Over €1.8 billion drawn down from Bank of Ireland Sustainable Finance Fund by end of 2021

Bank of Ireland launches Responsible and Sustainable Business Report 2021

  • Pillar 1: Supporting the Green Transition – Over €1.8 billion in green mortgages and loans by the end of 2021
  • Pillar 2: Enhancing Financial Wellbeing – utilising international best practise in behavioural science to improve customers’ financial wellbeing
  • Pillar 3: Enabling Colleagues to Thrive – Accelerate and RISE programmes promote professional development of female and ethnic minority talent

Over €1.8 billion in total was drawn down from Bank of Ireland’s Sustainable Finance Fund by the end of 2021 across mortgages, home improvement loans and business loans. 35% of all mortgages provided by the Bank in 2021 were green, increasing to 45% during the last quarter of the year. Bank of Ireland is now the largest provider of wholesale finance for electric vehicles, providing finance to 13 of the 15 car manufacturer franchises.

These figures were announced in Bank of Ireland’s inaugural Responsible and Sustainable Business (RSB) Report for 2021. The report marks a significant deepening of the Bank’s disclosures on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) matters, highlighting progress achieved so far across three core pillars and mapping out activity up to 2024.

Eamonn Hughes, Chief Sustainability & Investor Relations Officer at Bank of Ireland Group, commented*:* “Our stakeholders – including customers, shareholders, and regulators – increasingly demand far greater transparency as to how environmental, social, and governance commitments are being met. Being clear on ESG, and showing how you are delivering what you sign up to, is now a commercial and societal imperative for all lenders including Bank of Ireland.

“We are pleased to publish today’s report which marks a step-change in how Bank of Ireland is transparently tracking and reporting progress. This report provides insights on our strategic approach, appraisal of our progress to achieve our purpose, and key focus areas that we plan to progress in the years ahead.

“The climate crisis is a critical threat. For our planet there’s no Plan B. We recognise the major role we can play in Ireland’s response, and through products like our green mortgage we are putting environmental concerns – and practical responses to those concerns – into the heart of our business.  We’re also doing more to decarbonise the Bank’s operations and reduce our own emissions.

“The S and G are also very important when we consider ESG. We have a responsibility to improve the financial wellbeing of our customers and foster a financially inclusive society. We are supporting our customers to become more financially confident, while also working to simplify the processes so that the financially marginalised such as refugees, have easier access to banking services.

“Detailed progress reports on ESG will now be a core part of the Bank’s annual reporting cycle. The expectations of our customers, colleagues, shareholders, regulator, and wider society are clear, and we are committed to doing more and building on the progress already made.”

Supporting the Green Transition

The report outlines how Bank of Ireland is supporting customers in the green transition, increasing the value of its Sustainable Finance Fund to €5 billion by 2024. By the end of 2022 Bank of Ireland will align its lending practise with the low carbon ambitions of the Paris Agreement by setting science-based targets across portfolios and operations.

  • The largest provider of wholesale finance for electric vehicles providing finance to 13 of the 15 car manufacturer franchises, supporting more Irish drivers in making the switch to electric vehicles.
  • Two successful green bond issuances completed in 2021 as part of the Bank’s Green Bond Framework, raising €1.25 billion with the capital used to finance green buildings, renewable energy projects and clean transportation.
  • Supporting the development of Ireland’s renewable energy sector, providing financing for the development of at least 750MW of renewable wind capacity across the island of Ireland.   
  • 35% of all mortgages provided by Bank of Ireland in 2021 were green and the Bank launched a green mortgage product in the UK.
  • Decarbonising Bank of Ireland’s operations, reducing absolute emissions by 88% between 2011 and 2021. The Group is planning a phased electrification of our fossil-fuel based space heating systems, further decarbonising our operations.

Enhancing Financial Wellbeing

Bank of Ireland, a recognised leader in Financial Wellbeing in Ireland, is improving customers’ financial wellbeing by focusing on financial capability, financial inclusion, and financial confidence. The Financial Wellbeing Index for BOI customers at 65*, above the national average.

Financial capability:

  • Our financial wellbeing coaches provided over 6k financial literacy hours to customers, colleagues and communities
  • Over 202,000 visits to the financial wellbeing (FWB) online centre in 2021
  • Providing financial literacy programmes for primary schools, secondary schools and third-level (Talking Cents with Ollie/Money Smarts/ F-Word Playbook financial literacy programmes)

Financial inclusion:

  • Made it easier for international protection applicants and refugees in Ireland to open a bank account and provided additional language translation and digital supports available for marginalised customers.
  • Supported 6,000 vulnerable customers facing challenging situations through the Vulnerable Customer Unit (VCU).
  • Issued nearly 1,000 Carers’ Debit Cards, providing trusted friends, relatives, and carers, controlled access to the accounts of the individual they are caring for.
  • Bank of Ireland’s Begin Together programme funded 98 projects and organisations tackling social isolation and financial illiteracy, as well as those encouraging accessibility for vulnerable groups.

Financial confidence

  • Targeted over 171,000 customers using behavioural science, providing practical steps on how they could improve their financial wellbeing, including a first of its kind study among 160,000 customers to better understand how to help customers build greater financial resilience.
  • Behavioural science was used with 9,500 customers struggling with persistent debt on their credit cards, with 22% of customers taking corrective action to enhance their financial wellbeing.
  • 181% increase in visits to the bank’s Online Security Zone, which offers fraud advice for customers.
  • Future focus includes a new programme launched in March 2022 dedicated to supporting women’s financial confidence, having identified a gap in in financial confidence between men and women.

By the end of 2022, the Bank aims to reach over 1 million people to support their financial capability and financial wellbeing. Leveraging behavioural science and digital tools, the Bank will launch personalised in-app capability to enable customers to better understand and manage their own financial behaviours.

Enabling Colleagues to Thrive

Bank of Ireland has worked to promote diversity and inclusion within the bank by launching two new talent development programmes, Accelerate and RISE. Accelerate aims to promote female talent at senior levels within the business, while the RISE programme helps to promote female and ethnic minority talent within the bank. Inclusion and diversity training is also now mandatory and embedded into mentoring and recruitment platforms.

  • Launched Group-wide upskilling and re-skilling strategies, rolling out four All-Colleague pathways (data fluency, project management, business agility, and digital fitness) to ensure colleagues have the necessary skills to support the Bank’s ambition to be a digitally-enabled bank.
  • Bank of Ireland has become the first Irish company to achieve the internationally recognised Business Disability Forum accreditation.
  • Partnered with Dublin City University, Ulster University, Fasttrack to IT, and Skillnet Ireland to support Early Careers’ entry into the workplace
  • Launched the Bank of Ireland Academy to drive the professional development of all current and future colleagues.
  • Percentage of female senior leadership appointments was 45% for 2021 (+4pts year on year) and rose to 51% in Q4 2021

To view Bank of Irelands Responsible and Sustainable Business Report for 2021 visit here.