Social engagement that became a bank
Social issues are driven from a distinctly business perspective and are seen as an important way to increase profitability and attract customers, employees and investors
Swedbank’s history dates back to Sweden in 1820 and is based on the idea of providing people with the opportunity to save money in order to build a more secure and better future for themselves.. Now, nearly 200 years later, our business is still built on the same idea. Social engagement is a critical element in our business model and is well in line with our values and our purpose.
Only when the communities where we work prosper will we succeed in the long term. At the same time banks are essential to a functioning society because we transfer money between different parties. Social issues are therefore driven from a distinctly business perspective and are seen as an important way to increase profitability and attract customers, employees and investors.
Sustainability in our core business
As a bank, we make it possible for our customers and partners to grow and achieve success through lending and investments. Our commitment is to do this sustainably and responsibly. Only then can we create long-term relationships with our customers.
Financially sustainable deposits and lending
In our lending to private customers and businesses, we take responsibility by clarifying risks and protecting the customer’s long-term finances. In 2009 we introduced stricter requirements on loan-to-value ratios for mortgages and launched a debate on household risk-taking – a debate that continued in 2011 and that resulted in longer fixed rate periods, a greater willingness among customers to amortise and better regulation in the market.
For out many corporate customers, we offer sustainable financial advice by making sure they have a long-term liquidity plan and are prepared for their financial future. Debt should remain reasonable regardless of economic conditions.
Swedbank tries to maintain a long-term balance between lending and deposits in each market, which is the basis for sustainable growth and for a less financial fluctuating economy. We conduct continuous analyses of micro indicators to identify unsustainable behaviours which could affect the banking sector, society and individuals.
Socially and environmentally sustainable deposits and lending
Respect for human rights and the planet’s resources is critical to our future. We are active within our sphere of influence and contribute to a stable environment, promote human rights and fight corruption. These areas are also important in determining whether our customers are financially sustainable.
Our corporate customers may face social and environmental challenges that affect their reputations and success – and thus our reputation and our success. If these challenges are managed correctly, they can have a positive effect. If not, they could have disastrous consequences.
Sustainability is an area in where our customers and other stakeholders increasingly expect us to know the businessrelated risks and opportunities as well as laws and guidelines. This knowledge helps us to understand our customers and enables us to be a relevant advisor. In this capacity, we can help them to succeed and improve their businesses. We meet these challenges in our operations in two ways:
- By considering risks and opportunities in our investment and credit decisions
In connection with business loans above SEK 1m, a sustainability analysis is conducted in the areas of human rights, corruption and the environment. The analysis is an integral part of the credit analysis and is designed to evaluate how risks related to these areas could affect our profitability and reputation, and of those of our customers,if they materialise, as well as customers´repayment ability and the collateral value. Dialogue with the customer also creates new business opportunities for both the bank and customer, because we are able to jointly focus on an issue or see an investment need tied to a future sustainable development.
As one of the largest asset managers in the Nordic region, Swedbank Robur works actively with sustainability analysis of companies, and as an owner it influences companies sustainability work.
- By taking responsibility for the social and environmental impacts of our own operations
We evaluate risks related to human rights, corruption and the environment and introduce strict internal routines and processes in these areas. We also strive to minimise greenhouse gas emissions in order to reduce our direct enviromental impact.
Sustainable local engagement
In addition to integrating social issues in our core operations, we have chosen to play a bigger role in the community and champion local development. We contribute financial knowhow and our local network of contacts in the markets where we are active. In doing so, we support, collaborate in and launch external initiatives to promote a sound and sustainable financial situation mainly in the areas of education, jobs and entrepreneurship
– all of which are critical to society’s growth.
Our initiatives target groups in society with a weaker position in the labour market, which is currently true primarily of young people and foreign-born residents. By providing them with the right educational opportunities and working experience, or helping them to start their own businesses, we can facilitate the future generational change faced by many businesses and society.