About Sustainability - Corporate Sustainability | Ulster Bank

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About Sustainability

We are committed to building a sustainable bank. By this, we mean a financially sound bank that serves all our customers, and contributes strongly to our economy, society, and our communities. Balancing our business decisions by taking account of the interests of our many stakeholders is important in building a good business based on trust, and these pages outline the steps we are taking to make that happen.

At Ulster Bank, Sustainability is more than just a concept. It’s the foundation of how we are reshaping our business, to build a bank that is financially solid, focused on our customers and trusted by our stakeholders. It’s about our commitment to supporting businesses and enabling economic growth. It’s about being open and transparent. Building a sustainable business also means being a force for good in the communities where we operate.

Add your signposting title here… Sustainable Business Principles

Our Sustainable business principles are a public record of our commitment to operating to the highest standards. Embedding these principles in how we run our business is a continuing process.

Sustainability Priorities

 

Balancing our own needs with the interests of our many stakeholders is important in building a trusted business. At Ulster Bank, we work to address the issues that matter most to our stakeholders. Through direct investment, through a partnership approach and through the skills and expertise of our people, we can influence many of these issues in a positive way.

Simple Fairer Banking

Banking that is customer focused, open and transparent.

Protecting our environment

Working to sustainable environmental codes and principles.

Promoting financial education

Empowering the next generation to take control of their own financial future.

Supporting our communities

Our community programmes, supporting and investing in grassroots community initiatives, charitable giving and supporting employee involvement.

Valuing our people

Investing in our people to ensure they can develop their talents, and be committed to serving our customers well.

Supporting Enterprise and Innovation

Developing business supports to enable SMEs and entrepreneurs to drive and develop the economy, creating jobs and stability.

Stakeholder Issues

 

Our stakeholders include customers, employees, the media, consumer groups, trade bodies, regulators and public representatives. Regular discussions take place with all of these groups, so that we have an opportunity to hear their views, and be open and transparent about the requirements of running a major bank today.

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Business organisations, politicians and the media have continued to challenge the banking sector over levels of lending to business, and support for small businesses. Our own stakeholder discussions also underline the importance of this. We are committed to supporting economic growth through prudent lending, and through providing a range of support programmes for start-ups, SMEs and social enterprises.

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Account fees and overdraft charging levels are regularly raised as an issue by customers, consumer groups and media commentators. We recently introduced new fees on our current accounts, and have worked to keep these fees transparent, simple and clear. We’re also doing more to help customers avoid fees in the first place through initiatives such as text alerts to customers when their balance reaches a set pre-agreed level.

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We share with many of our stakeholders a strong commitment to supporting financial education.

This is reflected in our ongoing investment over the past 10 years in MoneySense - now the most-widely used resource in Ireland and Northern Ireland for teaching young people about money matters. In 2015 we launched our new updated MoneySense programme https://mymoneysense.com/ with resources tailored to the needs of young people from ages 5 up to 18.

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Many stakeholders, including consumer organisations and debt advice agencies, as well as public representatives, continue to raise a number of concerns in relation to issues such as branch closures, access to in-branch cash services, ATM availability, and access to mainstream banking for consumers without bank accounts. We are taking these challenges seriously.  While we closed a number of branches during 2015, we put in place alternative banking services for our customers through over 1500 Post Office outlets island-wide and extended our Bank on Wheels facilities to cover 12 rural communities.  We will continue to make every effort to ensure our services are accessible to our customers in their local communities.

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Icon expand Supporting local communities

Most people believe that banks should do more to reconnect with their local communities. They also believe, and we agree, that part of our role in the community is to support the efforts of voluntary and charitable organisations that are the lifeblood of our communities. Our charitable Giving Schemes and local community partnerships mean that Ulster Bank has a strong culture of employee community involvement, which runs alongside our sponsorship support for local sport and the arts.

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Climate change, and the impact of all businesses, including banks, continues to be a concern for many. While our sector is not energy-intensive, we are focused on reducing our carbon footprint and have a number of measures in place to drive down energy usage wherever possible.

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