Shinhan Bank Pursuing Sustainable Management
This is the third in a six-part series of articles on the nation's vision to become a green economic power in the global community and the recent developments of ``green finance'' in Korea to support the vision. ― ED.
By Kim Jae-kyoung
Shinhan Bank, one of the nation's leading lenders, is gearing up to take the lead in local banks' green drive by unveiling a strategy in line with the government's ambitious vision to transform the country into a green economic power.
The bank has sought to become an advanced financial services provider by placing a top priority on management based on so-called ``sustainability management'' philosophy.
``We are giving positive consideration to financial businesses for public interests such as the promotion of low-carbon, green growth to meet public expectations for financial firms. Our key principle in management is to be socially responsible by extending more credit to environment-friendly businesses,'' a Shinhan Bank executive said.
``To that end, we plan to expand financial support for alternative energy industries and provide new loans for eco-friendly companies,'' he added. ``For pollutant-generating firms, we will slash credits.''
In particular, in May 2008, Shinhan came up with the green growth, credit management roadmap in a move to establish a credit policy for such industries.
Under the new roadmap, the lender is taking the degree of firms' environmental friendliness as one of the key criteria in credit evaluation, while reducing money supply to those engaged in environmentally-harmful businesses.
In addition, the lender has developed an education program on green finance and is providing relevant lessons to employees at branches nationwide.
Since the introduction of its roadmap, the bank has introduced a wide variety of environment-friendly financial products.
Most recently, the bank sold ``Shinhan Energy Installment Savings,'' in a move to motivate customers to join the energy saving campaign. The product offers prime rates based on transaction records. The outstanding balance of the product stood at 770 billion won at the end of July.
``In the future, we plan to hold a variety of events for those signing up for the product, such as an idea competition for energy consumption,'' a Shinhan official said.
In February, the bank introduced a new loan product dubbed the ``Shinhan Solar Power Loan,'' in order to support the energy industry by supplying funds for the construction of the solar power plants.
The product was designed to supply money for the construction of plants and allow developers to pay off debts in installments. The maturity of the loan is up to 15 years.
The lender is also selling green investment trusts, such as the ``Shinhan BNPP Clean World Investment Trust,'' a product designed to invest in eco-friendly businesses, and the ``Tops Beautiful SRI Investment Trust,'' which was developed to invest in socially responsible companies.
The bank is also developing eco-friendly products, such as the green welfare trust and the Nakdong River saving passbook, and making donations based on a matching grant method. ``We will continue to make efforts to develop environment-friendly financial products in the future,'' the official said.
At the same time, Shinhan has expanded their financial support for green growth, eco-friendly industries. The bank has provided a total of 200 billion won for the construction of 33 solar energy power plants and 92 billion won for the development of wind power plants and energy waste facilities.
The lender is taking a lead in participating in global environment initiatives by signing up for CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) 7. It is also actively partaking in local public campaigns ― such as ``STOP! Co2'' ― organized by environmental foundations.
Shinhan plans to continue to carry out a project that involves attaching nature-friendly labels on trees at 18 national parks around the nation and raising awareness among mountain climbers about preserving nature.
In addition, the company is holding an annual nationwide environmental picture competition, sponsored by the Ministry of Environment to promote the importance of environmental preservation. It is also actively taking part in campaigns to protect plant and animal treasures.