Social and alternative banking: project selection and monitoring after the New Basel Capital Accord
Any economic activity calls for the exercise of moral judgement. There are some economic activities that actively promote collective benefit as a primary or secondary aim, and there are others that aim to increase the value of a firm. Investment decisions always have collective impact, but collective returns may be ignored or considered less important in company management if the objective is the maximisation of shareholder wealth. The allocative function exercised by banks in their credit activity may take this into account. Some banks nowadays focus on social profile, while others integrate the traditional approach with this new sensibility. But unfortunately banking regulations governing stability and soundness of the financial system make no mention of the social profile. The New Basel Capital Accord was an opportunity to recognise that bank's objectives may not consist only of the maximisation of shareholder wealth. But it was a missed opportunity, in that it gave advantages to traditional commercial banks and not to banks focussing on collective goals. This paper puts forward proposals for integrating the Basel II framework with profiles of collective bank credit policy. Social credit evaluation methods could help to identify those ethical banks which are more successful in meeting collective objectives. A sustainable credit appraisal methodology could have been examined by the Basel Committee and could have incentivated sustainable banking by giving it specific advantages.
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