Home Credit Vietnam CEO: Our ESG policy is an evolution rather than a revolution

December 09, 2021 | 20:00
“Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) is not new to us at all. It is something we have been working on forever. It us part of our DNA since we started doing business,” said Annica Witschard, CEO of Home Credit Vietnam on the releasing of its inaugural ESG Report.

Annica comes from Sweden and spent more than 15 years of her career in the Nordics, Europe, the US, and the Philippines within the banking and consumer finance industry. She came to Vietnam to join Home Credit in Vietnam in early 2020 – the year of the COVID-19 outbreak. Two years in Vietnam has impressed her with the country’s fast-growing environment and family- and community-focused mindset.

Home Credit Vietnam CEO: Our ESG policy is an evolution rather than a revolution
Annica Witschard, CEO, Home Credit Vietnam

Home Credit launches very first ESG report in November

“While this is the first time we have published a formal ESG report, ESG principles have long been embedded in our business. The report complements codified ESG policies which are in-place companywide. It has always been integral to Home Credit’s approach, even when it wasn’t formalised under an ESG framework,” said Annica.

This report better structures and improves what the company has been doing for their customers, employees, and the communities they serve, focusing on six pillars: responsible finance, economic growth, digital empowerment, financial inclusion, sustainable communities, and diverse workforce.

Home Credit Vietnam CEO: Our ESG policy is an evolution rather than a revolution
Home Love – a CSR activity of Home Credit Vietnam

Responsible financing – the heart of Home Credit Vietnam

Home Credit has been operating in Vietnam since 2008. Nearly 6,000 Home Credit employees are serving more than 12 million customers, most of whom are not being served by traditional banks.

Interestingly, the company is seen as “a friend” by many of its customers. The majority of customers are actually recommending Home Credit services to their families or friends. 75 per cent of new volumes are generated from returning customers.

“When we talk to customers in focus groups, they generally say they feel us trustworthy, responsible, and it feels like talking to a friend. They feel good. They feel comfortable as customers. This is really what makes us stand out in the market,” Annica highlighted.

Transparency, fairness and friendliness are what set Home Credit apart. This is also a core part of their responsible financing approach – offering customers the right products based on their needs and financial capacities, ensuring that they clearly understand all essential information related to the service, as well as helping them with a sustainable repayment plan.

Financial literacy education is a key component of Home Credit’s responsible financing approach as well. The company spends time and resources to integrate financial literacy into their processes and operation, making sure customers understand their benefits and commitment before taking a financing service. At the same time, the company promotes a comprehensive understanding of finance through several customer activities, both online and offline such as roadshows, workshops, in-store events, brochures, publications, competitions, media campaigns, and mobile games.

“We conducted a series of events called What Freshmen Need to Know, covering personal finance basics with thousands of participants from universities. From mid-2021, we launched an on-going educational series on our fanpage, participated in the ‘Smart Money’ programme on VTV1 with millions of viewers. We will continue to scale effort to educate our customers, families, and potential customers across the general public with the hope of protecting the communities and helping them thrive,” she added.

Supporting people and serving communities

Home Credit is a strong, trusted and established brand and they live up to that reputation in how they support their customers during the pandemic.

During the most recent social distancing period, Home Credit Vietnam launched Home Love, a programme that donated VND1 billion ($43,480) to the national vaccine fund, brought more than 30,000 meals and necessities to 10 field hospitals, quarantine facilities, charity homes, and homeless people. Moreover, 300 mid-autumn gifts were handed out to children and families in quarantine facilities, and to frontline doctors and nurses.

Besides Home Love, the company also presented scholarships to underprivileged students and provide school facility renovation. They support female entrepreneurs and with that, Home Credit hopes that they will actually pay it forward and create a society where more people are included in general.

"Home Credit is leading the way in ESG standards in Vietnam. I am proud of how quickly and decisively we have acted to support the community, especially now during COVID-19. ESG is not only a line item in our budget; what we are striving to do is widen our embrace of ESG, ensure there is consistency and coherence in our approach, and continue to empower our customers to live the lives they want,” concluded Annica.

By Huyen Nguyen

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