With the daily stream of news about governments forcing banks to rethink some fundamentals about their role in society, it would seem a good time to revisit the idea of social investment banks. I while back I posted about the moves in the UK to establish such a vehicle which would tap into dormant funds in UK commercial banks to open up a finance channel for social initiatives such as social enterprises. The establishment of Social Finance in the UK, tasked with opening up such a market is a concrete step.
Given that the governments in most western nations now own substantial equity stakes in the major commercial banks, surely it’s time to focus the executive teams on longer-term social responsibilities that now lie well beyond short-term shareholder interests? Research by Triodos Bank which appears to have weathered the recent crisis, shows that survey respondents would certainly welcome and support such a move if only the government were brave enough to direct it.