Sustainable Development Strategy of Equa bank a.s.

Equa bank a.s. has operated In the Czech market for ten years. As our role in the banking market has grown steadily, so have our corporate social activities. We are committed to incorporating the principles of corporate social responsibility into our corporate values, corporate culture, and decision-making processes in order to make a positive impact on our corporate procedures, to increase our economic result, and to help the society in which we operate as well. We aim at establishing business relationships with our customers and partners, which bring value as well as long-term sustainability to the economy, environment, and society. Our continued commitment to the standards and values is described in the Code of Management of Equa bank a.s. Adhering to principles given in the Code is binding for every employee.

Support for Responsible Business


A responsible approach to business is part of our corporate values. We are committed to our business activities setting an example, and thus to making our own contribution to improving the quality of the Czech business environment. We emphasize ethical business procedures and transparency. Equa bank considers customer care and satisfaction to be one of the important pillars of its business strategy. For this reason, from the beginning of its market operation, Equa bank has been a signatory to the Code of Conduct of the Czech Banking Association. Our business activities are governed by binding rules against corruption, conflict of interest, and fraud, contained in the Corporate Compliance Policy. Supply relationships are governed and checked pursuant to our Vendor Policy. One of the criteria when selecting a prospective supplier is his/her approach to sustainable development. In 2020 we joined the challenge of Nelež.cz, an organisation aiming at cultivating the media landscape.

Relationships to Our Customers


Equa bank offers its customers simple, straightforward, and transparent personal and corporate banking services. From the outset, our business strategy has focused on the development of digital banking; therefore, we are capable to rapidly respond to new needs of our customers. We have also seen considerable success in the field of customer satisfaction management, where we have belonged to market leaders in the long term. The bank has adhered to a system of in-house rules for prevention of laundering of proceeds of crime (money laundering) and terrorism financing, the rules of Know Your Customer and Information Security strategies. Equa bank fulfils extremely high standards in the areas of IT and Data Security. Personal data of our customers are protected pursuant to banking standards. Our staff members comply with the Code of Conduct of Equa bank and are regularly trained in the entire field of Compliance. In relation to its customers, Equa bank also complies with the valid Code of Conduct for Banks and Customers, published by the Czech Banking Association.

Employees


People are key to our success. Every year, we conduct a survey among our employees, enabling them to express their opinion on the work environment in the company. Results of the survey give us an invaluable feedback and enable us to identify areas of improvement. We are happy that Equa bank regularly receives a high NPS score from its employees.
Our goal is to create equal opportunities for all employees regardless of their gender, age, nationality or religion. We also emphasise gender equality; the share of women holding managerial positions in the bank reaches 45%. A close attention is also devoted to further professional and career development of employees. We have set transparent principles of human resources management and remuneration of employees We know that besides quality work environment, a work-life balance also impacts on the satisfaction of our employees. We try to meet the needs of our employees also in these areas. Employees are entitled to 25 days of vacation per year; the bank also covers 3 sick days and 2.5 days of paid leave in addition to the vacation. In addition to the growing offer of employee benefits, employees also have many options how to achieve work-life balance. We emphasize occupational health and safety (OHS). As part of the compliance procedures, the bank as an effective Whistleblowing Policy.

Environment


When designing and providing our products and services, we take account of their environmental impacts. Almost 12% of our SME portfolio is comprised of project financing in the field of energy generation from renewable sources. Based on valid internal rules, the bank does not provide loans to customers whose business has a negative environmental impact. We enable our retail customers to invest in funds, focusing on green companies and companies fostering sustainable development with a positive ESG rating. We are committed to raising the awareness of employees of the environmental impacts of our activities, and we take steps to mitigate these effects. In all our offices, we promote projects focused on recycling of waste.
Most processes in the bank are digital, and this has a positive impact on a low consumption of paper. Emphasis on a digital sale of our products to end-customers has positively impacted the environment as well. The share of digital sales represents around 65% of the total sales volume.
The Amazon Court Building, the seat of Equa bank a. s., was awarded a Gold certificate of the DGNB Certification System – see www.dgnb.de, performed by the auditors of ÖGNI. The environment was also considered when purchasing our car fleet – the entire car fleet is now operated in the EU6 emission class. The in-house rule for business trips obliges employees to use public transport instead of a car, if possible. In addition, employees are encouraged to share one company car when on a business trip. The pandemic caused by the Covid-19 virus has also impacted on corporate meetings, which, to a great extent, have become on-line. This has significantly reduced the number of business trips. In April 2021, Equa bank became a signatory to the Sustainable Finance Memorandum of the Czech Banking Association.

Support for Local Communities


Support for local communities has been part of the corporate social responsibility of the bank since it entered the Czech market. Every year, we hold a Volunteering Day, on which volunteering employees give a helping hand to NGOs. Over the years, the event has seen a growing number of participants.  Every year, bankers participate in the educational project of the Czech Banking Association, titled “Bankers to Schools”, in which they explain finance and cybersecurity to students in primary and secondary schools.
In early 2014, employees established the Employees´ Charitable Fund of Equa bank a.s., having identified areas of charitable support. We are involved especially in projects helping handicapped or otherwise disadvantaged citizens to become integrated in the society. During the coronavirus pandemic, Equa bank contacted a Czech NGO ADRA and initiated several charitable projects. Already in spring 2020, employees and customers of the bank could use a mobile application of Equa bank to send a contribution to help the elderly. By purchasing window boxes, soil, and plants, employees of Equa bank also helped the elderly decorate their homes. The employees of the bank thus responded to the wishes of clients of ADRA. In late 2020, Equa bank donated funds to three NGOs – Pferda, Borůvka Praha, and Adventor – to cover their operations in a difficult time. The bank also supported children who lacked technology for distance learning, having donated them rejected computers through the IT People Foundation.

The above overview is updated for the years 2019 and 2020.