The ethical (ir)responsibility of banking
Macro trends such as the feared stagflation or the digitalisation of traditional banking, which has betrayed its commitment to customer service, directly affect our finances. The director of 11Onze District, Gemma Vallet, analyses in the Territori 17 programme how we can face these issues and highlights the role played by quality information and a critical spirit in managing them.
The macro-trend of digitalisation has led traditional banks to close thousands of branches in order to save “on customer service”, as Gemma Vallet explains, despite the “ethical responsibility” that institutions committed to providing a service should have.
This has led other companies in the financial ecosystem to look for “innovative solutions” to cover these shortcomings, Vallet points out. The director of 11Onze District gives the example of 11Onze a Casa, a “hybrid solution” that was launched at the end of 2021, when it was sensed that the closure of bank branches “would mean a collapse of customer service”. It is as simple as accessing a website and booking an appointment with a person to talk face to face, a detail that Vallet highlights because of the need for human contact.
Digitalisation, which has accelerated due to covid, has created a “digital divide”, according to Gemma Vallet. To overcome it, “there is a whole series of solutions that, given that the banking sector is not providing them, other actors, whether institutions or companies, have to offer them”, says Vallet. For this reason, the director of 11Onze District urges us to “claim these rights as consumers” so that financial institutions begin to adopt innovative solutions.
Information, the key to understanding the current economic situation
Despite high inflation, which reached 10.2% in June, we are not yet in a scenario of hyperinflation, but we can begin to talk about stagflation, according to Vallet: “Since the middle or end of 2021 we could already see that GDP was beginning to stagnate. And at the same time prices are rising. And there is also another effect, which is that unemployment is rising. These three factors characterise stagflation.”
To deal with this turbulent economic scenario, Vallet stresses the need to get information from the right source, one that is “as neutral and truthful as possible”, and to compare and contrast it. In the age of social networks, the director of 11Onze District recommends being wary of messages that are difficult to understand because their complexity probably hides a “desire to manipulate”.
An added difficulty to deal with information is the lack of critical spirit that has traditionally been fostered by the educational system in our country. In fact, Gemma Vallet recalls that Generation X is also known as the “silent generation because they listen and say nothing, and are therefore very vulnerable to information”. Fortunately, according to Vallet, this trend is beginning to break with Generation Z, which “does have a critical point of view”.
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