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Home >> nonprofits & donors >> CSR Companies >> Standard Chartered Bank (SCB)
Banking on service

Taking its social-service orientation to new heights, Stanchart Bank has been involving its employees in most of its community initiatives.

So you thought all that banks did was to keep your money, pay you interest and offer loans when you needed it. Well, most banks still do only that. However, Standard Chartered, which happens to be one of the country’s largest international banks, is involved in real partnerships with local community organisations, involving active participation of its employees in their community projects.

It is the human face of banks. Or what is called corporate social responsibility, the new term devised for the social service that companies do with some of their profits. For Stanchart however, it has been a long-standing and deep-rooted commitment. In fact, as Mervyn Davies, the group chief executive puts it: “Community involvement is part of the DNA of the bank.”

According to our philosophy, Sarvendriyaanam Nayanam Pradhanam (the eye is the most important sense organ). And India has over 12 million blind people. So it is easy to understand why helping the visually impaired was Stanchart’s first external global community fund raising project. Called ‘Seeing is Believing’, it has an ambitious target of restoring the sight of 28,000 people across the world, with 6,500 surgeries having already been performed in India. The screening camps and surgeries have been conducted in partnership with NGOs across India, especially ICARE Hospital in Uttar Pradesh’s Noida, Sankara Nethralaya and Helpage India, followed by post-operative check-ups .

The global community programme of the bank is called ‘Believing in Life’. Part of this is the internal initiative ‘Living with HIV’. An extension of the programme in Africa, it seeks to create awareness about this deadly disease and thus help prevention by educating all its staff across the different countries from where the bank operates.

Children and their education is another target area. The Victoria Memorial School for the Blind, Mumbai has received assistance for the renovation of their heritage building and regular funding for education of visually impaired children.

Stanchart is also a major donor to and supporter of the Balwadi programmes, ‘Pratham Mumbai Initiative’ and ‘Pratham Delhi Initiative’, which aim to provide educational facilities to poor children.

Bangalore has been one of the main cities to which they have lent a helping hand. The staff has organised a mid-day meal programme for underprivileged children at Peenya. In addition, they have been providing funds for DHRITI, a project that involves the sponsorship of a year’s supply of medicine for the destitute and aged. Stanchart announced its intent to include donations to the Akshaya Patra programme to the list of reward redemption options, thereby offering card members an opportunity to contribute to community development.

The Bangalore Police has also benefited from Stanchart. They received 10 two-wheelers for keeping the city clean and free of anti-social elements. All vehicles in the City were also given a free emission check-up to help in pollution-control.

Taking its social-service orientation to new heights, Stanchart launched an annual community initiative on June 1, 2004, under the banner ‘Believing in Life–India Community Partnership’. On the occasion, Rs 25 lakh was donated to ICARE hospital in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. And this is only the beginning. The India Community Partnership is planned as a long-term initiative to implement meaningful and sustainable projects which really help people, especially the needy.

Interestingly, many of the Stanchart staff will be actually involved in the community service. The bank, according to Chris Low, CEO, Standard Chartered Bank, India region, also hopes to rope in their retail and corporate customers and vendors to support the programme.

Deccan Herald, Tuesday, July 20, 2004