As savings and retail banks of all sizes and legal forms, we play an essential role in providing the diversity crucial to maintaining the stability of the financial system. We believe that preventing the concentration of economic and financial resources in the hands of the few is paramount to a financial system that serves the greatest possible number of people and businesses.
Financing the real economy is core to our identity. We safeguard deposits and put them to work through effective and responsible lending. Retail banking serves the various financial needs of individuals, households, small and medium-sized businesses across all sectors, and local authorities – that is what makes it unique. We provide a broad range of retail products and services that improve the financial well-being of our customers.
We foster close, interactive relationships with the customers and communities we serve. We reach out to customers and use a wide range of easy-to-use channels to provide the services they need – whether they live in rural areas, the heart of a metropolis or anywhere in between. We also maintain a close, synergistic relationship with the community as a whole. We participate as responsible members of the community we serve, engaging in socially responsible endeavours that bring real benefit to society. We favour local decision-making and set the highest business and ethical standards.
We take a "double bottom line" approach to banking: we balance the need for financial sustainability and a return to society. We abide by fair and transparent corporate governance and nurture fair and clear relations with our customers. Promoting financial inclusion is part of our heritage and remains core to our mission today. We promote financial education policies and instruments to the communities we serve. We commit to becoming environment-friendly businesses that invest responsibly by integrating proper environmental, social, governance and ethical values into all of our financial analysis and decision-making. And we look after our own: we treat all our employees fairly and equally, with dignity and respect, and recognise their merit. Only in this way will our businesses endure.
>> Related: WSBI-ESBG Charter for Responsible Business