Summary of Response and Responsibility

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In this probing inquiry, financial journalist Helen Avery interviews top executives at some of the largest global banks to compile a picture of their responses to COVID-19, as well as of the banking sector’s plans for a post-pandemic economy. Her report is rich with concrete examples of reprioritized activities, as an overwhelming majority of these banks stepped up to aid customers and employees caught in the crisis. Financial executives and shareholders will find solid approaches to dealing with the unanticipated in this accessible article.

About the Author

Helen Avery is the corporate social responsibility editor for Euromoney.



Banks have pledged to take corporate responsibility for their businesses’ conduct.

Established in September 2019, the Principles for Responsible Banking (PRB) subgroup of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance initiative sets out core guidelines for the business conduct of its 175 signers. Those commitments encompass sustainability goals established by the UN, the Paris Climate Agreement and various other organizations that promote sustainable practices at national levels. 

Members, who also pledge transparency and acknowledge their obligations to all stakeholders, have shared information on how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Executives cite the experience of institutions in China, Italy and Spain – among the forerunners in managing the crisis – as particularly...

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