Category Archives: ESG / Financial Inclusion / Sustainable Finance

How FinTech Companies Can Help Students?

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Guest Post | July 14, 2020

financial technology - How FinTech Companies Can Help Students?Technology is never staying in one place and is regularly developing. You might think that the technologies that you use now cannot be improved and that there is nothing that can be better than this, but then in a couple of days, you read a new article about some exceptional discovery, and you realize that this is not it.

Technology is an integral part of your whole life. Just think for a moment. You buy your morning mocha only with a wave of your watch, send money to a person that is hundreds of miles away from you, and complete many other money transactions thanks to the improvements in the financial technology field.

See:  Can Fintech Make the World More Inclusive?

Over the last couple of years, fintech companies have been evolving extremely fast, and recently they have begun to manage student loan debt. They offer students everything that they possibly can – an opportunity to become fluent in financial literacy, loan refinancing, educate the students in the ways they can pay off their loans.

However, such companies are not suitable for every student. But the good thing is that they provide some outstanding perspectives regarding student debt.

The Next Step to Reach Financial Literacy

students and financial literacy - How FinTech Companies Can Help Students?

According to Investopedia, the term “financial literacy” stand for the ability to use different financial skills to become more self-sufficient and to reach financial stability. To be more precise, it includes the knowledge and correct usage of essential terms like diversification and inflation.

Any loan given to any person has stated rates and conditions. The same applies to student loans. And when a student has no knowledge of the key financial concepts and doesn’t understand what is going on in the loan agreement, he or she might easily get into trouble.

Fintech companies provide their clients with a chance to get more fluent in financial literacy by offering budgeting tips and various savings guides.

A Simpler Understanding of Money Management

Of course, having a basic understanding of the main financial concepts is amazing, but that is not enough. A successful student must also have at least some knowledge and understanding of his own financial situation.

How often do you ask yourself, “Who can write my paper instead of me?”. If you do this very often, and then go and find an essay writer to pay money for a paper, you are definitely not managing your budget correctly. Maybe you don’t actually realize why you spend so much money in a short period of time, but after a fintech company helps you to analyze your fin

ancial situation, you will be able to understand where all of your money goes.

It is very easy to drain a budget when you are spending on a lot of things that you do not actually need. But having a strict and set budget plan can help you a lot. If a student is familiar with his own income and expenses, it makes it possible for that student to set a limit and maybe even save some money for the upcoming planned expenses.

Post-Secondary Education

Even when a student gets help with managing his expenses and successfully graduating, it doesn’t mean that he will have enough money to get a post-secondary education. In most cases, the student simply is not able to pay for it without proper financial help.

See:  FFCON20 fintech cage match: Financial planning vs literacy

The analysis of the growth in post-secondary tuition claims that it keeps rising every year, making it even harder for the students to pay for it. And the even sadder fact is that the wage isn’t increasing at such a crazy rate as the tuition and fees are.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to earning a higher education degree, taking a loan is an almost inevitable thing to do. If the student loan system remains the same as it is now, students will need to keep looking for various possibilities for taking a loan to pursue their dream career.

Fintech companies provide a huge number of services and options, but their main goal is to provide any students with a chance to stay in control of one’s finances.  Students don’t need to pay anything to get that possibility.

All you need to do is download one of the fintech apps and get registered. You can easily access the numerous features of your mobile phone. According to HuffPost, this is just the beginning. As time passes by, more and more fintech companies will begin to offer student loans. It is up to you to risk it or not, but loans from fintech companies is a great way to do it.

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - How FinTech Companies Can Help Students? The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Check out the latest books by a few of our featured FFCON speakers!

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NCFA | Team FFCON20 | July 6, 2020

FFCON speaker author books - Check out the latest books by a few of our featured FFCON speakers!We have great thought leaders and authors that will be speaking at FFCON20 (also some prizes!) Check these out and stay at the forefront of digital change in financial services:

doing digital cover - Check out the latest books by a few of our featured FFCON speakers!

