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
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
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
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.
Herald, Tuesday, July 20, 2004