Shinhan vows to offer warm-hearted services
By Kim Tong-hyung
Shinhan Financial Group is cementing its reputation as the best moneymaker in the business but it doesn’t want its corporate image to be as cold either.
Since taking the management helm early last year, group Chairman Han Dong-woo has been strengthening the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts under a motto of ``compassionate finance.’’ And company officials now claim that the approach is beginning to be felt by customers as well as local communities.
This is because the renewed focus on CSR is changing the way Shinhan approaches its main business operations, according to one group executive. As a financial services firm, Shinhan enjoys dual strength in both retail and corporate financing and an ideal balance between banking and non-banking divisions, thanks to the impressive Shinhan Card.
While it’s hard to doubt that Shinhan’s business model had been more attentive to bigger companies and wealthier individuals, the strengthened CSR approach is allowing the group to detect new opportunities in developing and sophisticating financial services for small- to medium-sized companies, startups and lower-income earners, according to the Shinhan official.
Han took a group of senior executives, including Shinhan Bank CEO Suh Jin-won and Shinhan Card CEO Lee Jae-woo, to the Korea Red Cross volunteer center in Seoul recently where they put on aprons and rolled noodles to be donated to low-income families. He also used the occasion to stress that Shinhan’s compassionate banking is much more than just helping at community centers.
``Our commitment runs deeper than just community work. Our goal is to find more ways to contribute better to the financial success of our customers and provide real and immediate help to the communities we do business in,’’ said Han, who believes CSR will provide the group more creative ways to use its core business to inspire affection and trust from customers.
The compassionate banking initiative goes beyond the group’s previous, donation-centered CSR scheme and focuses on designing new financial products tailored for low-income households and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and integrating them into its overall business model.
To kick start the drive, Shinhan has identified 33 different projects, highlighted by its corporate success program (CSP) for financing promising but struggling SMEs, that are to be prioritized.
Shinhan Bank has introduced a new program aimed at helping SMEs with high potential but suffering from temporary cash flow problems. The bank will provide these companies more favorable loan conditions, including lower interest rates and flexible maturities.
Shinhan Card will postpone repayment deadlines by three to six months for customers whose livelihoods are damaged by typhoons, flash floods and other extreme weather conditions that are increasingly frequent as the country seems to be serving as a science project for global warming.