Standard Chartered wins The Banker’s Financial Inclusion Award
Hanoi, 12th December 2011 - Standard Chartered was recognised for its leadership in improving access to finance last night, receiving the Financial Inclusion Award at The Banker’s 2011 ‘Bank of the Year’ Awards. The Financial Times owned magazine’s annual awards are regarded as the industry standard for banking excellence.
Standard Chartered received the Financial Inclusion Award in light of its strong international presence, and the breadth of projects that it has undertaken to broaden access to finance. The projects noted included the Bank’s innovative financing structure for African farmers, enabling them to borrow against non-traditional collateral, such as cattle, rather than fixed assets. This structure empowers farmers to make more effective use of their capital, for example to access storage and mechanisation.
Another project noted was Standard Chartered’s unique microfinance model introduced in Thailand. The Bank worked with Thailand’s Population and Community Development Association (PDA) to create the Village Development Bank (VDG) in Ban Nong Pruek Village to help villagers, who do not own land or any other collateral, to access credit. The village bank has gained 70 individual members whose savings have grown to almost US$ 2,850. The village bank, owned by village members, provides loans from US$200-1000 with repayment terms from up to two years. The majority of loans are for agriculture, including planting of key crops for resale. As a result of the new village bank, average income levels have grown almost 11 per cent from 2010, while average debt levels have decreased by 12 per cent.
Standard Chartered continues to introduce new products to increase access to finance for its customers. The Bank has recently launched the ‘Talking ATM’ in China, Korea, India and Indonesia. The ‘Talking ATM’ allows visually-impaired individuals to carry out routine transactions such as cash withdrawal, changing PINs and checking their balances through an voice activation system. Blindness is a health issue close to the Bank’s heart as it recently committed to raise US$100 million by 2020 to improve access to eye-care across its markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Peter Sands, Group Chief Executive of Standard Chartered, said, “We’re very proud that Standard Chartered has been recognised by The Banker for our efforts to improve access to finance. Innovative products, such as microfinance for farmers in Thailand or our Talking ATMs in Indonesia, illustrate how we can use our expertise to make a positive difference in the countries where we operate.”