Responsible Retail Banking in the 2020s

What does it mean to be a responsible bank? This deceptively simple question is at the heart of this report Responsible Retail Banking in the 2020s: Trends, issues and opportunities, which was researched and written by Volans, as part of the Responsible Banking initiative convened by Business in the Community (BITC) and supported by Santander UK.

The purpose of the initiative and this report is to bring together key stakeholders in the UK retail banking industry. This is to explore how the sector can rise to the challenge of supporting a socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable model of economic prosperity. This is more important than ever in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ideas presented in this report will influence future conversations as this network continues to grow and will be used to stimulate new thinking and action on how the sector can adapt and respond to shifting social, environmental and economic realities.

The Macro Context

If the opening months of the 2020s are anything to go by, we are in for a bumpy ride this decade. Disruption is no longer just a buzzword: it is now a daily reality. From COVID-19 to Brexit, floods to technological shifts – the business environment is being continually reshaped by social, political, environmental and technological forces beyond the control of any individual business or industry. Retail banks have a critical role to play in helping their business and individual customers first to survive this crisis and, second, to recover from it.

Of course, in order to play this role, banks themselves need to be resilient, financially and operationally. COVID-19 has been a test of that resilience and banks have had to adapt fast, for example shifting to primarily web-based customer services, video consultations and remote working for the majority of staff.

There is an opportunity, after the pandemic, to build back better, by aligning the economic recovery with the UN Global Goals, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Paris Agreement. Building a more inclusive, resilient and lower carbon UK economy in the wake of COVID-19 is both possible and necessary. Financing from retail banks (and others) will be critical to enabling and shaping this recovery.

Join us to make lasting change

The time is now for businesses to seize the opportunity and #BuildBackResponsibly. We set out new priorities for how business can deliver the change that is needed for society and the planet. Work with us and make a difference.

Join us to make lasting change and build back responsibly.


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