Gone are the days where banking involved a simple transaction with the customer, who had little interest in understanding how the bank operated and generated its profits.
Care for the environment and socially responsible principles are now also a priority for many.
Customers expect banks to demonstrate how their services, management of funds and product structures benefit the wider community and the environment over the long term – and rightly so.
Gatehouse Bank recently became one of the founding signatories of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Banking.
Under the principles, we have committed to strategically aligning our business with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which provide a blueprint for a better and more sustainable future for all, and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
Thankfully, Gatehouse Bank has been joined by a number of other banks from across the globe in making this pledge.
In fact, more than 130 banks from 49 countries became founding signatories at the official launch of the principles, which took place ahead of the UN General Assembly in September.
We’ve always prided ourselves on the ‘fairness’ hardwired into our products and services through our Shariah-compliant finance principles.
These principles ensure the bank is ethical by design and prohibit us from doing business with a number of sectors such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling, adult entertainment and military weapons.
The UN principles outline that “only in an inclusive society founded by human dignity, equality and the sustainable use of natural resources can our clients, customers and businesses thrive” and we believe that the scheme provides a framework to further shape the bank’s culture, products and services.
But this is very much the start of the process, we have committed to carrying out an analysis of the bank’s impact on society, which we will be starting shortly.
This will look at how the bank engages with customers, colleagues, the communities in which we operate and the environment.
Following the completion of the report, which the bank will be publishing, we will be setting a minimum of two targets, linked to the UN’s Social Development Goals, focused on areas that the report highlights we could have the greatest positive impact.
While we are happy to play our part in a sustainable future, to have a significant impact other financial services providers need to come on board, which we very much hope they will.