Banking in today’s day and age has evolved rapidly, especially in the recent decade. With the rise in digital and open banking, new opportunities are sprouting up and disrupting the traditional ways of banking. Prominent banks such as JPMorgan Chase (USA) and ING (Europe) are fully aware of this and have adopted radical new approaches to best adapt and survive the changing environment. Voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand, Chris Skinner provides detailed interviews with 5 banks in Doing Digital and shares his commentary on the secrets to thrive in the new era of finance and technology. Get DOING DIGITAL book now

See Chris Skinner speak at FFCON20 Week 3:  July 23 Sustainable Finance:  Purpose Driven Finance

Tech revolution in financial services cover - Check out the latest books by a few of our featured FFCON speakers!

The financial services industry has been evolving at unprecedented speeds with increasing competition from both within and outside the industry, notably from entrepreneurial FinTech start-ups and non-financial technology-based companies. Some of these entrants are looking to replace the incumbents with the technological disruption while others look to partner with them. In The Technological Revolution in Financial Services, Michael King and Richard Nesbitt ultimately believe that the increased competition from the technological revolution will benefit customers and lead to a more open and inclusive financial system. Get Technological Revolution in Financial Services book now

See Michael King speak at FFCON20 Week 1:  July 9 Scaling Fintech Funding, Innovation and Competition:  Intangibles Economy and Scaling Fintech in Canada

Friction Roger Dooley resize - Check out the latest books by a few of our featured FFCON speakers!

According to data, the US economy loses $3 trillion dollars in productivity due to excess bureaucracy, and $4.6 trillion of merchandise is left in abandoned e-commerce shopping carts. Why is the cause of these appalling statistics? Roger Dooley believes it is attributed to the growing presence of ‘friction’, which he defines as the unnecessary expenditure of time, effort, or money in performing a task. In FRICTION - The Untapped Force That Can Be Your Most Powerful Advantage, Dooley combines scientific research with real life examples to illustrate how to spot out areas of friction in an organization and explains the strategies to help eliminate them, creating a more swift and efficient experience for both the business and the customer. Get FRICTION book now

See Roger Dooley speak at FFCON20 Week 2:  July 16 Open Banking and Future of Paytech:  Reducing Friction in Banking and Financial Transactions

financial services revolution cover - Check out the latest books by a few of our featured FFCON speakers!

Blockchain is a growing field that is transforming the financial and technological industries in profound ways. In Financial Services Revolution: How Blockchain is Transforming Money, Markets, and Banking, Co-founder of The Blockchain Research Institute Alex Tapscott shares insights from some of the world’s top thinkers in blockchain in how to survey the coming digital storm. Discussions in the book revolve around global payment networks, tokenization, and innovative financing methods. Get FINANCIAL SERVICES REVOLUTION book now

See Alex Tapscott speak at FFCON20 Week 2:  July 16 Open Banking and Future of Paytech:  Financial Services Revolution


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Check out the latest books by a few of our featured FFCON speakers! The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Digital Financial Inclusion in the Times of COVID-19

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IMF Blog | By Ulric Eriksson von Allmen, Purva Khera, Sumiko Ogawa, and Ratna Sahay | July 1, 2020

financial inclusion and fintech - How FinTech Companies Can Help Students?The COVID-19 pandemic could be a game changer for digital financial services. Low-income households and small firms can benefit greatly from advances in mobile money, fintech services, and online banking. Financial inclusion as a result of digital financial services can also boost economic growth. While the pandemic is set to increase use of these services, it has also posed challenges for the growth of the industry’s smaller players and highlighted unequal access to digital infrastructure. Several actions will need to be taken to ensure maximum inclusion going forward.

Low-income households and small firms can benefit greatly from advances in mobile money, fintech services and online banking.

The shift towards digital financial services was already helping societies advance financial inclusion before the pandemic started, benefiting many low-income households and small firms with typically little access to traditional financial institutions. Lockdowns and social distancing are accelerating the use of digital financial services, just as the SARS epidemic in 2003 hastened China’s launching of digital payments and e-commerce.

