Sri Lanka's best bank for CSR 2017: Hatton National Bank
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Sri Lanka's best bank for CSR 2017: Hatton National Bank

Hatton National Bank

Jonathan Alles, MD and CEO, Hatton National Bank (HNB).jpg
Jonathan Alles, Hatton National Bank

In a country looking to build a safe, sustainable recovery after decades of conflict and upheaval, it is no surprise that all the big financial institutions in Sri Lanka take their commitment to corporate social responsibility seriously. This award was therefore fiercely contested.

Good corporate citizenship for a Sri Lankan bank doesn’t come much more profound than caring for Adam’s Peak. Sacred to Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims alike, Adam’s Peak’s remoteness, high in the island’s central highlands, is no impediment to pilgrims, who tend to leave the holy site in a mess after paying their respects.

Enter HNB, which was founded 129 years ago near here (HNB’s ‘H’ is for the mountain town of Hatton), so sponsorship of the mountain clean-up, drinking water and sanitation facilities is also close to its heart.

Potable water is at the centre of HNB’s national safe water campaign, where it has built purification plants, storage tanks and upgraded plumbing systems across the island, in a region where kidney disease is prevalent. It sponsors similar programmes for cancer and HIV awareness.

HNB’s literacy campaign supports more than 200 schools and reaches 50,000 children.

Its efforts don’t stop at typical CSR projects. For example, in a country with a rapidly ageing population, HNB has introduced a government pensioners personal loans scheme.

HNB’s CSR activities are smart and focused. Yes, it is aimed at building business, and tends to be branded, but it is also subtle – sometimes Sri Lankans don’t even know HNB has been there before them.