Corporate social responsibility in the context of banks’ competitiveness

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Technická Univerzita v Liberci
Technical university of Liberec, Czech Republic
In October 2011 the European Commission published a new policy on corporate social responsibility (CSR). The modern understanding of CSR is perceived as a necessity of integration of social, environmental, ethical, consumer concerns and human rights into their business operations and core strategy in close collaboration with their stakeholders. In case of banking institutions this concept can be treated as an opportunity to gain competitive advantage. The main aim of the article is to present the idea of corporate social responsibility as a tool for supporting competitiveness of banking institutions. In this contribution there have been indicated the key areas of CSR influence on banks competitiveness and related benefits. Positive influence of CSR on bank’s competitiveness can occur in the following key areas: enhancing public image and reputation, ethical behaviors, improving relations with employees, strengthening community involvement, building environment responsibility image and improving organizational governance. According to Banking of Sustainability Report, 2005 IFC Sustainability Survey of Financial Institutions shows that 68 % of commercial banks indicate improvement of credibility and reputation as the main reason why banks engage in social and environment activity [19]. In several economic studies [33, 10] corporate reputation is directly linked with its competitiveness, while reputational risk is one of the main risks which endanger its stability and financial performance. In this context, CRS strategy occurs as one of the effective solutions allowing to gain many different benefits for banks. It seems that being socially responsible, understood as taking into account not only own interests (e.g. profit maximization) but also interests of other stakeholders, behaving fair and responsible to them, can be viewed as a significant element of acquiring competitive advantage.
improving banks’ competitiveness, corporate social responsibility, competitive advantage