaining values based banking in today’s world of digitization?  

Marcos Eguiguren: 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. Personally, I think digital disruption is good for mankind in the long term. So the challenge is how do we reconcile with our current financial needs and bring positive impact on the environment.

Investing in sustainable projects in the real economy and investing in those ventures that brings positive impact to the people and/or planet. Ventures that purposely oriented towards the development of a sustainable economy. It is a diverse movement drawing in community banks, ethical, green and socially oriented banks and including cooperatives, credit unions, privately owned banks, B Corporations and public companies.

We do not invest in stock markets, not in securities and not in financial markets. 2010-13 especially in Europe came to our banking services seeking alternative banking services focusing on real economic activities with easy lending, secure, transparent systems.

Connect with GABV

The GABV takes a leading role in the debate about how to build a sustainable financial future by managing joint projects among members, experts and partners to help deliver it and by advocating for change.

Connect with GABV branches across Scandinavia:

Norway: Cultura Bank, Denmark: Merkur Cooperative Bank, Sweden: Eko Banken

Global Banks and Partners: See the interactive map

Website GABV: http://www.gabv.org/

See more coverage by Greater CPH POST about the NESI Forum