Why don’t banks support CSR projects?

Mohammed Al-Bakr


When I read the profits that banks made last year, which were posted on the Saudi financial news portal argaam.com, I was shocked at the amount, estimated to be billions of riyals. I have been following bank news and have noticed that the increase in profits has not translated into more corporate social responsibility programs that benefit society and individuals. The number of programs that banks implement for social purposes remains low and disproportionate to their profits.

In fact, there is only one initiative that should be commended because it involves the construction and donation of residential units for the needy. That initiative was implemented last year by one of the banks.

We all know that banks make huge profits because depositors do not get any interest on deposits because of religious reasons. I thought that banks would take advantage of the situation and use the money they generate from these deposits to implement more social responsibility programs. Unfortunately, I was wrong because they have not done so.

To be fair to banks, I have visited the websites of many of them and have read under the CSR section about the programs that they have implemented. However, I found that most of the programs do not reflect the volume of profits these banks make, profits that are in billions of riyals.

Some of the CSR programs I have read about include blood donation drives, humanitarian aid, cultural activities, healthcare programs, development of students’ skills, volunteer programs to improve the environment, cleaning of beaches and Ramadan baskets. These initiatives are modest and are not commensurate with profits of over SR2.5 billion made by banks over the past nine months.

Since banks do not even provide parking spots for their clients, why would they implement costly CSR programs that benefit the members of society?

Twitter: @sawalief