A sustainable and ethical bank to strengthen the competitiveness of the Malaysian banking sector

KUALA LUMPUR (September 13): The Malaysian banking sector will become increasingly competitive in the future following its foray into sustainable and ethical banking initiatives as well as digital banking with the issuance of five digital banking licenses by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).

Speaking at the inaugural Malaysian Banking Conference 2022 here on Tuesday, September 13, Asian Institute of Chartered Bankers (AICB) President Tan Sri Azman Hashim said social finance is also set to play a role most prominent in the industry, effectively complementing environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies through its potential to embed inclusivity into the financial ecosystem of the country of the future.

“As the financial sector continues to evolve, skills and employment will transform in tandem, making it essential for the country to have an agile and adaptable workforce that is highly skilled and understands the fields of responsible finance and the ethical and social objective of the bank, which goes beyond financial returns.

“The solution, which I would like to emphasize, lies in upskilling and reskilling through vocational education and training, which is our core mandate as a professional body for bankers in Malaysia, together with the Asian Banking School,” he said.

Azman said every finance professional should develop their knowledge of green finance and sustainability as relevant to their role and organization.

“It is imperative that we combine core banking skills with skills in green and sustainable finance, enabling bankers to turn savings into investments in companies, technologies and projects that generate environmental and social returns, as well as financial benefits,” he added.

In addition, he said, under BNM’s Key Strategic Pillar 4 of the Financial Sector Master Plan 2022-2026 on Climate and Environmental Risks, the AICB was also mentioned for provide additional support to relevant ESG programs to build the capacity of financial sector professionals on climate and environmental risk management.

“As sustainability is the future of banking, the AICB is committed to professionalizing and equipping the banking workforce with the green skills needed to support the industry on this journey.

“As we rebuild from the pandemic, I am confident that the Malaysian banking sector will continue to remain resilient and maintain its steady growth momentum even as we face rising inflation and interest rates and the threat of a ‘a global recession,’ he said.

Themed “Banking on Change: Turning the ESG Momentum into Action”, the two-day Malaysian Banking Conference 2022, which started on September 12, was co-hosted by the AICB and the Malaysian Banking Association and was presented in-depth discussions on topics related to ESG focusing on climate change and risk in Malaysia.

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