Environment

  • GHG Emissions
  • Air Quality
  • Energy Management
  • Water & Wastewater Management
  • Waste & Hazardous Materials Management
  • Ecological Impacts

Human Capital

  • Labor Practices
  • Employee Health & Safety
  • Employee Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion

Leadership & Governance

General Issue Category
(industry agnostic)

Disclosure Topics (industry specific) for:
Commercial Banks

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Data Security

Data Security

Ensuring the privacy and data security of personal financial data is an essential responsibility of the Commercial Banks industry. Companies that fail to manage performance in this area are susceptible to decreased revenue and consumer confidence. As growth in mobile banking and cloud storage continues and more of banks’ operations become technology- and internet-dependent, data security will be an increasingly important issue to manage. Sophisticated technology and continuous training of personnel are essential in a world of growing cybersecurity threats. The metrics for this disclosure topic focus on providing more detail on efforts related to safeguarding data against emerging and continuously evolving cybersecurity threats and technologies, and actual security breaches compromising customers' personally identifiable information (PII). Enhanced disclosure on management strategies to address these risks will allow shareholders to understand how commercial banks are protecting shareholder value.

Access & Affordability

Financial Inclusion & Capacity Building

Commercial banks, as their primary business activity, have to continuously balance their capacity building efforts with the risks and opportunities associated with lending to unbanked, underbanked, or underserved customers. Emerging financing models and technologies provide banks with an opportunity to offer products and services in previously underserved markets and obtain additional sources of revenue. Firms that are able to meet the need to extend credit and financial services to low-income populations and small businesses while avoiding predatory and irresponsible lending practices are likely to create long-term value and enhance social capital. These services should also be complemented by efforts to improve financial literacy, which will ensure that customers make informed decisions. The recent financial crisis demonstrated the importance of diversified and resilient funding sources that these communities can provide. By disclosing their approach to financial inclusion and capacity building, commercial banks can provide investors with decision-useful information for assessing banks' ability to ensure long-term, sustainable value creation.

Product Design & Lifecycle Management

Incorporation of Environmental, Social, and Governance Factors in Credit Analysis

As financial intermediaries, commercial banks contribute to significant positive and negative environmental and social externalities through their lending practices. Therefore, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors can have material implications for the underlying companies, assets, and projects that commercial banks lend to across a range of industries. It is therefore increasingly necessary for companies to examine ESG factors when determining the quality of collateral. Commercial banks also have the potential to enable positive environmental and social externalities and to generate significant revenue streams through their lending practices. Commercial banks that fail to address these risks and opportunities could face diminished returns and reduced value for shareholders. Commercial banks should subsequently disclose how ESG factors are integrated into lending processes and the current level of portfolio risk associated with specific sustainability trends. In particular, investor and regulatory pressure is mounting for banks to disclose how they address climate change related risks.

Business Ethics

Business Ethics

The regulatory environment surrounding the Commercial Banks industry continues to evolve in various jurisdictions globally. Commercial banks must adhere to a complex and inconsistent set of rules relating to performance and conduct as well as disclosure on issues including insider trading, anti-trust, price fixing, and market manipulation. In addition, commercial banks are subject to rules against tax evasion, fraud, money laundering, and corrupt practices. Finally, in some jurisdictions, enhanced rewards for whistleblowers may increase the number of complaints brought to regulators. Firms that are able to ensure regulatory compliance through robust internal controls will be better positioned to build trust with clients, leading to increased revenue, and to protect shareholder value by minimizing losses incurred as a result of legal proceedings.

Systemic Risk Management

Systemic Risk Management

The 2008 financial crisis highlighted the importance of managing risks to capital in the Commercial Banks industry. Specifically, firms that failed to manage the risk suffered significant losses to the value of their financial assets while increasing the amount of liabilities held on their books, which, due to the interconnectedness of the financial system, contributed to a significant market disruption. The systemic nature of the risk results from the interconnectedness of financial institutions and has become a central concern of national and international regulators. As a result, many banks are required to undergo supervisory stress tests to evaluate whether the company has the capital to absorb losses, continue operations, and meet obligations in the event of adverse economic and financial conditions. Their failure to meet regulatory requirements could substantially raise future compliance cost as well as lead to monetary penalties. In an effort to demonstrate how the risks associated with banks’ size, complexity, interconnectedness, substitutability, and cross-jurisdictional activity are being managed, commercial banks should enhance disclosure on quantitative and qualitative metrics measuring how well they are positioned to absorb shocks arising from financial and economic stress and meet stricter regulatory requirements.

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