SINGAPORE – Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) on Tuesday (Oct 8) launched its sustainable deposit offering for both corporate and retail clients in Singapore, said to be Asia’s first.

For retail clients, the bank is offering a promotional rate of 1.9 per cent interest for a minimum placement of US$5,000 for a tenor of three months. Priority banking clients will get a rate of 2 per cent. This promotional period will last till Oct 31, 2019, and applies only to fresh funds with the bank.

Liquidity raised will be referenced against sustainable assets supported by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and can be used to finance climate-friendly projects, small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries, undertake microfinance and provide funds for a variety of sustainable projects.

This follows StanChart’s earlier launch of its sustainable deposit in the UK in May 2019, but it was available only to corporate investors.

Patrick Lee, CEO of StanChart Bank Singapore, said that while green deposits – dedicated to renewable energy – are increasing in popularity, this is the first time any bank has launched a deposit product linked to sustainability and the SDGs.

As to why the bank decided to make it available to retail clients in Singapore, he said that StanChart is taking its cue from its clients.

According to an earlier StanChart survey, Singapore has the highest number of high net worth investors in Asia who are savvy about sustainable investing, and this is expected to grow.

“In corporate banking and asset management, we have seen a mainstreaming of environmental and social governance in risk management, financing decisions and investment analysis,” he noted. “This is now commonly a compliance requirement in more and more markets around the world.”

The sustainable deposit, launched under the bank’s Green and Sustainable Product Framework, is developed in collaboration with Sustainalytics, a provider of environment, social and corporate governance research.

The framework sets the basis for future sustainable products to help fund the SDGs across the bank’s footprint markets, especially in developing countries.