In August 2017, Wells Fargo removed its chairman of the board after another customer products scandal and placed Vice Chair Elizabeth Duke, who we met with in February, into the Chair’s role. Another meeting is set with the company and its new chair in mid-December, and CBIS will participate.
Globally, nearly 21 million refugees have been forced from home due to war, conflict and persecution and require bank accounts to integrate into new communities. Refugees often lack standard documentation to open accounts, and without access to funds, they may go into debt, rely on handouts, or be forced into homelessness.
Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest bank and a global leader with a strong position in Europe, can use its size and influence to help the more than 1.5 million refugees in Germany in need of financial service. Our goal for the engagement is to encourage Deutsche Bank to work to ensure there are adequate resources in place to provide refugees with accessible, affordable, and useful financial products and services, including:
- Hire multilingual employees,
- Train staff on account opening requirements,
- Streamline the account opening process, and
- Create technology that allows beneficiaries with no banking relationship to more easily access funds.
In June 2017, Deutsche Bank responded to our inquiry and shared details about its work to connect and empower refugees displaced by war and conflict with financial products and services. The bank provides a basic account for EU residents and people without permanent residence, including homeless persons and asylum seekers. Many branches have multilingual staff, and additional services are offered to clients with a Turkish background. Changes are also underway with new digital technology that improve accessibility and provide electronic payment. In 2016, Deutsche Bank launched a Digital Factory, dedicated to developing digital banking products. We look forward to learning more about the ways Deutsche Bank is assessing the effectiveness of its efforts to better serve, protect, and empower refugees.