Teachers Mutual among the world’s most ethical companies

The bank is the only Australian business to be included in this year’s list

One of Australia’s largest mutual banks was featured in a list of the world’s most ethical companies.

Created by the Ethisphere Institute, the World’s Most Ethical Companies list spans 21 countries and 50 industries. The institute uses its Ethics Quotient framework to assess companies’ performance. It also gathers best practices from honourees, which will be released in a report next month.

Teachers Mutual, the only Australian business to be included in this year’s list, recently announced it has become the largest bank in Australia to certify deposits and mortgages as socially responsible under the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) guidelines.

Founded in 1966 by educators, Teachers Mutual is one of Australia’s largest mutual banks, comprising four brands: Firefighters Mutual Bank, Health Professionals Bank, Teachers Mutual Bank and UniBank. It has over 200,000 members and more than AU $7bn in assets.

“Our aim is to be the most socially responsible bank in Australia,” said chief executive Steve James. “The Royal Commission has shown what happens when you lose sight of the customers’ interests, but for 52 years we’ve been focused solely on them. That’s a big reason we’re recognised as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies.

“Our operations are carbon neutral, our investments are fossil fuel free, and we don’t have conflicts between shareholder and customer interests. Our members can have confidence that that’s not going to change.”

As part of its ethical policy, the bank screens member deposits to exclude 14 harmful activities, including gambling, tobacco, and fossil fuel lending.