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Philippines' best bank for CSR 2017: BDO Unibank

BDO Unibank

The Philippines does not lack for lenders that can see both the country’s potential and its widespread poverty. Giving something back has long been on the agenda of financial institutions, large and small. But few lenders can compete with BDO Unibank, whose corporate and social responsibility arm, BDO Foundation, has become a surprising first line of help for families that have lost everything, usually due to natural or man-made disasters such as hurricanes and monsoons.

When a crisis occurs, hundreds of BDO volunteers mount relief operations, setting up evacuation control centres to distribute food and water to disaster victims. The foundation also works to rebuild schools and hospitals destroyed by flooding or landslips.

In 2016 alone, BDO Foundation helped rebuild and reopen 11 health centres that serve a population of 800,000 and which had been devastated by heavy rains and typhoons. Relief efforts are directed through BDO Unibank’s more than 1,000 nationwide outlets, with branch officers at both BDO and its rural banking subsidiary, One Network Bank, helping the foundation to pinpoint health centres in the greatest need of help.

In the foundation’s own words, its “advocacy is disaster response” – meaning that it exists to help those who have least and who have lost the most. In a country highly vulnerable to climate change and shifting weather patterns, it’s hard to think of a service that is needed more.