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Banks becoming more sustainable at board level

A report shows that while 94 per cent of Australian banks have a sustainability representative on the board, less than two-thirds are actively taking steps to create sustainable outcomes.

A report commissioned by Mobiquity and conducted by Censuswide found that 61 per cent of Aussie banks are taking steps to foster sustainable outcomes and behaviours, despite 94 per cent having a sustainability representative on their board.

The US, by comparison, has 97 per cent of banks with a sustainable representative on their board and 85 per cent taking steps to foster sustainable outcomes.

The report, A Global Benchmark for Sustainable Banking 2021, found that almost half (47 per cent) of Australian banks see cultural shifts in banking behaviours as a concern from a board level.

The top concern was followed by burdensome regulatory compliances (43 per cent) and sustainable banking practices (42 per cent) to round off the trifecta of top concerns for bank boards.

Gustavo Quiroga, general manager for Mobiquity in APAC said the findings prompt the urgency to address the growing needs of emerging markets by innovating at the pace of the customer.

“The pace of digital transformation has brought with it mounting customer expectations, which is in turn applying pressure on banks to innovate in line with the cultural shifts in banking behaviours. The findings of this report highlight the need for banks to continuously audit whether they are in fact innovating at the speed of the customer and meeting social governance principles,” said Mr Quiroga.

Embracing emerging technologies

Mobiquity’s benchmark report also revealed the top strategic imperatives of Australian banks, as part of their bank sustainability agenda. Almost one in three (30 per cent) of respondents agreed that embracing emerging technologies to make digital services available remotely is a key priority.

“Living in a vast geographical landscape such as Australia, the need for remote digital services to enable financial inclusion is just the bare minimum expected by today’s customers. Banks now need to look beyond this basic criteria and address looming social challenges that evolve from inclusion, such as the need to support financial health,” said Mr Quiroga.

“With customers ready and able to adopt digital initiatives, the benefits of enlisting digital sustainable banking practices are there for the taking. Our report shows that banks are already experiencing an increase in profitability and operational efficiency, as well as a reduction in costs through the adoption of digital products.”

Mobiquity, part of Hexaware, works with Standard Bank, Citibank, Bank of Sydney and ME Bank.

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