We demonstrate our corporate social responsibility by making a difference to our customers and performing our role as a financial institution conscientiously and responsibly. We take an active role in the society in which we work and contribute to its development.
We make a difference
Financial institutions are one of the pillars of society and our role is to help our customers, both individuals and companies, reach their goals.
When making decisions we take into account a wide range of factors and evaluate the different interests at stake, both in the long term and the short term. We carefully assess potential risks and gains involved with decision-making and the lending process. And we place great importance on doing things fairly with the interests of customers, employees, shareholders and the community at heart.
Our role is to help our customers, both individuals and companies, reach their goals.
We practise corporate social responsibility and have established policies on disclosure, IT and data security, anti-money laundering, equality and a code of ethics. We strive for continuous improvement in everything we do with the aim of meeting the needs of the customer.
This is how we make a difference.
Our people are at the heart of what we do and Arion Bank has at its disposal an integrated team of hard-working professionals. We endeavour to look after our people and strive hard towards creating a stimulating, positive and results driven work environment in which we can all grow and develop our skills.
We emphasize strong leadership and good management and focus on developing the leadership skills of our management. We encourage professional development and offer an ambitious educational programme which gives all our employees the opportunity to develop their knowledge and expertise. We try to enable our employees to gain more responsibility and to move into management positions within the Bank or to transfer them to other jobs and projects.
We encourage professional development and offer an ambitious educational programme which gives all our employees the opportunity to develop their knowledge and expertise.
An employee survey is carried out every year in order to strengthen the working environment and to foster job satisfaction. A healthy balance between work and private life is important and employees are also encouraged to look after their health. There is zero tolerance towards bullying, sexual harassment or any other inappropriate behaviour. It is the responsibility of everyone to prevent such conduct at the workplace.
We have a clear equal opportunities policy. Arion Bank’s policy is to maximize its human resources by ensuring equal opportunities and terms for employees of both sexes and to be an attractive place to work for both women and men. The goal is that all employees can perform to the best of their abilities irrespective of their sex. The Bank has an equality committee and an equality action plan. The Bank signed the CEO Statement of Support for the Women’s Empowerment Principles (UN Women) and the UN Global Compact, which is an international benchmark for companies whose aim is to empower women in companies and increase their influence in society.
The rapid development of financial services and the multitude of available options can make finance a complex and difficult topic but financial literacy improves people’s understanding of their own finances and the options available to them. Financial literacy covers a range of topics, from personal finances, making budgets and setting targets, to decisions such as buying a house or choosing a pension scheme. Major financial decisions can have a huge impact on people’s quality of life but by improving financial literacy people can make informed decisions. Better financial literacy enables people to get to grips with their personal finances and lays the foundation for financial stability.
Our customers have easy access to information on their own finances and we offer a PFM solution which gives people a better overview of their household finances. We also host seminars on major financial decisions such as buying property or pensions and we have qualified financial advisors who provide good, honest advice. By doing this we help our customers understand all the different options in financial services and to take the decision which is best for them.
By improving financial literacy people can make informed decisions.
It is important to start early and that is why it is vital to educate the younger generation about money. We have held a number of well-attended financial courses for children and teenagers across Iceland, teaching them the basics about money. We also actively participate in the debate on financial and economic issues in Iceland and promote open discussion by organizing a range of meetings and conferences on various financial topics.
- Arion Research held six morning presentations in 2014 which were attended by more than 1,000 people.
- A total of 12 seminars were held across Iceland at which economist and musician Jón Jónsson discussed money and finances with 2,500 teenagers aged 14-16.
- More than 300 customers attended express service courses which were held at branches both in the Reykjavík area and in other parts of Iceland.
- More than 200 people attended seminars held by the Bank to discuss government debt relief measures relating to mortgages.
- A total of 3,000 people attended seminars and conferences organized by the Bank in 2014.
Arion Bank is the main sponsor of the Institute for Financial Literacy whose aim is to improve financial literacy in Iceland.
Innovation can transform ideas and knowledge into new technology, new ways of doing things or even new industries in both established companies or at the seed investment stage. All endeavours to innovate, develop and create new value are important and we take such enterprise seriously and carefully consider whether and how we can provide our support
We want to create a fertile and stimulating environment for start-up companies in Iceland and have organized various projects and events designed to support innovation in this country. We support innovation at companies by providing funding and professional advice to help them achieve their goals.
We want to create a fertile and stimulating environment for start-up companies in Iceland and have organized various projects and events designed to support innovation in this country.
Arion Bank’s main seed investment programme is Startup Reykjavík. Its objective is to create an environment where entrepreneurs can receive advice and guidance from experienced mentors in order to realize their ideas and thereby create new business opportunities. Participating teams are offered seed funding in the form of equity, training and working facilities where entrepreneurs have the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas. The teams are also given the opportunity to present their business ideas to Icelandic and international investors with a view to discussing how to develop the ideas and raise future funding. Startup Reykjavík is joint project between Arion Bank and Klak Innovit.
Startup Reykjavík is the first programme of its kind in Iceland and business accelerators such as this have proven very popular and enjoyed great respect among investors and entrepreneurs around the world. Thirty new companies have already passed through Startup Reykjavík and a further ten will participate in the summer of 2015.
Startup Energy Reykjavík (SER) is a business accelerator based on the same template as Startup Reykjavík but it focuses on projects and companies in the energy sector. SER was held for the first time in 2014 with seven companies taking part. A further seven will join up in the spring of 2015. SER is a collaborative project between Arion Bank, Landsvirkjun, GEORG, Innovation Center Iceland, Klak Innovit and Iceland Geothermal.
Arion Bank in cooperation with Eyrir Invest operates Eyrir Sprotar, an investment fund which focuses on start-ups and growth companies. Eyrir Invest and Arion bank are the funds largest shareholders.
Showing respect and concern for the environment is important to Arion Bank. Our aim is to use energy sparingly at work, use environmentally friendly printing solutions and to increase the proportion of paperless transactions. We sort the waste products produced at the Bank as much as we can and choose environmentally friendly goods and services wherever we can.
We have introduced a transport policy which encourages employees to use environmentally friendly means of transport. We are doing this to make our environment a better place and to improve the health of our employees. We want to show a good example and raise people’s awareness of environmentally friendly transport.
We support numerous organizations, companies and projects in the community. Arion Bank sponsors the Icelandic Handball Federation, the Icelandic Sports Association for the Disabled, Harpa Concert Hall and also provides backing to charities such as the Icelandic Cancer Society and the Icelandic Red Cross. In the countryside the branches support diverse sport and cultural activities in their home towns.