The GABV annual meeting was kick-started by an unprecedented public event. The event was generously opened by NMB Bank, represented by its CEO Upendra Poudal. Mr Poudal shared with the public how the banks of the Alliance have shown remarkable resiliency in the face of financial adversity. He also highlighted how banks that follow values-based principles do not face problems during economic downturns. “It helps them expand their balance sheets even during adverse situations,” he added. He also expressed his gratitude to the members of the Alliance for meeting in Kathmandu to discuss the role that GABV banks can play in developing a more resilient and fairer financial future.
Peter Blom, chair of the GABV and CEO of Triodos Bank stressed the significance of having Kathmandu as the setting for this annual event. “Banking cannot be left alone to bankers and should be made to connect and communicate with communities,” said GABV chairman and CEO of Triodos Bank in the Netherlands Peter Blom. “We have to change finance to finance change,” he added.
Marcos Eguiguren, executive director of the GABV, addressed participants to convey a message from Ibrahim Thiaw, deputy executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). In his message, Mr. Thiaw stressed the importance of building greener and more resilient economies, as well as the importance of the work of the Alliance and how it contributes to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Paris Agreements (Full speech)
The meeting was attended by Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who delivered a powerful message in which he commended the banks of the Global Alliance for their work. He also called for action on building a banking environment that puts people before profit to generate employment and help communities to become self-reliant.
“Sustainable banking helps the economy to add value and generate employment opportunities, which are essential for overall development of the country” Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal.
The prime minister also addressed colleagues from the most important Nepali financial institutions. He called on the banking leaders and other stakeholders in Nepal to focus on investing in the productive sector of the economy while adhering to the banking principles of the Alliance members. He added that the government urges all other sectors to adopt a values system at the core of their business, not only in banking sector. (Full speech)
The opening ceremony was also attended by the governor of the Central Bank (Nepal Rastra Bank) Dr Chiranjibi Nepal, who highlighted the importance of the work that members of the Alliance and the GABV itself have undertaken in recent years (Full speech). He also pointed out to members of the public some of the provisions that Nepal Rastra Bank has put forward to ensure that the Nepali financial system works for the well-being of the population, especially vulnerable people and those living in rural areas. Sending “a clear message to banks and financial institutions of the country to focus more on the well-being of the people […] not just on profit”. These policies include the expansion of banking and financial services in rural areas; promotion of mobile banking and branchless banking; continuation of government led programs such as Rural Self Reliance Fund (RSRF), Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF), Youth and Small Entrepreneur Self-employment Fund, and the implementation of subsidized agricultural lending program.
To close the opening ceremony, Mr Pawan Kumar Golyan, Chairman of NBM Bank, addressed the public to highlight the importance of this, an unprecedented and one-of-a-kind, event in the Nepali context. He also stressed the urgency of transforming the banking sector around the world. He highlighted the actions that NMB Bank has prioritize to live up to its compromises with the GABV and a better future for the banking sector in Nepal.