Mongolia's best bank for CSR 2017: Arig Bank
It’s hard to miss Arig Bank’s commitment to corporate and social responsibility and to sustainability in general.
Mongolia’s second-oldest commercial lender may not dominate the banking scene, and its headquarters on Chinggis Avenue, squeezed between a police station and a power plant, may be more humble and homespun than those of many of its peers, but it makes its mark in so many other ways.
Arig is deeply involved in CSR-related projects, both big and small.
At one end of the scale, it helps to recycle plastic – a scourge of the capital Ulan Bataar – by donating to a charity that crafts surprisingly comfortable sofas out of old drinks bottles.
Every Saturday, it holds seminars at its headquarters that teach students as young as 12 important lessons about financial matters, ranging from basic household budgeting to how to start a pension fund.
Every October it hosts a national financial literacy day; chief support officer Tumurkhuu Davaakhuu reckons the most recent event co-organised with the Mongolian Bankers Association was attended by 1,000 people of all ages.
The bank is deeply involved in tackling the capital’s dreadful air quality, reducing litter and waste, and bringing clean drinking water to every part of the country.
But two of its campaigns really stand out.
First up, its work with New York-based Achilles International, which helps to instil in disabled people a sense of confidence by promoting sporting activities, notably an annual mass run that has drawn 39,000 participants over the last three years. And second, by donating, along with ING Group, wash blocks and locker rooms to new kindergartens based in local-style Ger tents.
“We have 140,000 children who are not in pre-school education because of the lack of kindergartens,” says Davaakhuu. “Without these pre-schools, many working parents would leave their kids at home with the door locked, so for many of them, this programme is a genuine life saver.”