Episode #39 - What's the point of banking, anyway?


 

The Better Business Show, in association with Triodos

 
 
 

Show notes

Since the economic crash of 2008, the world’s financial institutions have been desperately rallying to regain public trust and restore their licence to operate.

As we know, the recklessness of some banks triggered a disastrous string of events – many of which have been played out, illustrated and re-enacted by books, articles, plays and films during the last 8 years.

The practices of those institutions in which we put our trust, our faith – and our money – to use it wisely, has, quite rightly, been put under a microscope like never before and has encouraged more and more of us to question the purpose of banking.

I bank with HSBC. I have done all my adult life. I remember going into my local branch (it was called The Midland Bank back in the 1990s) when I was 16 having started my first Saturday job, filling in some forms and waiting for my cheque book and bank card to arrive in the post the following week. It was such an exciting moment in my young life. 

But never did I once question whether I could trust that bank to take care of my money. Never did I ask where that money would be spent while I entrusted the bank with it.

As I say, I’m still an HSBC customer, for both my personal and business accounts; the rigamarole of switching accounts has always put me off. I’m not disgusted by what HSBC stands for – in fact, in some areas, like its investment in climate research, it is showing leadership – and so I have remained as a loyal customer.

But perhaps where we keep our money needs to be challenged once in a while.

And, this month on the Better Business Show we have a perfect opportunity to do just that. 

What’s the point of banking? What can financial institutions, with all their power and influence, do to help create a better, fairer and more sustainable world?

This week, we spend some time with Bevis Watts, the UK managing director for Triodos Bank, a company which believes that banking can be a powerful force for good: serving individuals and communities as well as building a more sustainable society. 

The businesses uses its €12 billion of customer deposits to generate social, environmental and cultural value in a transparent and sustainable way. Triodos isn't just a bank: its changing the way banking is done. And its customers – some of which we are going to be meeting in the next few weeks on the show – are helping to build a movement that’s cultivating positive social, environmental and cultural change.

You can find out more about Triodos and the way it conducts its business, at triodos.co.uk – where you can also find out just what sort of companies, organisations and projects it is supporting right now.

Enjoy the show. And, as ever, let us know what you think.