Pakistan's best bank for CSR 2021: Allied Bank
Allied Bank (ABL) has long put both employees and the wider public at the top of its corporate and social responsibility (CSR) agenda. That was no different in 2020 during the Covid crisis.
The bank footed all health costs associated with Covid for its staff and their dependants, boosting its medical support for employees by PRs10 million ($63,700) on top of the roughly PRs100 million it spends every year for health benefits. In all, spending on health doubled, compared to 2019.
More broadly for social projects spanning health, education and general community welfare, ABL, which is led by chief executive Aizid Razzaq Gill, spent about PRs23 billion, including donations and sponsorships. For social welfare, the bank spent five times more in 2020 than in 2019.
ABL also continued with its focus on a host of other initiatives. Green banking, for example, has been one of its priorities. It has worked on ways to reduce use of paper both internally and among clients, helped to propel use of renewable energy in the agricultural industry and made big efforts to replace old processes with technology.
In the long term, ABL expects to double its investment in green banking as it begins executing some of its plans. It is currently waiting for regulatory approval to begin lending to projects related to green banking. In the true sense of green, the bank also planted more than 1,000 trees last year in various parts of the country.
The firm does its bit to boost financial inclusion in Pakistan, a county with a population of more than 223 million but with a low financial inclusion ratio of 21%.
ABL launched a product called Allied Bharosa Account to help small and medium-sized enterprises enter formal banking channels. It worked with the central bank to focus on financial inclusion for women and youths. It held financial literacy programmes for farmers and SMEs, and used mobile banking units – effectively a bank branch on wheels – to take banking to the doorsteps of the under-served and those in rural parts of Pakistan.