See:  Cambridge launches the Global Alternative Finance Industry Benchmark & Covid-19 Rapid Assessment Survey in Partnership with World Bank Group and World Economic Forum

Many countries (for example, Liberia, Ghana, Kenya, Kuwait, Myanmar, Paraguay and Portugal) are supporting this shift with measures such as lowering fees and increasing limits on mobile money transactions.

Africa and Asia lead the way

In a new study, we introduce an index of digital financial inclusion that measures the progress in 52 emerging market and developing economies. We found that digitalization increased financial inclusion between 2014 and 2017, even where financial inclusion through traditional banking services was declining. This is likely to have progressed more since then.

Africa and Asia lead digital financial inclusion, but with significant variation across countries. In Africa, Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda are front runners. In comparison, the Middle East and Latin America tend to use digital financial services more moderately. In some countries, such as Chile and Panama, this likely reflects a relatively higher level of bank penetration.

See:  Black tech founders say venture capital needs to move past ‘diversity theater’

In most countries digital payments services are evolving into digital lending, as companies accumulate users’ data and develop new ways to use it for credit worthiness analysis. Marketplace lending, which uses digital platforms to directly connect lenders to borrowers doubled in value from 2015 to 2017. While so far concentrated in China, the United Kingdom, and the United States, it appears to be growing in other parts of the world, such as in Kenya and India.

Benefits beyond financial inclusion

Financial inclusion benefits economies and societies as a whole. Previous studies have found that extending traditional financial services to low-income households and small firms goes hand-in-hand with increasing economic growth and reducing income inequality. Our analysis finds that digital financial inclusion is also associated with higher GDP growth.

During the COVID-19 lockdowns, digital financial services are enabling governments to provide quick and secure financial support to “hard-to-reach” people and businesses, as demonstrated in Namibia, Peru, Zambia, and Uganda. This will help mitigate the economic fallout and potentially strengthen the recovery.

Continue to the full article --> here

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - How FinTech Companies Can Help Students? The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Rebank Podcast: How to Build a Profitable Digital Bank with Tinkoff

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Rebank Podcast - Banking the Future| June 19, 2020

Tinkoff building a digital bank - How FinTech Companies Can Help Students?

Oliver Hughes is the CEO of Tinkoff Group, one of the world’s most successful digital banking groups with over ten million customers.

Tinkoff is publicly listed, which brings clarity to its operating model in a time when many noteworthy consumer digital banks are pursuing customer acquisition at the expense of profitability.

Oliver has led Tinkoff through three financial crises, so brings experience and perspective to the current COVID crisis.

Listen to this podcast --> here

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - How FinTech Companies Can Help Students? The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Cambridge launches the Global Alternative Finance Industry Benchmark & Covid-19 Rapid Assessment Survey in Partnership with World Bank Group and World Economic Forum

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Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance | Tania Zielgar | Jun 17, 2020

Global Benchmarking and Covid 19 Survey Banner - How FinTech Companies Can Help Students?NCFA Intro:  NCFA is please to provide continued support as a National industry partner of the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance research initiatives in Canada.  It's absolutely essential that data and research be collected and anlayzed to help identify trends, inform policy and understand the state of industry during these times of global risk and innovative change.  We strongly advise all fintech firms, research partners and anyone who is able to help this important survey collection initiative by completing the survey and sharing it widely among your network.

Overview of the Global Alternative Finance Industry Benchmark & Covid-19 Rapid Assessment Survey

For the past several years, the CCAF has produced comprehensive industry-focused research on the evolution of alternative finance; documenting and analysing the development of Crowdfunding, P2P/Marketplace Lending and other FinTech markets from across 190 countries.

