Integrity, responsibility and affinity: three aspects of ethics in banking

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Abstract

Banking, in common with other areas of finance, is often considered an amoral field focused purely on risk and return. However, ethics does have an important role to play, both traditionally and as business and banking evolve. Based on a speech to a European Union conference on financing small and medium–sized enterprises (SMEs), this paper seeks to provide an overview of ethics in banking using three terms. Integrity is important to generate the trust necessary for any banking system to flourish, responsibility highlights contemporary banks’ need to take into account the consequences of their lending policies, and affinity refers to a set of relatively novel ways in which depositors and borrowers can be brought closer together than they are in conventional western banking.

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