The mutual sector can profit from our purpose

17 February 2021

In the lead up to BCCM’s 2021 Leaders’ Summit, our guest speakers are sharing their perspectives on ESG as it pertains to CMEs in Australia.

by Steve James, CEO, Teachers Mutual Bank Limited

In 2020, the overall responsible investment market Australia topped AU$1 trillion and the ESG market continues to be a booming trend. As KPMG outlined in their Mutual Industry review, it’s a huge business opportunity tailor made for mutuals: ESG represents a strategic imperative and the success of Mutuals lies in their strong customer bond and affiliation as ‘purpose-driven organisations’.

The best ESG model is one that is central to an organisation’s purpose, strategy and leadership. This is far more than a few recycling or community initiatives.

We know that customers are keen; a 2020 report by the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia (RIAA) showed that nearly 90% of Australians expect the money in their bank accounts to be invested responsibly and ethically.

At Teachers Mutual Bank Limited, we’ve invested years of effort to become a world-leading socially responsible bank. We’ve ensured that social responsibility is built-in, not bolted on; across business practices, our people, and our products. We make it clear we are not like the major banks – profit for purpose is our business model and philosophy. We enforce strict ethical rules for our member’s money. We position ourselves as a purpose-led bank and tell our members joining our Bank means you can do good with your money. All this is at no extra cost to members.

Mutuals are natural leaders when it comes to ethical business practices, yet the ESG train is pulling out of the station and we are not all on board. A strategic intent to convert natural advantage to competitive advantage will put our sector ahead in a world where the future of banking is digital and ethical.

Recommended reading: RIAA’s From Values to Riches consumer report

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