Sector: Corporate and Retail Banking

The Corporate & Retail Banking subsector consists of the Commercial Banks, Consumer Finance, and Mortgage Finance industries.

  • Commercial banks accept deposits and make loans to individuals and corporations as well as engage in lending for infrastructure, real estate, and other projects. By providing these services, the industry serves an essential role in the functioning of global economies and in facilitating the transfer of financial resources to their most productive capacity. The industry is driven by the volume of deposits, quality of loans made, the economic environment, and interest rates. It is further characterized by risk from mismatched assets and liabilities. The regulatory environment that governs the commercial banking industry saw significant changes in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and continues to evolve today. These and other regulatory trends have the potential to impact shareholder value and sustainability performance. Commercial banks with global operations must manage new regulations in multiple jurisdictions that are creating regulatory uncertainty, particularly around consistent application of new rules.
  • The Consumer Finance industry provides loans to consumers. The largest segment of the industry is comprised of revolving credit loans through credit card products. Additional loan services include auto, micro lending, and student loans. Some companies in the industry also provide consumer-to-consumer money transfers, money orders, prepaid debit cards, and bill payment services. Industry performance is determined by consumer spending, rates of unemployment, per capita GDP, income, and population growth. Recent shifts toward consumer protection and transparency have aligned and will continue to align the interests of society with those of long-term investors. Companies that effectively manage their social capital will therefore be better positioned to maximize their financial capital.
  • The Mortgage Finance industry provides an essential public good in enabling consumers to purchase homes, and contributes to the overall home ownership rate. Companies in the industry lend capital to individual and commercial customers with property as collateral. The primary products are residential and commercial mortgages, while other services offered include: mortgage servicing, title insurance, closing and settlement services, and valuation. In addition, mortgage finance firms own, manage, and finance real estate related investments such as mortgage pass-through certificates and collateralized mortgage obligations. Recent trends in the regulatory environment indicate a significant shift toward consumer protection, disclosure, and accountability. Legislation passed in response to the 2008 mortgage crisis demonstrates the potential for further alignment between the interests of society and those of long-term investors.

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