Fri 04 Dec 2020

International Day of Banks

There seems to be international days for just about everything these days from the seeming frivolous at one end of the scale to the much more heaving hitting at the other and banks are now no exception. 4 December 2020 marks the first International Day of Banks.

On 19 December 2019, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 74/245, which designated 4 December as the International Day of Banks. This was in recognition of the significant potential of multilateral development banks and other international development banks in financing sustainable development and providing know-how. It was also to recognise the vital role of the banking systems in Member States in contributing to the improvement of the standard of living.

In September 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the comprehensive, far-reaching and people-centred set of universal and transformative Sustainable Development Goals and targets, and reaffirmed its commitment to working tirelessly for the full implementation of those goals by 2030. The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. 

The UN General Assembly recognised that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.

The UN believes that well-run national development banks can help countries develop financing options for Sustainable Development Goal-related investments. It states that such banks should be aligned with the Goals in a holistic way and be considered in integrated national financing frameworks. It believes collaboration between national development banks and multilateral banks, through co-financing or on-lending arrangements and bringing together international resources and local market knowledge can enhance Goal-related finance.

The Scottish National Investment Bank

On the home front Scotland's new investment bank officially opened for business last week with a mission to foster innovation and help meet climate change targets. The Scottish National Investment Bank ("SNIB") will be backed by £2bn of Scottish Government funding over the next decade.

SNIB's website states:

"We are a mission-led development bank providing patient capital to build a stronger, fairer, more sustainable Scotland"

SNIB is established as a mission-led development investment bank for Scotland, wholly owned by the Scottish Ministers on behalf of the people of Scotland to operate commercially, and be operationally independent from government. Its purpose is to invest in Scottish business, projects and communities to deliver environment, social and financial returns for the people of Scotland. It will provide patient capital - a form of long term investment - for businesses and projects in Scotland, and catalyse further private sector investment.

SNIB's three core missions set by the Scottish Government comprise:

  • Supporting Scotland's transition to net zero by 2045
  • Building communities and promoting equality by 2040
  • Harnessing innovation to enable our people to flourish by 2040

Kicking things off SNIB's first investment of £12.5m is in a Glasgow-based laser and quantum technology company M Squared. It will support the company’s further growth in Scotland and according to SNIB speaks to the bank’s core missions.

The hope is that SNIB will make many more investments that deliver positive mission impacts in the years and decades to come. This will remain to be seen but it has to be hoped it can provide and additional and alternative method of long term funding for innovative enterprises who may struggle to find funding through more traditional sources.

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