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INTERVIEW: Social corporate responsibility – a new aspect of banking activity

INTERVIEW: Social corporate responsibility – a new aspect of banking activity Serghei Cebotari, Chairman of the Management Board of Moldova Agroindbank

CHISINAU (Moldova), November 14 (SeeNews) - Social corporate responsibility is an important element of banks' development strategies and a long-term investment, the chairman of the management board of Moldova Agroindbank told SeeNews in a recent interview.

"Accelerated social and economic changes across the world compel companies, in our case commercial banks, to change their business models, along with the way they interact with customers and stakeholders. Social corporate responsibility (SCR) is no longer an abstract concept in Moldova, it is an important element of healthy development strategies of companies and commercial banks," Serghei Cebotari said in an interviewfor the latest issue of the SEE TOP 100 ranking prepared by SeNews.

"Moreover, SCR is now considered to be a long-term investment, which shall be planned and focused on quantifiable results," he added.

Following is the full text of the interview:

 

Q: Large companies have become increasingly involved in the life of society over the past years. How do you explain the enhanced interest on the part of the business in this area?

A: Accelerated social and economic changes across the world compel companies, in our case commercial banks, to change their business models, along with the way they interact with customers and stakeholders. Social corporate responsibility (SCR) is no longer an abstract concept in Moldova, it is an important element of healthy development strategies of companies and commercial banks. Moreover, SCR is now considered to be a long-term investment, which shall be planned and focused on quantifiable results. What do we mean by SCR? There are several ways to define this concept. I would say that companies implement various social responsibility projects in order to add to the state’s efforts to develop society and improve living standards.

To Moldova Agroindbank (MAIB), SCR is a responsible business approach on which relationships with stakeholders are built. We organise our activity to ensure that everyone interacting with the bank is able to reach their objectives: provide customers with access to high-quality banking services to help them achieve their plans; provide our company’s employees with opportunities to develop their potential; offer stakeholders a sustainable and profitable object for long-term investments; provide society with development and life improvement opportunities.

Q: What are the most important SCR projects carried out by MAIB?

A: Nowadays, banks are assessed not only by their services and profit obtained, but also by their ability to back society. MAIB actively backs a number of social responsibility projects, contributing to the cultural, education, sport and social development of the communities in which it operates. I am proud to say that Moldova Agroindbank has been providing financial support and maintaining partnership ties for a long time with the Charity Social-Medical Foundation Angelus Moldova, Clipa Siderala Foundation and the National Olympic Committee, which enhances our efforts to participate in the community life.

One of our social missions is to bring a positive change to Moldova’s child and youth education. To this end, MAIB backs the National Business Plan Contest, which is annually organised in partnership with the National Association of Young Managers. For
more than 16 years, the bank has been providing support to the Educational Advising Centre to organise the Merit Scholarships programme, within which the best 50 Moldovan students are granted special study scholarships. The bank undertakes the same level of responsibility within the Scholarships for Your Future programme as well. The project is designed to help students from socially-vulnerable families, with the best 30 of them being granted scholarships to continue their studies.

Q: Significant efforts have been taken lately at world level to improve young people’s financial education. What is the contribution of MAIB in this sector?

A: Moldova Agroindbank is an active participant in events held during the Global Money Week, including the ones organised by the National Bank of Moldova. MAIB volunteers during youth financial education activities in order to improve youth’s financial knowledge and provide them with the necessary tools to shape their future. Thus, MAIB specialists have been teaching financial education classes in various Moldovan universities and preuniversity education institutions for several years, sharing their professional experience with students and helping them to achieve a better understanding of the financial sector. Therefore, they are very receptive to such trainings.

Q: What other programmes does the bank support?

A: Taking into account that micro, small and medium-sized enterprises are a key sector of the national economy, MAIB became a traditional partner of the International Conference of SMEs, organised by the Economics Ministry and the Organisation for Small and Medium Enterprises Sector Development. MAIB also backs various local and regional contests, designed to award the best entrepreneurs from various communities and encourage the local business development. We also provide SMEs with access to funds needed to ensure development in a highly-competitive environment.

Our corporate responsibility also aims to ensure safe working conditions for our employees and invest in environment protection.

Q: Moldova Agroindbank has been recently conferred an award, which is an international acknowledgment in the field of SCR. Could you please provide more details on this?

A: The British magazine Capital Finance International (CFI) has recently conferred the title of “Best Social Impact Bank – Moldova 2017” on Moldova Agroindbank as a sign of recognition of the bank’s active involvement in social responsibility projects. Of course, we have always been aware of the impact our daily actions have on people’s lives, but this high appreciation from CFI proves that our banking business is wisely managed and that it responds to the needs of Moldova’s society, improving people’s lives.

We have committed to contribute to the development of society and we understand how important this is for the development of the whole country, and hence, of the bank I have the honour to manage. As the famous British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said, for a good reason, “The price of greatness is responsibility”.

What, in your view, will the future of SCR look like in Moldova?

The insistent involvement in the SCR sector of a small group of companies, at the end of the day aroused the awareness of most Moldova-based businesses. Currently, most companies are aware of the importance to take action and back communities. Therefore, I am confident that social corporate responsibility in Moldova has great development prospects.

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