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Banks' responsibilities

By Lin Jingzhen  (China Daily)

08:30, February 05, 2013

Core values of social progress and sustainability should be promoted in their strategies for going overseas

International disputes and conflicts have occurred frequently in recent years as more Chinese corporations actively carry out transnational strategies. For Chinese commercial banks overseas, some of the conflicts have been caused by their lack of understanding of the importance of fulfilling their social responsibilities.

Corporate social responsibility is an important part of the development strategies of multinational corporations. Transnational commercial banks not only provide valued-added financial services for the public, they also have a unique function in regulating resources, acting as one of the driving forces of local economies. But for a long time, the financial community in China has not attached enough importance to CSR, which has made it difficult for Chinese commercial banks to fully integrate into the international financial market.

Social responsibility usually progresses with a bank's development level. There is a big gap in the comprehensive strength between the leading world banks and their Chinese counterparts, therefore, much needs to be done to improve Chinese banks' understanding and performance of CSR.

Except for a few banks, the CSR planning in Chinese commercial banks is only in a nascent stage and the top management's participation in CSR is not adequate. Therefore, the core values of CSR cannot be transmitted effectively to their branches.

Also the external guidance and supervision need to be strengthened. There has been increasing concern about the social issues brought by economic development in China, and banking regulators are paying more attention to the promotion of CSR, introducing rules such as the Guidelines on Corporate Social Responsibility Performance for Chinese Commercial Banks in 2008 and the Green Credit Guidelines last year. However, compared with developed countries, the banking industry in China lacks systematic laws and regulations defining rights and obligations.

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