Vietnam's best bank for CSR 2020: VPBank
The year started out well enough for Vietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank, or VPBank. It ended 2019 with a record 12.2% year-on-year jump in pre-tax profit, 109% of what it telegraphed to shareholders. Credit and deposits grew 17.6% and 23.7% respectively, well above target.
In February, VPBank became the first Vietnamese private bank to make consultancy Brand Finance’s top 300 list of the world’s most valuable financial institutions. Then came the Covid-19 shock to make this a very different year for chief executive Nguyen Duc Vinh’s team.
VPBank is considered one of the country’s savviest institutions. Its response to the pandemic included using its digital prowess to keep tabs of the health of its employees, as well as keeping them informed about social distancing procedures. But the bank sees an opportunity from the coronavirus: allowing it to encourage a wider pivot towards sustainable development in the country.
Of course, the immediate challenge is easing Covid-related troubles faced by its customers.
In Vietnam’s case, that involves scores of large companies facing a sudden shortfall of orders and difficulty importing raw materials. This means that millions of jobs hang in the balance, not to mention top-down gross domestic product performance.
All this has VPBank busily devising debt rescheduling or restructuring schemes to support household businesses. That includes new CSR-related programmes to support street-level shops. VPBank is also stepping out of its normal sphere of business with a rapidly devised, and free, training programme to educate households and street-level businesses about to sell their goods and services online via Facebook, Google, Zalo and a range of e-commerce platforms.
In the spirit of promoting social distancing, VPBank is offering livestream classes on mediums such as Facebook. Its sales staff are taking the classes, too. Why not use today’s crisis outreach to buttress brand loyalty for the post-Covid era?
VPBank isn’t losing sight of Hanoi’s longer-term efforts to promote sustainable development. It refuses to grant credit to activities that make chemicals or products with high carbon emissions that threaten wildlife and forests.
VPBank also has a commendable record of protecting human rights, including sponsoring projects that commit to high labour standards.