As environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues receive more mainstream attention, banks are continuing to find themselves in the crosshairs. From NGOs and investors to regulators and customers – banks are continuously being pressured to do a better job on ESG.
Climate change, renewable energy, biodiversity, social equality and other sustainability objectives are top concerns for financial firms and stakeholders. To be on the right side of the transition, banks need to adopt strategy models that incorporate social and environmental factors in loan criteria. Only then will they begin banking for impact.
Covid-19 has shaped and continues to reshape the financial services sector. Demonstrating a responsible response to the challenges became just as important as the business itself, in fact it became the business: “doing the right thing” became an imperative as the context aligned the success of financial institutions to those of their stakeholders, throwing into stark relief what it really means to be sustainable.
“For the first time since the pandemic began, there is now hope for a brighter future.” That was the assessment given by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) on December 1 following the news of progress being made with coronavirus vaccines.
Many commodities have watched their prices drop, but iron ore is one exception; its price has surged to levels not seen since 2014. The price of iron ore, the main ingredient of steel, is being propelled upward by the combination of growing shortage and intensifying demand. Devastating circumstances affecting the world’s top producers, Brazil and Australia, along with booming demand in China are mainly to blame for the supply shortfall.
Given the prevailing financial infrastructure that exists today, international transfers continue to remain costly, time-consuming and risky—and even more so when there is a need to exchange currency. Such transactions normally undergo a series of stages that invariably include the involvement of intermediary parties and the foreign-exchange market
Many bankers love blockchain for its potential to maximize efficiency and productivity while slashing costs and security risks. But the crypto-currencies, such as the (in)famous bitcoin, tied to it? Not so much—at least not across the board. While giving the thumbs up to distributed ledger technology for its advantages in areas such as trade finance, industry leaders are maintaining a wary eye on cryptos, due to disadvantages such as volatility.
Rarely has a technology been met with the excitement and trepidation that AI has. Because artificial intelligence not only matches but can surpass human intelligence, it is exciting as a means to improve speed, save cost and maximize accuracy—but menacing for its potential to displace human workers. Banks are embracing AI for its staggering benefits, while also acknowledging that it creates a few wrinkles that need ironing out.
Many banks have given up the fight and are working to get along with those fintech upstarts, but not regarding one area in particular: top-notch tech talent. When it comes to tech staff, the gloves are off, and banks are fighting to both recruit and hold on to the cream of the crop, recognizing how indispensable experienced professionals have become in the digital world.
Since the United Kingdom took the decision to opt out of the European Union (EU) last June, a wave of populist, anti-European sentiment has swept across the continent, putting the very existence of the political bloc under threat.