BANKING ON VALUES

A movement of leading purpose-driven banks

Finance plays a pivotal role in shaping our society. Every loan and investment impacts our communities, environment, and economic future, for better or worse. Many people depend on access to finance to live up to their full potential and enjoy a decent and dignified life.

Banking and finance, therefore, come with great responsibility. Banks are not simply neutral brokers of money. They are often creators of money. By deciding how to allocate money, banks are important agents of change.

With that in mind, there’s a growing number of pioneers and banking leaders from around the world with a values-driven approach to banking. They have joined forces with a shared mission to put finance at the service of people and the planet.

We call them values-based banks, and they form the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV).

The guiding principles

Every movement needs its guiding principles. The six Principles of Values-Based Banking are the foundation of our movement and distinguish how values-based banks are different.

Read here our full Principles and learn how they guide our work

Principle 1: Social and environmental impact and sustainability are at the heart of the business model.

Products and services are designed and developed to meet the needs of people and to safeguard the environment. While generating reasonable profit is recognised as an essential requirement of values-based banking, it is not the main objective. An intentional approach to the triple bottom line – people, planet, and prosperity – means values-based banks do not just avoid doing harm, they actively use finance to do good.

Principle 2: Grounded in communities, serving the real economy and enabling new business models to meet the needs of both.

Values-based banks are grounded in the communities and sectors they serve. They focus on the actual needs of people and businesses in the real economy rather than engaging in the financial economy. In doing so they deliver social, environmental, and financial returns.

Principle 3: Long-term relationships with clients and a direct understanding of their economic activities and the risks involved.

Values-based banks establish long-term and deep relationships with their clients. As a result they have a better understanding of their client’s economic activities and the risk associated with them. They meet them at eye-level and support them in becoming more values-based themselves.

Principle 4: Long-term, self-sustaining, and resilient to outside disruptions.

Values-based banks adopt a long-term perspective to make sure they can maintain their operations and be resilient in the face of external disruptions. At the same time, they recognise that no bank, or its clients, is entirely immune to such disruptions.

Principle 5: Transparent and inclusive governance.

Values-based banks maintain a high degree of transparency in governance and reporting. They actively engage with the broader stakeholder community, taking their views into account in strategic decision making. A diverse stakeholder group is reflected in the composition of a values-based bank’s board and its co-workers.

Communication is transparent, clear and easy to understand, making the bank accessible for all.

Principle 6: Embedded in the culture of the bank.

These principles and values are reflected in the leadership practices, corporate culture and the organisation of the bank. Human resources policies and practices support critical reflection and discussion of values and how they translate into everyday decision making. Training and education is not limited to building financial skills, but also fosters an understanding of the bank’s mission, values and business model in the broader social and environmental context of the bank. Leadership enables strong staff participation.

70
members
+40
countries

The impact of the movement

The Global Alliance for Banking on Values is a growing network of more than 60 financial institutions operating in 40 countries across the globe. All of whom are committed to using money to deliver positive social and environmental impact.

16
supporting
partners
80k
employees
+$200B
annual
revenue assets
+60M
customers

Values in practice

Values-based banks have a clear set of values to inform and guide decision making, as well as engagement with clients and communities. The most important feature is that these values are intentional and integrated into the business model, and not simply an add-on.

Each case study below shows how these values are
put into practice by member banks
Hover over the circles
Intentional

Values-based banks are
intentional in creating social
and environmental impact.
It's why they exist and this
intentionality guides
everything they do.

Coherent

Values-based banks take a
holistic and coherent
approach to the design of their
business model, being aware
about potential conflicts and
challenges.

Contextual

The values are reflected,
intentional and appropriate to
bring positive social and
environmental impact in a
specific context.

Transparent

Values-based banks are
accountable at all levels of the
business model. Transparency
enables outsiders to easily
understand how a bank is
behaving.

Systemic

Values-based banks work with
others to change the banking
system itself, so it is better
able to serve people and
protect the environment.

Authentic

By being intentional in what
they do, and integrating
values in their business,
values-based banks are
genuinely authentic.

Inclusive

Values-based banks aim to
build an inclusive financial
system that responds to the
needs of everyone, and not
just a few.

Ambitious

Values-based banks aspire to
the highest standards and
want to be recognised as
thought leaders at the
forefront of progressive
banking.

Values-based banks are intentional in creating social and environmental impact. It’s why they exist and guides everything they do.
Values-based banks take an integrated and coherent approach, making them aware about potential conflicts and challenges. 
Besides diversity, values are reflected, intentional and appropriate to bring positive social and environmental impact in a specific context.
Values-based banks are accountable at all levels of the business model. Transparency allows outsiders to judge how a bank is behaving.
Values-based banks work with others to change the banking system itself, so it is better able to serve people and protect the environment.
By being intentional in what they do, and integrating values in their business, values-based banks are genuinely authentic.
Values-based banks aim to build an inclusive financial system that responds to the needs of everyone, and not just a few.
Values-based banks want to be recognised as thought leaders at the forefront of progressive banking.
INTENTIONAL
Centenary Bank

Dive deeper into the movement

Read our in-depth articles and papers

Interested in learning more about GABV's members or becoming one yourself?

Find out more
about the Global Alliance for Banking on Values