Finanza is a financial meeting point promoted by El Diario Vasco and Elkargi. The social value of the financial system

An advanced society, in our geopolitical framework, is one that combines competitiveness and social cohesion. Both, intimately united, generate a dynamic of real progress characterized by well-being and solidarity.

For this, it is necessary to have, among other mechanisms and resources, a solid financial system. This allows an economy to tackle, in addition to ordinary and short-term activities, innovations and strategic projects of a transformative nature.

At the present time, digitization and the energy transition, and from a broader perspective, the climate and environmental emergency, are unavoidable challenges that direct the economy and society, as well as their political action.

Along with these issues, there is a past economic-financial crisis and a social and health crisis still in force. The first crisis ordered the system operators and specifically the banks in a more efficient and solvent way. This has allowed that, given the implosive situation of the pandemic, those have been able to channel publicly oriented sources of financing towards the productive sector, preventing economic collapse. Here’s one more example of the need for a healthy financial system. This fact is a good prelude to the role they will play in managing the announced Next Generation European funds.

The banking system, dominant in our financial system, has a set of challenges, in tune with the economy and the society they serve, that are noteworthy. On the one hand, there are the unavoidable and already mentioned areas of digitization and the environment, which must be included, not only as generators of needs for the economy to support, but also as transforming elements of the banking business. Transformation that goes beyond the mere reduction of banking establishments, provoking the consideration of the recruitment of talent and the emphasis on people with new profiles.

On the other hand, there are challenges that are more specific to the banking activity itself and, therefore, to the financial group. Thus, there are those related to deepening the quality of governance, effective regulation, adequate supervision, and optimal behavioral configuration. The latter as a vertical axis ordering management and as a transversal axis providing the system with sufficient ethical robustness. In this same set of challenges, it is necessary to consider the design of the system. Should the bank concentration processes be continued? What should the competitive game be like between banks and the ‘new’ operators known as ‘shadow banking’? Would it be convenient to increase the forms of financing beyond banking?

However, there is a highly relevant challenge without formulating in a clear way: Is society aware of the social value of the financial system? Few systems have the penetration and capillarity of the financier. There is no citizen who can be indifferent to it. There would be no advanced society without such a system. But it is necessary to recognize that there is a significant lack of knowledge of its conception and operation, often living with dubious reputations. Social value has an objective basis to which must be added a subjective social component. The latter is dependent on the perception shared by all the people that make up a society, in short, the halo. And the halo of the financial and banking system needs, at this time, a significant improvement impulse on the part of all.

Key to this is the training and dissemination of financial knowledge in society as a whole, as well as the extension of the feeling of belonging to the financial system. We are all the financial system and its robustness, its solvency, its efficiency and its ethical health depend on all of us.

Increasing financial culture is key to this and, therefore, the creation of the FINANZA Forum, promoted by ELKARGI, as a shared space for financial knowledge is a magnificent initiative.

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