Group certified for responsible banking

by Rebecca Pike30 Jan 2019

A mutual bank group has received a certification which could see it create billions of dollars of responsible investment.

Teachers Mutual Bank Limited has become one of the first Australian banks to certify its retail deposits, mortgages and wholesale funding.

The certification comes from the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) and could generate more than $3.5billion of socially responsible investment for the bank by 2021.

This certification will cover deposits and mortgages for all Teachers Mutual Bank Limited brands: Teachers Mutual Bank, UniBank, and Firefighters Mutual Bank.

Steve James, CEO of Teachers Mutual Bank Limited, said, “This announcement demonstrates Teachers Mutual Bank Limited’s determination to champion responsible investment. We’re acting on our values and aligning our business practices with our members’ expectations.

“We’re not a bank that has to be forced to do the right thing for our members by regulation, our members know we work for them alone. That’s the standard our community should expect of all banks.”

The bank estimates the certification will cover a cumulative $1.3b of retail mortgages and deposits in 2019, $1.9b in 2020, and $2.7b in 2021.

Simon O’Connor, CEO at RIAA, said, “At a time when more and more consumers are wanting to ensure their banking and investments are managed ethically, RIAA Certification provides certainty that an organisation has reached high standards of disclosure and performance and confirms the authenticity of their commitment to responsible banking.

“We congratulate Teachers Mutual Bank on meeting these requirements and delivering ethical banking for their clients.”

The certification builds on the bank’s wholesale $1b Debt Issuance Programme which is an RIAA certified ethical investment. $500million of this investment was certified in June 2015 based on fossil fuel exclusions.

This figure rose to $1b in 2018 with an additional $500m investment covering exclusions in alcohol, armaments, correctional facilities, gambling, gross environmental degradation, slavery, and other harmful activities.

Combined, this is more than a $3.5billion socially responsible investment opportunity for the bank.

The RIAA Certification for responsible investment products is effective as at 1 December 2018 and will cover all new mortgage products and deposits across Teachers Mutual Bank Limited.