Big banks spend £1bn per year and give 1m hours to community causes

Tim Wallace
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BANKERS at the biggest six institutions in the UK gave a total of more than 1.1m hours of their time to community and charity projects in 2013, according to figures published today by the British Bankers’ Association.

In a study revealing the scale of resources given to corporate social responsibility programmes the BBA also found the UK banks, combined with major US lenders operating in the UK, gave more than £1bn to good causes in the same year.

“Philanthropy is no longer an extra-curricular activity for banks. Increasingly it is built into their DNA as socially aware businesses,” said BBA chief Anthony Browne.

“This arrangement isn’t just good for society. There are also clear advantages for banks – a motivated workforce with broader experience and, in the long term, the payoff of a financially inclusive society.”

Financial education is a major focus of many of the programmes, which clearly both plays to the strengths of banks’ staff and will give them a more educated future customer and workforce.

Barclays has run schemes for 16 to 25-year olds, while HSBC’s programmes have focused on primary schools and teachers, and Clydesdale Bank has set out to give financial education to under-fives.

Meanwhile big US banks operating in the UK have run programmes targeted at charities and entrepreneurs.

JP Morgan has sought to help small firms understand how they can access finance, while Morgan Stanley’s schemes sent teams of staff into charities to improve their business strategies.

The CSR initiatives are also aimed at improving staff skills. Deutsche Bank asks staff which of 15 different skills they need to improve before picking the most suitable project.

“Long-term skills development is not benevolent, it addresses potential skill shortages that would affect the economic health of our companies and institutions,” said the report.