Lebanon’s Jammal Trust Bank illustrates its successes in its CSR initiatives
editor's pickMonday 22, October 2018
Jammal Trust Bank (JTB) has recently looked to elevate its CSR initiatives. Following its strategy of caring and nurturing sustainable development and inclusiveness, JTB is one of the very few banks in Lebanon that cover almost all of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). JTB strongly believes in social welfare, education, environmental sustainability and financial inclusion, to name a few, and continues to foster its legacy of giving by supporting numerous communities and providing assistance to various International and local NGOS every year.
JTB promotes the importance of education by supporting over 2,000 outstanding students at Lebanese schools and universities through the scholarships that it grants yearly. JTB also supports the Ali Jammal Social Education Institutions that consists of several schools in Jwaya, South of Lebanon, that provide educational services to limited income families. These include Jwaya University College for Technology, Ali Jammal High School and the Technical Vocational School.
From an environmental perspective, JTB actively participates in promoting the conservation of nature, its development and biological diversity in Lebanon. Every year, JTB gathers with professors, experts and eager learners at the International Biodiversity Day at the American University of Beirut (IBDAA) to discuss creative methods and come up with sustainable solutions to environmental challenges. JTB sorts waste at the source in all its working premises and is working towards turning into a paperless institution. The Bank has also financed the implementation of two nature reserve sites in Lebanon (one in Khirbet Selm and one in Taybeh). Notably, JTB was the first to introduce green energy loans and has added an environment related parameter to the assessment of its commercial and industrial loans.
Following its slogan ‘We speak your language,’ the Bank has decided to ‘speak the language’ of those who are unbanked, which constitute almost half of the Lebanese population, according to the latest data from Global Findex 2017, by World Bank Group, by creating a product, ‘Save and Win’, geared towards financial inclusion. Those that are unbanked are commonly known as those who don’t have bank accounts nor use banking services and have rarely or have never been to a Bank. The most commonly cited reason for not having an account for them was that accounts are too expensive and they bear high commissions and fees. JTB, in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), became the only bank in Lebanon to promote a prize-linked saving account with no fees, no commissions and no minimum deposit amount.
As part of the Bank’s corporate social responsibility initiative, ‘Save and Win’ was designed to motivate individuals to continuously save for a rainy day and give them a chance to win numerous prizes through a monthly draw as they increase their savings. JTB’s conviction is that financial inclusion contributes to alleviating poverty and to speed up economic development by integrating the unbanked and needy into the mainstream of economic activity and effectively harnessing their potential contribution to their communities. Notably, JTB was the first bank in Lebanon to collaborate with an organisation specialised in supporting small and micro businesses with more than $96 million in loan grants to almost 60,000 borrowers. JTB is also the only bank in Lebanon that has more than 60 per cent of its branches in rural areas and spread across non-high density communities in order to come closer to its clients.
Furthermore, to educate and bridge the gap between the financial sector and younger unbanked communities, JTB launched awareness courses across schools and universities, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Higher learning and USAID, to teach 8,000 young students more about the banking sector, ensuring their future’s financial acumen. Jammal Trust Bank invests in those that need it the most because all individuals have the potential to prosper in their own way.
In the medical field, JTB works with prominently active organisations concerned with the wellbeing of children, professional training to doctors and the Red Cross volunteers, mental health, home care to people with terminal illness, the elderly and drug addiction treatment, among others. All of these organisations are specialised in what they offer, have expertise in their various fields and believe in building a better tomorrow for the people they serve. Their impact has already been felt at more than one level by the Lebanese Public, and JTB is proud to contribute to their various missions.
In addition, JTB has been actively supporting mine action operations in Lebanon for many years and has helped both local and international NGOS with very badly needed equipment and financial support to clear lands in the south from mines and cluster bombs. JTB has also been collaborating with the Embassy of Japan to Lebanon to support mine risk awareness programmes in schools in Lebanon and the LMAC demining school that teach affected communities how to recognise landmines, better manage the risks and dangers associated with these mines and report threats.
JTB believes in the importance of spreading awareness about the mines, as this by itself would decrease civilian casualties by 85 per cent. JTB has also, developed a microfinance programme in order to help owners of cleared lands develop their properties into a sustainable project. A loan is given over an extended period of time with encouraging interest rates for land owners to become self-sufficient. This in turn will increase their living standards and boost the Lebanese economy at the same time.
Last but not least, JTB believes in gender equality and reducing inequalities, as 56 per cent of senior managers at the bank are women. The Bank also promotes the importance of eradicating poverty and hunger and sponsors every month a dinner at Tawlet’s Soup Kitchen (Aasha el Tayeb) to welcome needy families, orphans, refugees and people in need.