More and more customers of banks and savings banks want their home bank to be more committed on the topic of sustainability. If companies reject this request or engage in “greenwashing”, there is a risk of sensitive customer loss.
Sustainability is an important topic for the future business success of banks and savings banks, but also in terms of the sustainability goals set by politicians. Reducing CO2 emissions and stopping climate change can only be achieved by the financial sector, which plays a leading role in environmental-social change.
Customers see it that way too. The call for a strong environmental and social orientation is heard throughout the population. This is the main conclusion of our study. “Green Bank: Doing or Marketing?For this, 1,250 German bank customers were interviewed. The clear message: Banks that have not yet stabilized themselves or developed the idea of greenwashing are at risk of losing more than half of their customers.
Customers demand more consistency
Reducing climate change, whether social justice or regional thinking and action. For 78 percent of those surveyed, consistency is important or very important in everyday life. Sixty-seven percent of all bank customers want their home bank to be more committed to sustainability. In the case of young customers between the ages of 16 and 24, the figure is 77 percent.
According to surveyed customers, this is not yet found in home banks. About 40 percent have not yet noticed any change in the direction of sustainability in their financial institution. This applies to all banking groups – from private to regional banks.
Only 23 percent of direct bank customers report: “My home bank is more stable than other banks.” For other banking groups this value ranges from eleven to 16 per cent. No company is seen as a “pioneer” or “expert” in the field of sustainability.
Banks themselves need to become more stable
From the point of view of surveyed customers, banks need to not only provide sustainable financial products, but also start themselves and make their own company more sustainable and social.
For example, 92 percent of those surveyed said their bank should run a CO2-neutral business. 73 percent want their home bank to be CO2 neutral by 2035 or earlier. This means that the majority of German bank customers, for example, are demanding significantly more ambitious CO2 storage capacity from the financial sector than the Federal Climate Protection Act (Germany’s greenhouse gas neutralization by 2045).
Customers are threatening to change their bank
It is dangerous for banks that only a small percentage of respondents now perceive their own financial institution as a pioneer in terms of sustainability. The study shows that banks that do not adopt a more consistent approach or create the appearance of “greenwashing” run the risk of losing more than half of their customers.
Thirteen percent of those surveyed said they would definitely change if their home bank was not made more stable. 41 percent are considering such a move. This attitude is especially pronounced in those aged 25 to 38 years. Of those, the lack of stability is one reason for the 23 percent change and 47 percent for change thinking.
Customers are open to standard banking products
But sustainability also offers new opportunities for lenders. 51% of customers are interested in a fixed current account. 44 percent say investing in regional environmental projects is particularly attractive. Many are interested in fixed funds, ETFs and stocks. Sustainable savings are 42 percent and at least 33 percent are interested in environmental construction funds.
Under certain conditions, customers are willing to pay higher fees for fixed financial products or drop income. Eleven percent said they would definitely do so. 38 percent say “yes, in some circumstances.”
At 68 percent, transparency was paramount to respondents when choosing sustainable financial products. They want to know what they are doing with their money. 57 percent focus on reliability, e.g. By environmental certification. 47% want personal clarification and advice on the topic of sustainability.
Sustainability as an opportunity for banks
Stable sustainable products represent a real opportunity for companies and represent new revenue opportunities and opportunities for differentiation.
Overall, sustainability offers more opportunities than risks to banks, but only if you approach it boldly and reliably. Banks that have strategically identified this topic for themselves can gain real competitive advantage over other companies.
Customers have high expectations when it comes to the stability of their bank. This creates particular stabilization opportunities especially for regional banks. In order to ensure success, companies need to start concrete actions quickly. “Doing” is more important than “marketing”.
Full review “Green Bank: Doing or Marketing?“You can download it for free here.
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