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Uzbekistan's best bank for CSR 2020: Orient Finans Bank

Orient Finans Bank

Babur Parpiev, Chairman, Orinet Finans Bank.jpg
Babur Parpiev, Orient Finans Bank

Orient Finans Bank is relatively small by Uzbek standards. Its Som4.3 trillion ($450 million) of assets means it cannot compete with the country’s state-owned firms, while only Hamkorbank truly eclipses it among the country’s privately owned lenders. But when it comes to the bank’s corporate and social responsibility (CSR) efforts, it has an outsized impact on the market.

Some rival bankers admit their institutions have not paid much attention to CSR during Uzbekistan’s rapid and sweeping reforms over the last few years. Under the watch of chairman Babur Parpiev, Orient Finans has become a clear exception to this rule.

Sightseeing tours for orphans, fitness drives and sports sponsorship – the bank’s range of CSR efforts fit a type: local and direct. Orient Finans does not appear to go in for the grand gestures and heady rhetoric that sometimes define CSR initiatives at other banks. Instead, its executives just try to fix problems.

Some of these are broad financial literacy problems, making it among a long line of emerging market banks to put this at the forefront of their efforts. Others are very specific, for example paying for surgery for a boy born with heart disease.

Orient Finans deserves plaudits for its approach. For many banks, CSR is a marketing device. For Orient Finans, it appears to be a way to really make a difference.

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