This year’s benchmarking survey will also include the recently launched The Global Covid-19 Fintech Market Rapid Assessment Study, in partnership with the World Bank Group and the World Economic Forum. The empirical data collected will be used to understand Covid-19’s impact on the FinTech markets, how the global FinTech industry has responded and some of the immediate regulatory and policy implications. This research program has resulted in 20 reports, which are disseminated freely to inform policy and raise public awareness of alternative finance. This research has provided unique detail and insight into the changing FinTech landscape, creating a valuable evidence-base for policymakers, regulators, and industry stakeholders to utilize when evaluating the FinTech ecosystem within their local context or from a globally comparative perspective.

The Fintech landscape is changing rapidly as a result of Covid-19. This report, and the historical data on this industry more broadly, provide signposts as to the general development trajectories of firms when faced with this pandemic, and where strengths and weakness may lie.

The survey will hence include two key components:
1.    Time-series data required to continue the CCAF long-standing tradition of benchmarking and scoping the industry (referring to your 2019 activities), and
2.    Covid-19 focused time-sensitive data on a) market performance, b) regulatory needs & policy asks, and c) operational changes & implications.

The long-term impact of Covid-19 is yet to be known. By coupling longitudinal data with this research initiative, we can begin to test the resiliency of this market and provide clear, evidence-based assessments on how the sector will continue to develop.

As with all our reports, the Global Covid-19 Fintech Market Rapid Assessment (anticipated publication Q3) and the Annual Global Alternative Finance Industry Report (Q4) will be made available to the public and actively disseminated to provide key insights to regulators, policymakers and key industry stakeholders.  

Cambridge global benchmarking survey taxonomy - How FinTech Companies Can Help Students?

Thanks in advance for your contribution to the study:  Take the Survey Now

https://jbs.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_7PRyNSA3B5IKIrX

The Covid-19 pandemic presents both serious challenges and potential opportunities for the global FinTech industry to grow and scale, with the long-term effects yet unknown. By coupling the CCAF’s longitudinal data with this exciting research initiative, we can begin to test the resiliency of this market and provide clear, evidence-based assessments on how the sector will continue to develop.

This Study will provide a global assessment of the FinTech ecosystem’s responses to the Covid-19 pandemic, with particular attention to the industry’s response to challenges and their regulatory and policy concerns.  This survey will result in a jointly published report between the CCAF, World Bank and World Economic Forum, and will be made available online.  You can find further information on the Study in the accompanying press-release.

The survey will close on July 31st. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact the CCAF research team directly:  Tania Ziegler (t.ziegler@jbs.cam.ac.uk).

Take the survey now --> here

 

Other links you may like:

Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance Publishes First Global Report on Alternative Finance: Over $300 Billion in Volume in 2018

Cambridge: Global Regulator Survey Results – Regulation of Alternative Finance is Key to Make Sector Safe to Scale for the Masses

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - How FinTech Companies Can Help Students? The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Here are the UK’s 5 leading open banking providers

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AltFi | Aisling Finn  | Jun 10, 2020

UK digital bank Tink founders - How FinTech Companies Can Help Students?Open banking has long been pedalled as the future of fintech, but which companies are the leading providers of the service in the UK?

Open banking has become one of the most popular adaptations for both fintechs and big finance alike.

Open banking was first introduced as a concept when the EU decided the banking industry needed greater competition and wanted to expand the opportunities offered to fintechs.

Since the introduction of the EU's Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) in January 2018, open banking has revolutionised the way millions of people manage their finances and use their data.

Following the introduction of PSD2, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) ordered the biggest banks in the UK to share their APIs with other banks and third-party providers which helped the fintechs on this list to thrive.

The ability to access all your accounts and integrate non-banking financial services too has proved increasingly popular over the last few years, with the likes of fintech giants Monzo, Revolut and Starling all offering some form of the technology.

Open banking’s main goal is to increase the transparency of the banking industry, so without further ado, and full transparency, here are the UK’s leading open banking providers.

See:  Plaid celebrates 12 months in Europe with an eye towards Open Finance

Bud  

Who started it?

Bud was founded in 2015 by Ed Maslaveckas and George Dunning, initially beginning its life as a financial wellbeing platform.

