How can businesses best serve the communities they operate in?

TSB launchedin 2013 at a time when most people believed that banks had become completelydisconnected from the communities they served.   

Over thelast three years we’ve built a different sort of bank, a bank with socialpurpose at its heart. 

A strongpartnership culture runs through everything we do at TSB.  From partnering with nearly 500 local causesto partnering with Pride of Britain and Pride of Sport, we’re building strongconnections with the communities we serve right across Britain. 

RecentlyTSB’s Head of Community Engagement, Bola Gibson, took the opportunity to talkabout this at a Fabian Society event held at the Labour Party Conference. Read the full copy of her speech below. 


In recentyears, businesses have become disconnected from the communities they serve, andnowhere is this more true than in banking. 

At TSB, we stronglybelieve that businesses best serve the communities they operate in when they findcommon goals and opportunities to work in partnership. 

Before TSBlaunched on UK high streets in 2013 we spent thousands of hours talking toconsumers about what they wanted from their bank.  What we found was that less than 20% ofpeople felt that banks thought about their role in wider society or how they couldcontribute to the community.  

At TSB wewanted to create a different kind of bank. Our vision was to return banking toan industry with a real social purpose. Our vision was to pioneer a modern bankthat puts customers’ and communities’ needs before short-term profits; a bankthat resets the relationship between banks and society by working inpartnership with customers and the community. To do this we looked to ourfounder, the Reverend Henry Duncan, who set up the first Trustee Savings Bankover 200 years ago. 

About Henry Duncan

It was HenryDuncan’s time working as a bank clerk on the Liverpool docks in the late 1800s thatinspired him to set up the world’s first self-sustaining savings bank. HenryDuncan noticed that the ordinary workers were locked out of the banking system.At the time, the average worker had to have £10 saved to open an account – that’snearly £600 in today’s money. Henry Duncan saw the need for everyone to begiven financial security regardless of how much they earned. He had a vision to set up a bank with asocial purpose that was born out of the needs of local communities. 

When TSBre-emerged onto the high streets across Britain 200 years later, we understoodthe importance of building a bank with a real social purpose, and set out to createa bank that works in partnership with customers and the local community.  

That is whywhen a customer goes into a TSB branch, they don’t talk to a nameless employee.  They speak to their local banker, who is aPartner in our business, and is likely to have worked in one of our bankbranches for an average of 16 years. 

A localbanker who they know is rewarded on the quality of service they provide TSBcustomers in their local community, rather than on the products they sell.  In fact, TSB was the first bank to scrapsales targets. 

A localbanker, who on those working days they can’t make it into the branch, they cancall directly on a local number to discuss their banking needs. 

But for TSB partnershipand social purpose isn’t just about serving our customers, it’s also aboutpartnering with local communities across Britain to support the causes thatmatter most to them. That’s why we launched the Local Charity Partnership Programme. 

Last year weempowered our Partners in all our branches and offices across Britain to invitethe local community to nominate a local, independent cause they could partnerwith. A cause that has a real social purpose and really matters to that community. 

As a result,rather than sponsoring one charity each year, TSB supports nearly 500 smallcharities across Britain. We raise money for them, volunteer for them and helpthem raise their profile locally.  Thesuccess we have had has been beyond our expectations, with us donating over£1million so far.  To help our partnersget the most out of the programme we have started a training programme inpartnership with the Small Charity Coalition. 

Here inLiverpool, our branches have raised over £12,500 for some fantastic localcauses. Two of our local charity partners - Claire House Hospice and MerseysideSociety for Deaf People – are here with us today and I would encourage all ofyou to take some time to speak to them after this event to talk to them abouttheir incredible work. 

But the purposeof entering these partnerships isn’t just TSB raising money for charities. Twothirds of our local charity partners have said the programme had also helpedraise awareness of their work, while just under one fifth stated that it hadhelped them secure more funding from other sources. 

And as wellas finding charities to partner with, we also encourage our individualPartners, to play an active role in their community. Last year Partners acrossTSB spent over 6,000 hours volunteering for good causes in their localcommunities. 

And it isour social purpose to support communities across Britain that led us intoanother Partnership, a partnership with Pride of Britain.

The Pride ofBritain Awards celebrates the nation’s unsung heroes. They recognise the peoplewho make a difference to the lives of others and who go above and beyond thecall of duty to help others in communities’ right across Britain.  This partnership fits perfectly with our socialpurpose. We are an ordinary group of people trying to change an industry andcreate a bank that works in partnership with consumers and champions localcommunities.   

And as wellas supporting the Awards themselves, TSB has also launched a new category atthe Awards Ceremony, the TSB Community Partner Award, to celebrate heroes inour communities across Britain.  I hopeyou all watch the Awards when they are televised in November, to hear some ofthe truly inspirational stories of the winners. 

At TSB weare committed to supporting local communities across Britain, but we are onlyat the start of our journey. Using Henry Duncan as our inspiration, we hopethat we will eventually reset the relationship between banks and their localcommunities. But this won’t happen overnight. We know that there are many more things that we could be doing, that wehaven’t even thought of yet.  I am reallylooking forward to the discussion from today’s event, to help us in reachingour ultimate goal. 


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