Citizenship and Society

What we heard

A key finding in our original 2019 Public and Stakeholder Consultation Report was a sense from respondents that banks have a critical role to play in supporting communities and society as a whole and that the sector did not always fulfil this role well.  This was particularly felt in rural Ireland and by customers who may be in a vulnerable position. 

IBCB member banks recognise their unique role in society and each of our five member banks has established programmes focussing on how best to play this role and contribute to local communities and wider society in which they operate. Given the importance of this issue to the IBCB’s purpose, we established Citizenship and Society as our 3rd core pillar of activity during the year under review.

What we did

In mid-2020 we commissioned independent research through Gibney Communications to better understand the views and banking needs of specific cohorts in society, to inform our next steps in contributing to delivering positive banking change for communities and societies in Ireland.

The research project aimed to gather the views of bank branch staff and customers based in rural communities, key stakeholders and advocacy groups representing those in rural/ farming communities, those living with disabilities, SMEs, those in vulnerable positions and marginalised groups, through qualitative interviews, focus groups and some limited desk research.

The research was conducted between June and September 2020 and as a result the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on individuals, businesses and communities is very evident in the findings. Several of the findings are similar to those themes identified in the IBCB 2019 Public and Stakeholder Consultation report.

The IBCB working group met to review the findings and identify priority actions in January 2021.  The agreed key areas of focus for 2021 are:

  • Customers living with a disability: specifically, those with cognitive difficulties in the first phase of the project, with the aim of improving awareness and accessibility.
  • Customers for whom English is not their first language, whereby it can be difficult to ascertain customers’ awareness of financial products, particularly when making major financial decisions.
  • Access to the basic bank account.This is seen as an enabler for those in financial difficulty as well as marginalised groups who may experience financial exclusion.

Plans are currently under development and updates will be included on this website.