The Business Case for Generosity in Banking: How and Why Financial Institutions Are Helping Prioritize Customer Philanthropy

American Banker's Miriam Cross in conversation with Wells Fargo, Spiral and Beneficial State Bank on Supporting Customer Philanthropy

In honor of Giving Tuesday, Amicus.io co-hosted an industry conversation with Pinkaloo to explore the intersection of financial and philanthropic services in "The Generosity Trend: How and Why Financial Institutions Are Helping Prioritize Client Philanthropy."

Leaders from community banking, neobanks and the "Big Four" joined forces to discuss how & why the financial sector should help customers give back in a conversation moderated by American Banker journalist, Miriam Cross.

Clockwise from upper left corner: Gideon Taub of Pinkaloo, Stephanie Buckley of Wells Fargo, Miriam Cross of American Banker, Elijah Goldberg of Spiral, and Cor Hoekstra of Amicus.io
Clockwise from upper left corner: Gideon Taub of Pinkaloo, Stephanie Buckley of Wells Fargo, Miriam Cross of American Banker, Elijah Goldberg of Spiral, and Cor Hoekstra of Amicus.io. Not pictured: Monique Johnson of Beneficial State Bank.

The virtual event featured speakers from the following institutions:

Co-Hosts:

Moderator: Miriam Cross, Technology Reporter (American Banker)

Panelists:

The conversation covered the business case for supporting customers' philanthropic goals, the leadership opportunity for the financial sector in supporting philanthropic impact, and the role of technology in enabling the banking sector to make philanthropy a central part of their offering.

The Business Case

Among topics discussed was the business case for banks to support customer’s philanthropic aspirations. Embracing philanthropy improves brand appeal that resonates for customer acquisition, particularly among younger and mass affluent customers.

"You have people from all spectrums who come together because it is ultimately achieving good. What we find in particular, working with our clients, is that people want to give to help others, [but] they often don't know where to start," says Stephanie Buckley of Wells Fargo.

As philanthropy is a deeply personal aspect of financial wellness, it creates opportunity to improve relationship stickiness and customer retention. This unique relationship between banking, financial wellness, and philanthropy positions institutions to further support clients by aligning their savings, credit, checking, and charitable goals.

Expanding philanthropy to go beyond high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth customers broadens the opportunity to engage mass affluent and everyday retail bank customers. Democratizing access to the offerings ensures that each customer, regardless of means, can create impact in the world.

The Leadership Opportunity

Panelists covered the leadership opportunity for the financial sector in supporting philanthropic impact in alignment with the for-profit structure of institutions. Amongst objectives is to encourage more effective, strategic, and sustained giving by providing donors with the tools and education to maximize their impact.

The renewed focus on democratized access, digital innovation, and corporate-social responsibility centers the charitable conversation on maximizing impact and access. 

Key to the leadership opportunity is recognizing how relationships will enhance the philanthropic impact possible. This ranges from fostering community around like-minded philanthropists, as in the case of UBS's giving collectives initiative, as well as fostering collaboration between nonprofits and philanthropic groups.

It also reflects a broadened focus on including mass affluent and everyday donors, in addition to wealthier ones. Increasingly, banks are involving more types of customers in philanthropic giving opportunities.

"Whether it's racism, whether it's climate, whether it's biology, whatever it is, but moving the spectrum and having banks follow standards that really move either donations, or how we even operate as a bank, even from a lending perspective, from really extractive to being regenerative," says Monique Johnson of Beneficial State Bank.

The Role of Technology

Technology plays an essential role in enabling the banking sector to make customer philanthropy a central part of their offering. With increased automation comes fewer fees and lower minimums, broadening the customer base beyond the wealthy donors historically served.

By making philanthropic giving accessible within the everyday banking experience, it is expanded to go beyond high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth customers. Now mass affluent and everyday retail bank customers have access to more effective, impactful charitable strategies.

"There is an opportunity to build community and to foster community around giving. And to inspire better giving, and more thoughtful, and more impactful giving. With technology as an enabler there's an opportunity for the banks to, in essence, foster communities of like-minded donors," says Cor Hoekstra of Amicus.io.

Speakers concluded by highlighting the role of financial institutions in catalyzing client philanthropic impact and expressing each company's philanthropic priorities for the future.

Missed the live discussion? You can watch the full conversation here: