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Asiamoney: DBK - Kazakhstan's best bank for CSR 2020

1 февраля 2021, 20:187402

As a fully state-owned bank with a quasi-sovereign status, the Development Bank of Kazakhstan (DBK) has a unique role given its focus on lending to strategic investment projects and implementing the state’s industrialization programme.

In 2020, its business was in even greater focus when Kazakhstan’s economy, which depends on oil and gas, was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. While DBK had to adjust its business model because of the crisis, it continued supporting the economy – and its employees – in various ways.

The first was to protect its employees from the coronavirus. DBK, under its chairman Abay Sarkulov, had started a digital transformation before the pandemic hit, which helped clients to access its services online and allowed employees to work remotely using its digital infrastructure. The transformation faced its first big test in 2020: DBK smoothly switched to remote working for about 90% of its employees within hours of the lockdown announcement.

“We are pleased that our efforts to maintain balance between lending activities and social benefit, as well as an unprincipled desire to ensure our employees’ and customers’ safety during the rapid spread of coronavirus infection have been recognized and awarded with a prestigious award. Despite the difficult epidemiological situation, we’ve managed to maintain market leadership and ensure a high level of lending to the national economy. This was made possible largely by the automation of the business process management system, which enabled us to provide online services without the need for personal contact between DBK staff and borrowers», emphasized DBK’s Chairman of the Management Board Abay Sarkulov.

More importantly, it helped the Kazakh economy to keep going. It continued lending to infrastructure projects, boosting its loan portfolio by 9.5% year on year in the first nine months of 2020; these included projects in the hotel and tourism industry, agriculture and renewable wind power.

DBK did not reduce its support to domestic exporters during the pandemic, but added two new exporters to its business in 2020. It helped struggling borrowers to reschedule debt, and it restructured and revised loan terms when necessary.

In line with its ongoing CSR plans, DBK continued to focus on providing people with social security. It provided disabled and disadvantaged children with clothes and shoes and gave toys to children in orphanages. Gender equality has also been important for the bank. In 2020, about 54% of its staff were women, with a growing number of women also holding leadership positions.

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