Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Credit Libanais is not just a bank. Credit Libanais is a corporate accountable citizen and a source of major wealth creation and development. This is why we are committed to customers, employees, communities and the environment. By making a significant contribution to economic and social progress, we honor the triple bottom-line of each business and the foundations of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): people, planet and profit.
A commitment to CSR is evident at all levels of our business:
This ensures we make a significant contribution to economic and social progress while protecting the environment by fostering a culture of green banking.
Responsible banking is in-line with the contemporary expectations of many stakeholders, including directors, management, suppliers, government, employees and the community. It shows a real concern for the needs of future generations. At Credit Libanais, we believe that sustainable growth is rooted in respect and responsibility, and that we can only succeed when our community succeeds. In light of this, we highlight the social, ethical and environmental aspects of our activities in our economic considerations. It is by balancing economic sustainability (profit) against social (people) and environmental (planet) sustainability, that our business becomes complete.
Substantial business means a dedication to sustainability at Credit Libanais. We believe:
The unity of society and its ability to work towards common goals must be maintained.
Individual needs, like health and well-being, nutrition, shelter, education and cultural expression must be met.
In the banking business, social sustainability encompasses the well-being of all stakeholders.
Nature must remain unharmed.
The extraction of renewed resources should not exceed the rate at which they are renewed.
The capacity of the environment to absorb wastes should not be exceeded.
Real profit happens when development geared towards social and environmental sustainability is financially feasible.
As a socially responsible investor, Credit Libanais Group looks for sustainable investment opportunities that maximize financial return and benefit society. Our CSR strategy embodies good citizenship, value chain impacts, and activities with large and distinctive effects.
Credit Libanais Group fully adheres to principles, guidelines and standards issued by international bodies. The main ones we follow are the:
We know that corporate governance is vital for our performance and the creation of an optimal operational environment. To this end, the Board at Credit Libanais fulfills its duties and exercises its authority through several committees including the Audit Committee. These delegated committees have clear missions and regular meetings with well-documented minutes and decisions.
This ensures that Credit Libanais's system of corporate governance builds the foundations of responsible and performance-oriented management and control, which focus on sustainable value creation as well as local and foreign expansion. For added efficiency, our corporate governance system has four key elements:
As part of our CSR initiative, and in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Credit Libanais uses a tailor-made Social and Environmental Management System (SEMS). SEMS is part of the Credit Libanais credit granting process. It ensures that issues related to environmental and socioeconomic sustainability are taken into consideration in the decision-making process from credit assessments to portfolio analysis. Our approach is comprehensive, going beyond standard compliance with regulations. The system assesses the environmental and social risks and opportunities that arise from customers’ business activities. It accordingly manages the Bank’s exposure to those risks and improves the efficiency of operations.
Credit Libanais CSR in the Market
Micro-financing to Build Capacity: Because very small loans are building blocks that support people's livelihoods, Credit Libanais has partnered with numerous local, regional and international agencies to make the financing of very small businesses viable within the Lebanese economy.
Lending Partnerships to Facilitate Access to Capital: To provide more people and communities with access to capital, Credit Libanais has partnerships with lending institutions and always pursues beneficial new alliances. These partnerships cover risk sharing, capital allocation and import guarantees. Whenever possible, we try to match these funds with existing subsidies in the Lebanese market to lower the cost of borrowing for our customers.
Subsidized Business Loans: Credit Libanais sees potential in small businesses. We are here to support businesspeople and entrepreneurs by helping them realize their goals.
Credit Libanais has partnered with Kafalat to offer subsidized loans for small and medium businesses. The Kafalat loan is a small business loan that empowers people with limited income to run their businesses successfully. We realize that the right financing helps our customers achieve their dreams to start up or expand their businesses.
Credit Libanais has developed a line of credit with the Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR) acting for the benefit of the Economic and Social Fund Development (ESDF). This credit facility aims to alleviate poverty and the social impact of the economic transition of disadvantaged groups.
In its efforts to work towards social justice, Credit Libanais has a line of credit and a credit risk sharing agreement with the IFC. The Bank has also paved the way for more development agreements with the IFC by conforming to all IFC requirements.
Housing Loans: In 2011 Credit Libanais granted more Iskan Housing Loans than any other Lebanese bank. This marked the third consecutive year in the number one spot! Iskan loans are granted through the Public Housing Institute (PHI) and make buying a home a possibility for low to mid-income families. The PHI lets these families have access to housing loans from Credit Libanais and pays the interest on these loans on their behalf. At the end of the loan period, homeowners pay the PHI the interest on these loans in convenient installments.
