The FINANCIAL -- Business is an integrated part of society and having a socially responsible strategy is very important, believes the management of Progress Bank. The Bank has been actively executing projects that are environment-, citizen- and employee-friendly. In 2016 Progress Bank plans to implement a long-term policy in terms of its CSR.
“Progress Bank realises with full responsibility that it is a part of society and therefore contributes to the development of society. Our goal is to have a positive impact with our work on the society in which we operate. CSR has always been prioritized for Progress Bank. Thus we have always been quite active in this direction. There was no exception in this regard in 2015. Last year we implemented various CSR projects. The strategic directions were focused on society, clients, employees, environment protection and healthcare. Some of the projects were of a higher budget, some lower. However, most important is the fact that social activities were carried out,” Akaki Kordzadze, CEO of Progress Bank, told The FINANCIAL.
The total budget of CSR activities amounted to 18% of the profit of Progress Bank in 2015.
“Last year was a reactive period. This year we will determine a long-term plan in this regard. Innovations will be prioritized for us in the future,” said Kordzadze.
Kordzadze believes that CSR activities are necessary for businesses. “We are obliged to create a better environment in the society we live in. No business stands separately from the public.”
At the end of 2015 Progress Bank underwent rebranding. The Bank has switched to radically new channels in terms of services and branding. The new slogan of the Bank is: We Created it for You.
“We have taken effective measures, and increased the area of services. The Bank implemented a 24-hour service system and remote services. Software bases were also updated. All the procedures recently implemented are fully customer-oriented. We created new workplaces and hired qualified staff. We managed to double our assets by attracting new customers and offering them user-friendly products. We are really proud to be contributing to the construction of social prosperity,” said Kordzadze.
A brief description of the CSR activities of Progress Bank implemented in 2015:
The largest in scale was assistance of the victims of the Tbilisi flooding. The Bank contributed GEL 50,000 to this cause. The sum measured about 10% of its profit of the year. It was one of the highest rates in the banking sector.
Another very large-scale campaign was held on 9 May. The Bank congratulated WW2 veterans and issued financial assistance to 610 veterans. The sum amounted to GEL 30,500.
Within the framework of its social activities the Bank joined an event held for the 5-year anniversary of the Monk Andria Fund. The Fund was established in 2012 in Tbilisi. It supports young adults under 18 who are suffering from terminal cancer, with their rehabilitation and improvement of their quality of life. It was the first time that the Bank had issued financial assistance to the Fund.
Progress Bank decided to contribute to the planting project initiated by City Hall. The management of the Bank believes that community involvement is very important in this regard. The Bank appealed to City Hall, following which they were allotted an area in Dendrite Park. Employees of Progress Bank planted 500 cypress trees there. It was the first time that Progress Bank had been involved in a greening campaign. The management plans to continue activity in this direction in the future.
In 2015 Progress Bank was involved in the photo campaign - Friends do not Count Chromosomes - initiated by the union ‘Our Children’. It was established to raise awareness of Down’s syndrome.
For two years already the Bank has been purchasing Christmas trees from the NGO ‘Child, Family, Society’, which works with people with disabilities. The Bank uses these souvenirs while congratulating its employees and clients at New Year. Employees of the Bank personally visited their friends on 3 December - International Day of Persons with Disabilities - and gave gifts as well as attended the manufacturing process of these souvenirs.
Progress Bank periodically helps the beneficiaries of the charity organization ‘Catharsis’, by financing dinners for them. Participation in a photo campaign arranged by Catharsis - We Will Also Grow Old - also took place last year.
The Director of the Bank feels proud to find out how socially responsible his employees are. Bank workers are arranging various activities on their own initiative. For example, during the Tbilisi flooding they purchased essential items for the victims on their own initiative.
The active involvement of Progress Bank employees in greening campaigns is also worth mentioning. They bought seedlings in addition to those bought by the bank and later planted them with their family members in an area of Dendropark.
Each Progress Bank employee is involved in the construction on Makhata Mountain. They transfer a certain amount of money to it every month.
In line with its involvement in environmental projects the Bank participated in the cleaning campaign initiated by the National Bank of Georgia - Clean up Georgia.
The Internal CSR of Progress Bank:
Progress Bank gives its employees an opportunity to develop, improve their qualifications, acquire new skills and get promoted. The company has introduced a system of incentive bonuses. An Intranet has been introduced for the effective communication of staff. Progress Bank workers are able to quickly obtain information about the company’s innovations and corporate offers.
The Bank also has an insurance package for each employee.
Progress Bank’s staff are involved in sporting activities. They train every week and take part in internal competitions.
The Bank holds corporate parties. Its first service branch was opened on 24 November, 2008. Since then, holding corporate events at the end of November each year has become a tradition. Last year’s event was radically different and was based on an original idea. None of the employees, except for the organizers, knew what the destination of the event was going to be. They were divided into teams and were only able to reach their final destination with the help of puzzles and clues. All the participants found it fun and interesting. At this event we always reveal the winners of different nomination categories. We try to show our workers that we value their work. It gives everyone additional stimulus.
This year Progress Bank introduced a new tradition of holding a corporate event which is also attended by our clients.