Kazakhstan's best bank for CSR 2019: Home Credit Bank
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Kazakhstan's best bank for CSR 2019: Home Credit Bank

Home Credit Bank

Karel Horak, CEO, Home Credit Bank.jpg
Karel Horak, Home Credit Bank

Home Credit Bank has a business model that is socially responsible almost by definition. The bank has built a strong consumer loan business, offering customers competitive rates in a market segment that often encourages predatory lending. It has since moved into lending to small and medium-sized enterprises, helping fund the growth engines of the future.

In many emerging markets, that would be enough. Banks in fast-growing economies often allow CSR to fall by the wayside, saying when pressed that their lending contributes, in a vague way, to the greater good. Not Home Credit.

The lender, which has been run by chief executive Karel Horak since August 2018, has made improving financial literacy a key part of its mission statement.

Home Credit first committed to improving financial literacy in Kazakhstan in 2014 and has since hosted more than 200 large events, attended by over 370,000 people, as well as 230 smaller-scale seminars. It has set up a website, Finclass, where its own staff offer tips to existing and potential clients alike.

The fully licensed bank, a subsidiary of a Czech consumer finance company, is also attempting the difficult job of teaching financial literacy to children, creating a Monopoly-style board game called ‘Financial forest’ and partnering with a local TV network to launch two seasons of a children’s show that has financial literacy as a key theme.

The bank appears to do little beyond financial literacy, but in a fast-growing economy where consumers are spoiled for choice by a large number of banks that is perhaps the most important topic for a financial institution to focus on.

Other banks might take a wider approach to CSR – a touch of sustainability there, a pinch of gender pay reviews there – these often feel like box-ticking exercises. Home Credit’s approach to financial literacy has gone well beyond that.

The bank was in the running for several awards this year but was pipped by stronger local rivals who remain a step ahead, but in its investments in CSR, Home Credit has no equals in Kazakhstan. That will engender customer loyalty and may be enough to tip the scales in those other battlegrounds it has with its rivals – those that will have a real impact on the bottom line.

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