Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An Exploratory Study Comparing Mid-sized U.S. Banks' and Global Banks' Sustainability Programs
by Rinkus, Michael A., D.B.A., Lawrence Technological University, 2015, 375; 3738368
Abstract (Summary)

This is an exploratory qualitative case study of the state of sustainability programs within a set of 12 mid-sized U.S. banks compared among themselves and then compared to a set of 12 global banks. This research was designed in two phases. Phase One presented the current state of sustainability within mid-sized U.S. banks and global banks based upon each bank’s public data as organized into three sections: a bank profile, major strategic initiatives, and bank sustainability initiatives and programs. Phase Two data were analyzed from 24 interviews with key executives within each bank. A structured interview format was used, and the interviews were conducted in-person, by phone, or via email depending on the respondent’s preference.

The research found that the majority of mid-sized U.S. banks had, from a regulatory view point, achieved the broader aspects of sustainability. Mid-sized U.S. banks had not seized the spirit of sustainability by organizing and communicating their efforts in the context of a voluntary formal reporting mechanism. Mid-sized banks generally relied on government compliance reports to communicate their efforts. By relying on compliance reporting, mid-sized U.S. banks are missing an opportunity to enhance their image and improve reputational and risk management efforts. It was found that the global banks demonstrated a willingness to embrace the spirit of sustainability past any regulatory requirements, but found their efforts were still in the process of integration within their many business units. It was also found that there is a need for one globally accepted reporting mechanism for sustainability performance. At present, there appear to be many competing requirements for reporting on sustainability efforts, which are beginning to tax internal departments of global banks in an effort to meet the information needs of all their stakeholders.

Using thematic analysis, five key contributions resulted: The first contribution is an understanding of the key components of mid-sized U.S. banks and global bank sustainability programs. The second contribution is identification of the motivators for mid-sized U.S. banks and global banks to establish a sustainability program. Third, a set of criteria was identified to help determine the success of a bank’s sustainability program that can be used by mid-sized U.S. banks and global banks (criteria for success). The fourth contribution is the presenting of the current state of sustainability programs for the set of banks used in the study. The fifth contribution is a set of guiding elements and impact benefits that can be used by any size bank executives to improve business results through implementation of a sustainability initiative.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Stavros, Jacqueline M.
Commitee: Felker, Julie A., Hoffner, Vernon
School: Lawrence Technological University
Department: Management
School Location: United States -- Michigan
Source: DAI-A 77/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Sustainability, Banking
Keywords: Banking, Governance, Reputation, Sustainability
Publication Number: 3738368
ISBN: 9781339286648
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