Taiwan's best bank for CSR 2019: E.Sun
Corporate and social responsibility hasn’t gained much traction in industrialized, ultra-capitalist Taiwan, but E.Sun is one bank that takes it seriously. Chief executive Joseph Huang says it is part of E.Sun’s ethos.
Owned largely by its employees, E.Sun, says Huang, was started in 1992 to advance the common good by servicing the then-emerging but underbanked army of small and medium-size enterprises, and that philosophy underpins its day-to-day business today.
That’s not to say E.Sun is a charity – far from it – but Huang says its goal is to financially empower the Taiwanese and bring the country with it. This is exemplified by what it claims is the island’s first public-private partnership financial plan, developed by E.Sun with the influential Taipei city authority, the state’s small and medium-sized enterprise credit guarantee fund and the official SMECF, the Small and Medium Enterprise Counselling Foundation.
The model shortens normal bank loan application time by a third while extending facilities to enterprises that might not ordinarily qualify for conventional financing, and with the lowest interest rate – 1.6% – in the country. E.Sun has devoted around $3 million to this ‘Smile and Hope Loan’ programme.
It has also been active in extending education to some of the island’s more remote and disadvantaged regions with its ‘Golden Seeds’ project to improve literacy in such areas.
As of 2018, about 140 libraries have been built, with 240,000 books donated. The medium-term target is to add 60 more libraries. The project is supported by E.Sun’s MasterCard, which has 200,000 cards issued. E.Sun says 70% of its VIP customers took the card because of its support for Golden Seed.