The platform recently appointed hedgefund heavyweight, Lord Stanley Fink, the former CEO of the hedge fund firm the Man Group, as the Chair of its board of directors.

How is it funded?

Bud counts Goldman Sachs, 9 Yards Capital, HSBC and Investec as investors and also won a slice of the UK government’s £2m rental recognition prize back in 2018.

In February 2019, the fintech bagged $20m from HSBC and Goldman Sachs to help it double in size and expand into new markets.

Who are the customers?

One of Bud’s primary customers is HSBC, who also happens to have invested a significant amount in the fintech.

In December 2019, Bud extended its partnership with HSBC and signed a three-year global deal with the bank to give access to Bud’s open banking, API and data.

Last October, Bud shifted away from larger firms to focus more on transactional data for smaller firms and introduced a developer portal for SMEs to access Bud’s sandbox environment.

See:  Open banking review faces ‘worrying’ delay as pandemic drives Canadians to fintech

Plaid

Who started it?

Plaid was founded in 2012 by Zach Perret, who recently spoke at the AltFi Digital Summit 2020, and William Hockey, who has since left his role as chief technology officer and now sits on Plaid’s board of directors.

The San Francisco-based startup recently celebrated its first anniversary of being in Europe following its surprise launch of financial management app Emma.

How is it funded?

In January 2020, it was revealed that Visa would shell out $5.3bn for the Silicon Valley startup, although the deal is yet to be completed.

Prior to the sale, Plaid had previously received several strategic investments from Visa and Mastercard.

Who are the customers?

Plaid connects to over 15,000 financial institutions across the US, Canada and Europe and 80 per cent of the biggest fintechs rely upon Plaid’s API infrastructure to operate.

The open banking powerhouse has helped the likes of financial management app Emma, Venmo, trading platform Robinhood, Monzo and TransferWise.

See:  Is this the new face of Generation Z banking?

Tink

Who started it?

Tink was founded in Stockholm, Sweden in 2012 by Daniel Kjellén and Fredrik Hedberg and is now offered in 17 markets across Europe and Latin America.

How is it funded?

In January 2020, it was revealed that Tink had just closed its largest funding round to date, totalling €90m.

The Swedish fintech has raised over €200m to date and has secured several strategic investments from PayPal, including most recently when PayPal injected an undisclosed amount to help the fintech conquer Europe.

Who are the customers?

Tink recently revealed a strategic investment from payment giant PayPal that would see it’s technology available to some customers across all countries in the European Economic Area (EEA)

Tink integrates with more than 2,500 financial institutions, reaches over 250m customers and processes more than 10bn transactions a year.

See:  Explore Canadian Fintechs in Canada on FintechCanada.io

Yapily

Who started it?

Yapily was founded by former Goldman Sachs investment banker, Stefano Vaccino in 2017.

Vaccino was fascinated by the social impact of open banking and the ability it holds to bring financial wellbeing and knowledge to the masses.

How is it funded?

To date, Yapily has raised $18.4m, including a $13m Series A round primarily led by investment firm Lakestar, which has invested in the likes of Spotify, Skype and Revolut.

The firm also completed a $5.4m seed round in May 2019 which was led by HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, which has invested in fellow fintechs SumUp and Penta, and LocalGlobe, an investor in the likes of Tide, Cleo, Robinhood and Transferwise.

Who are the customers?

Yapily counts Intuit QuickBooks and GoCardless as customers, as well as several other fintechs and firms and has recently been selected as an open banking provider for IBM.

The fintech currently has 80 per cent account coverage across Europe and 99 per cent coverage here in the UK, with the hopes to expand even further across Europe in the coming months.

Continue to the full article --> here

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - How FinTech Companies Can Help Students? The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Banking Must Take A Stand On Tough Social Issues

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The Financial Brand | Jim Marous | Jun 8, 2020

mike jarvis basketball coach - How FinTech Companies Can Help Students?

The COVID-19 crisis, combined with the recent incidents involving racial injustice, result in a dual pandemic for minority neighborhoods across the country. Financial institutions must increase their resolve to support racial and gender equality, diversity and inclusion within their organizations and in their communities.