Always here to serve the needs of our clients, Credit Libanais has Home Loans with preferential interest rates and a repayment period between three to thirty years in equal monthly installments.
Credit Libanais Housing Loans also target the Lebanese Diaspora with ties to their roots. Our special housing loan scheme for expatriates helps cover the cost of buying, constructing or refurbishing a residence in Lebanon, the homeland.
Tailored Commercial Relationships: To offer more tailored services and products, Credit Libanais recognizes your real needs. We categorize our business clients into retail commercial and corporate customers depending on the turnover of each business. And we group our individual clients into segments according to their financial needs, level of working relationship with the Bank and demographic profile. Based on the results of this analysis, we personalize our services to each of these customer segments. This approach to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has allowed us to conduct targeted campaigns that respond to customers’ needs and expectations.
Banking Inclusion Strategy: Credit Libanais is committed to continuing its banking inclusion strategy based on salary domiciliation. This means we can make a bank account available to an increasing number of Lebanese in towns across the country (mainly in remote regions). At the same time, this enables the private and public sectors to pay employees via a Credit Libanais bank account, streamlining their work while reducing their operating costs. Through salary domiciliation, we offer the most competitive package deal to salaried employees. Payroll account holders are treated as special customers with tailor-made products.
Customer satisfaction: Credit Libanais is serious about customer satisfaction. In addition to in-house measuring and monitoring tools (like the employee performance matrix and mystery shopper), we advertise our complaints' inbox to make it easy for our customers to reach us. Our Customer Service Center also regularly launches campaigns to enhance client interaction and satisfaction.
The Quality Management System (QMS): Credit Libanais cares about quality and has a solid Quality Management System (QMS) that ensures continual improvement while achieving quality objectives that enhance client satisfaction.
Credit Libanais CSR at Work
Employment Opportunities: Credit Libanais is committed to equal employment opportunities and makes sure all policies, practices and decisions are based on the assessment of individual talent and achievements. Credit Libanais does not discriminate in employment opportunities or practices based on race, religion, sex, national origin, age or any other aspect. This policy of fairness and equality governs all aspects of employment and career advancement, from hiring to job assignment, compensation, discipline, termination, and access to benefits and training. We also encourage employees to report even the slightest sign of discrimination to their immediate supervisor or to send an email to the Recruitment and Evaluation Department.
A Smoke-Free Environment: We care about the health and well-being of our team, customers and suppliers. This is why we have a smoke-free work environment given that cigarette smoke is a threat to smokers and passive smokers alike. This non-smoking policy is strictly enforced by divisions, departments, units, branch heads and regular inspections.
Employee Publications and Communications: Credit Libanais is dedicated to transparency and to sharing information. We have an internal quarterly publication (Observer) which keeps our team up-to-date on the Group's latest corporate news. The quarterly features a combination of informative, argumentative, and financial and economic articles in addition to the staff’s latest news, events, achievements, interests, etc. Employees also receive regular updates on the latest developments in the banking industry through the FX and Market Snapshots, Weekly Market Watch, Monthly Economic Wrap, and CL Indices. This wealth of information is communicated via various internal e-channels as well. It represents the power to make informed decisions and creates a sense of belonging.
Employee Share Ownership Program: Citizenship starts internally. The Stock Ownership Program was introduced in 2006 through the generous contribution of Credit Libanais shareholders and has been part of the Bank ever since. The program cedes stocks to employees at a discount to book value. The dividends paid cover the cost of debt during the first years and employees are then free to keep or sell their shares at the end of the loan period.
Honoring the Best Performers: We encourage talent and want our team to feel motivated. Credit Libanais recognizes the performance of employees every quarter through the performance matrix. In addition to this, we have an annual honoring ceremony where Credit Libanais honors star employees across the Group based on their performance throughout the year. Using different criteria to ensure the evaluation process is comprehensive, we reward efficient and dedicated employees. These outstanding individuals are the Bank’s greatest added value.
