Vietnam's best bank for CSR 2018: SHB
Saigon Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank
Corporate and social responsibility is still a relatively new thing in Vietnam. Most banks channel a portion of their capital to worthy causes, but their limited resources are often spread thinly: many seeds are scattered in the hope that a few will grow. Saigon-Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SHB), led by chief executive Nguyen Van Le and one of the country’s big-five privately owned lenders by assets, has opted for a more systematic approach to CSR. Over the past year, its ‘Love sharing’ and ‘Wings of faith’ programmes sent D5 billion ($215,000) worth of gifts (clothing, books, food) to the children of disadvantaged families, while also delivering invaluable leadership skills and lessons.
But it is in the arena of financial inclusion that SHB really stands out. In recent years, it has focused on disbursing capital to the coffee farmers whose efforts have transformed Vietnam into the world’s second-largest producer of the lucrative cash crop.
Production is mostly located in the mountainous Central Highlands region. Remote and sparsely inhabited, coffee is still largely grown using traditional methods. Money is scarce, modern farming equipment rarer still, and farmers have little in the way of equity or collateral. So SHB has dug in and helped out. With the mantra ‘No one gets left behind’, it has rolled out products that help household firms with low credit accessibility and brought under-banked and unbanked small firms into the formal financial system by offering short- and medium-term loans (such as industrial crop financing) at preferential interest rates.
By March, total bank lending to 200 coffee growers in five central provinces was D50.66 billion, accounting for 7.2% of outstanding household business and individual loans. A worthy programme from a thoughtful institution.