While many financial firms have taken a rather passive position in the past around crises, the COVID-19 pandemic forced banks and credit unions to think more broadly about how they could positively impact the community and their employees. From allocating funds for small businesses, to changing loan terms for consumers, to helping employees cope in a remote working environment, many financial institutions moved to the forefront to reassess their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.

See:  Women In Fintech Will Play A Crucial Part In The Covid-19 Recovery Plan

Beyond banking-related initiatives, some firms also made donations to health facilities and local governments, while others purchased products such as gowns, masks, sanitizers and ventilators to fight the virus. While there were exceptions, the banking community has done well responding to COVID-19.

Then a second crisis hit.

With the financial community beginning to look at “back to work” scenarios in a post-COVID-19 world, a “social pandemic” took over the public consciousness prompted by the death of George Floyd. Banks and credit unions across the U.S. and beyond were confronted with how to respond to the racial injustice faced by the Black community and whether to align with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Without any rule book or standards to follow, financial institutions were called on again to respond in a way that would support the community outside traditional profit-making norms. For an industry wary of conflict, and with a rather spotty record regarding employee and management diversity, a well-crafted press release or a modest donation was not enough.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Takes Center Stage

There is no debate that banks and credit unions have an important role in the community. Beyond being a place to safely store funds or to get access to credit, financial institutions have a corporate social responsibility to voluntarily contribute to a better society as a whole. This responsibility goes beyond regulated ethics to include moral obligations.

In the past, most organizations positioned their corporate social responsibility in the form of donations to organizations considered beneficial to the communities served. More recently, CSR has also taken the form of internal policies that impact employees and the workplace.

See:  Tech has an ageism problem: 3 things to do if you’re over 40 and want to stay relevant

It is during times of crisis that financial institutions are required to not only join the discussion, but be part of the solution. The importance of financial institutions during these times cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, when it comes to sensitive social issues, many banks and credit unions have often relied on rhetoric or fancy press releases instead of concrete commitment or investment.

In an exclusive interview for the Banking Transformed podcast, Mike Jarvis, legendary college basketball coach stated,

“Institutions should set the tone as it relates to opportunities for minorities and people of color and especially women. In the black community, and in most lower socioeconomic communities, the women are the key because they hold the families together.”

Banking Can’t Remain Silent on Social Issues

Over the past couple weeks, people across the globe have taken to the streets once again to protest against racial injustice after the murder of George Floyd. This has occurred against the backdrop of a global health pandemic that is impacting minority neighborhoods more than other areas.

The question becomes, can the banking industry continue to avoid taking a public stance on sensitive issues like Black Lives Matter despite the potential of polarizing key stakeholders? More importantly, is it time for financial institutions to invest in initiatives that can bring about change?

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Now may be the best time to rethink previous CSR strategies. For one thing, consumer values are changing. According to Resonate, two major consumer values are shifting … rapidly:

  • Tolerance (acceptance of those who are different): Increase of 12.7%  in the U.S. adult population in the past year.
  • Equality (the belief that everyone should be treated equally): Increase of 10.1% in the past year.

As of June 2, 52.3% of the U.S. population says that tolerance is an important value in their lives and 53.7% believe that equality is an important value. While females were more likely to favor both equality and tolerance by a slight margin, there was virtually no difference across age categories.

In other words, consumers want change and they prefer organizations that support equality, diversity and inclusion. But remember, people are sensitive to tone-deaf or empty statements, and there’s no shortage of blunt criticisms online.

Bank of America was early to commit significant funds for communities most impacted by COVID-19 and racial inequality. They announced a commitment of $1 billion over the next four years to assist in the areas of healthcare, job training, small business growth and housing.

“Organizations need to build relationships with the people within the community and not wait for a crisis to occur. Ask, ‘What can we do?’, ‘Where can we invest?’, ‘How can leverage our people?’ before crazy things happen,” stated Mike Jarvis.

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