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Corporate Social Responsibility

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Corporate social responsibility (CSR) means understanding, respecting and responding to the community in which an organisation operates into its day-to-day business. Good CSR requires organisations to achieve social and environmental sustainability, as well as being economically sustainable.

As customer owned organisations, credit unions, building societies and mutual banks are not driven solely by profit motives, like most other corporations. Instead, they are dedicated to the benefit of their customers.

Their primary purpose is to serve their members and, through them, the wider community in which they live and work.

We believe there is a link between ethical business behaviour and corporate performance. For us, social responsibility is more than a marketing slogan – it is central to our members and their communities, which means it is also central to the way we operate.

The Customer Owned Banking Code of Practice

Credit unions, mutual banks and building societies adhere to the Customer Owned Banking Code of Practice, a voluntary code of conduct that binds subscribers to recognise the impact of their actions on their community, to promote community engagement and contribute to community actions and projects.

Through direct sponsorship of community activities, and financial products designed to assist members and benefit the local area and environment, many mutuals are putting the principles of CSR into action.

Some examples of CSR in action: Credit unions, building societies, and mutual banks give grants to people with ideas for community improvements; donate a percentage of a credit card's transactions to a hospital; give car loans which encourage environmental protection by offering lower interest rates for vehicles with lower emissions; grant home loans which offer a better interest rate for energy-efficient dwellings; present awards to honour the role of community leaders and fund research to improve community well-being.

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