A Recycling and E-Archiving Work Environment: Credit Libanais cares for nature and is keen to reduce its impact on the environment. This is why we:
Encourage employees to think before they click print. We have replaced personal printers with large departmental ones with double-sided document printing options to create a more paper-free work environment
Our commitment to the environment includes:
E-Learning Training and Development: Credit Libanais is the region's first retail bank to implement E-learning, a highly effective approach to education. Our drive to develop our team while adopting the best new approach to training resulted in our competing with top companies worldwide in our use of E-Learning according to the European E-learning Barometer. Flexibility is a major benefit of E-learning since it empowers our busy team members to take courses anytime when they want, where they want. Credit Libanais's E-learning program is proving to be a success (attracting 1383 employees to register and 428 to be active learners) with extremely high rates of learner satisfaction and solid results. We are always ready to go the extra mile for the sake of enriching our team so we can serve you better.
Credit Libanais CSR and the Community
Financing the Future: Credit Libanais is committed to contributing to the prosperity of the community. We support:
• Economic growth in communities where we do business
• Initiatives that help foster well-being, wealth and potential
• Resources that promote economic self-sufficiency
Combating Fraud and Money Laundering: Credit Libanais fights fraud and money laundering because they negatively impact banks, financial institutions and society at large. We believe that combating these illicit crimes goes beyond the call of duty and is the only way to conduct business within the multifaceted risk environment. At Credit Libanais, compliance is the norm all the way from the Group’s dedicated compliance officers to every staff member. Every day the Bank is exposed to many threats and the Compliance Department deals with these risks through strict compliance doctrines and rules of good conduct. These doctrines and rules ensure the highest professional standards and have become part of our employees' work ethic thanks to intranet availability and internal seminars.
Transparent Procurement: To guarantee transparency in procurement, Credit Libanais introduced invitations to tender several years ago. Purchases are made based on a bidding call and the decisions of bid committees, screening committees, compliance committees and delivery acceptance committees. This purchasing system provides all suppliers with equal opportunities. The result is a transparent system that guarantees the best quality products and services from suppliers at the best prices.
Active in Communities: Because we care about local civilization, we are keen to preserve Lebanese heritage. Credit Libanais believes that it is essential to safeguard our culture and protect our traditions and family values. This maintains our unique national identity. By working on the revival of rich Lebanese heritage and sponsoring diverse cultural events organized in different regions, we contribute to strengthening ties and the social interaction between people in the same village and different regions in the country. At Credit Libanais, we believe that what is good for the community is also good for us. This is why we strive to extend our reach throughout Lebanon to best serve each local community.
Contributions and sponsorships Each year, Credit Libanais contributes to professional, educational, cultural and social initiatives that positively enrich the community. We are eager to get "Close to You" and to be an integral part of people's lives. People and the community are what makes Credit Libanais prosper after all.
In 2011 we:
Credit Libanais CSR and the Environment
Environmental Preservation: Credit Libanais is committed to protecting nature through an environmentally conscious approach to banking. While green finance is still in its infancy in Lebanon, Credit Libanais understands the importance of regularly reviewing and updating lending strategies to align them with Social and Responsible Investment (SRI) standards. Our strategy embraces three priorities:
We also keep a close eye on environmental markets to best identify future opportunities that offer profitable incentives while minimizing our footprint and that of our customers and/or communities.
Green Products for Green Banking: To contribute to the development of sustainable environmental projects, we have developed (in line with the Central Bank’s recommendations) green products that fund projects with a positive environmental impact. The projects encompass eco-friendly initiatives in Lebanon, including green architecture and ecological ventures that use renewable energy, wind power, solar water heating panels, energy saving lighting systems, tiles cladding, and eco-bricks. The loans enjoy competitive interest rates which show Credit Libanais’s commitment to the planet and green banking.
Sound and Sustainable Considerations: Credit Libanais has an agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC). This is part of our drive to enhance sound banking principles and to promote environmentally and socially conscious development across all our activities. In light of this, all IFC loans undergo environmental and social appraisal in addition to financial, economic and legal analysis before any loans are granted. This ensures that the environmental and social implications are incorporated into the preparation and approval process, resulting in better decisions and sustainability.
Environmentally Viable: Good business must be good for nature. All the projects that Credit Libanais finances through the European Investment Bank (EIB) must be environmentally viable. Credit Libanais fully pledges itself to the EIB’s environmental objectives:
This is why anyone applying to EIB financing has to fill in an Environmental Survey that covers the environmental and social impact of the project. The environmental impact section details the project's effect on air, land, water, nature, natural resources and the built environment. The social impact section encompasses the effect on health, safety, society and cultural heritage. In the near future, Credit Libanais plans to include the same process in the assessment of its lending processes, thus making Credit Libanais's commitment to the environmental even more visible.