Pull your weight and do more, Mustapa tells banks

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Bank employees should be given the support they need to upgrade their skill sets, says Mustapa Mohamed.

PETALING JAYA: Banks must step up their corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts in the wake of Covid-19, in order to show that they are willing to work for the benefit of the people, Mustapa Mohamed said today.

During his special address at the 2021 Malaysian Banking and Finance Summit, the economic affairs minister said this would be to address the “negative” sentiments towards banks by the general public.

“The perception on the ground is that banks are making a lot of money. Banks must show the rakyat that they are willing to do more to pull their weight in society,” he said, recognising that many have already endeavoured to provide for the needy during the pandemic.

“Beyond Covid-19, banks may want to step up poverty alleviation programmes in less developed states, especially in Sabah, Sarawak, Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis, Terengganu, as well as in low-cost flats in our towns and cities.

“We know that banks also give scholarships to deserving students, but let me be frank when I say that banks can always do more.”

Mustapa also laid out other things he hoped to see banks do to aid national recovery as more sectors of the economy begin to reopen.

He hoped more could be done to help rebuild businesses, especially micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, as they are likely to borrow more to sustain themselves as consumer activity returns to normal.

Digitalisation should also be on the agenda of financial institutions, he said, helping businesses modernise their operations and providing better support for companies and start-ups in high-tech sectors.

“Also, as banks themselves digitalise more of their processes, employees should be given the support they need to upgrade their skill sets in order to help them adapt to new demands,” he added.

Finally, Mustapa called for banks to educate their clients and the public on the importance of sustainability and governance standards and be more willing to fund public-private partnerships going forward to offset the fiscal constraints felt by the government.

“The banking sector, as a key player in the economy, has an important role to play in achieving our economic development goals. Indeed, all these years, banks have provided a lot of support for businesses in the pursuit of growth and prosperity.

“Going forward, post-pandemic, businesses and Malaysians will be expecting more support from the banking sector.”

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