Japan's best bank for CSR 2019: Bank of America
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Japan's best bank for CSR 2019: Bank of America

Bank of America

Reiko Hayashi, Deputy President, Bank of America.jpg
Reiko Hayashi, Bank of America

Corporate social responsibility and sustainability are central to the Bank of America ethos, from the top executives down to the scrupulously regimented office bin policies. The bank’s drive has one of its most important advocates in Reiko Hayashi, the deputy president for Japan and a long-standing figure in the development of the country’s debt capital markets.

Hayashi was involved in the first green bond from Japan, when Bank of America Merrill Lynch (as it was then) was structuring agent for Development Bank of Japan in 2014, and has been central to the establishment of this now crucial corner of the Japanese capital markets ever since.

Hayashi was one of the advisers to the ministry of the environment when it developed green bond guidelines, and she serves as a member of the council for promoting the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the security industry at the Japan Securities Dealers Association.

More recently she was made a board member of the International Capital Market Association, the only Asia-based representative (Ken Hu, also on the board, is from the London branch of Bank of China). In this role she is able to convey to the largely American and European board the different challenges and opportunities around sustainability issuance in Asia.

“It is quite meaningful to be able to present the Asian situation, especially around green bonds,” she says. “That’s one of the reasons I accepted the role.”

It is a surprise to many that one in seven Japanese children lives in poverty, and Bank of America has given grants to five NGOs supporting women and children in difficulty.

Hayashi was shocked after visiting victims of the devastating Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011, and the programme grew from there.

Bank of America also runs an arts conservation project that funds the restoration of Japanese historical treasures.

The two most senior people in Bank of America in Japan are women – which is extremely unusual in a financial services industry still dominated by men. Tamao Sasada is the president of the Japan operation and has had an important role in driving CSR herself: she is one of two members from Asia on BofA chief executive Brian Moynihan’s global diversity and inclusion council. The two women are rare female role models in Japanese banking.