How financial institutions can serve the common good of society: Insights from Catholic Social Teaching
Catholic Social Teaching
Financial companies
Conflicts of interest
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Guitián, G. (2021). How financial institutions can serve the common good of society: Insights from Catholic Social Teaching. Business Ethics, the Environment & Responsibility 
This article addresses the service of financial companies to society from the perspective of the Catholic Social Teaching (hereinafter CST), specifically regarding conflicts of interest between banks and their customers. The article begins with a case based on interviews with professionals in the financial sector, which provides the context for the CST’s contribution. The analysis of the aforementioned conflicts points to an apparent disconnect between service to society and service to customers. Thus, the bank would set aside the customer’s interests in exchange for a better service to society through good results. This article presents the CST’s normative framework to analyze this matter through some of the CST’s principles: the centrality of the person, the respect for her dignity, and the orientation to the common good. These principles and the CST’s ethical concept of service provide guidance in assessing these conflicts of interest. From an ethical point of view and according to CST, there cannot be a true service to society if the dignity of the client is not respected. It is necessary to review the organization’s incentive policy and level of awareness about the importance of customer service. We end with recommendations related to conflicts of interest with clients.

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