Assisting and leading the transformation of local areas and boosting their appeal
A bank is by its nature linked to an area. BNP Paribas is both the leading bank in the eurozone and of its exporters, and a group that is firmly rooted in the heart of the areas in which it operates, thanks to its network of branches in towns and cities and its many headquarters buildings.
In France, for example, after having become the second-largest private employer in Marseille and after having set up our P&C insurance activity in Rouen, we are now creating our future customer experience service centre near Bordeaux. It will be staffed by 300 employees, both those transferred from other roles and new hires.
Focusing on a local area means working to support that area – and naturally, this means supporting its individuals, professionals and businesses. This extends to all those that are making a difference in terms of social inclusion and sustainable development: high-impact start-ups, social and green businesses, and networks of charitable organisations.
Fighting against social exclusion and for professional integration
Improving the urban, social and cultural environment of the areas in which we operate is one of our priority corporate commitments.
BNP Paribas constantly strives to strengthen its links with the areas in which the Group operates, and particularly the most vulnerable areas, through sponsorship, volunteering, and even making employees available to partner organisations. In France, the BNP Paribas Foundation and the Retail Bank have run the “Project Banlieues” programme since 2005, which selects and supports local charities working to help priority urban neighbourhoods (Quartiers Prioritaires de la Ville). More than 600 local charities and 420,000 people have received support through this programme, in particular in the department of Seine-Saint-Denis. As the biggest private employer in the department, BNP Paribas has positioned itself as an ally of stakeholders working to increase its economic, social and cultural appeal. The main private partner of the Seine-Saint-Denis Departmental Council, BNP Paribas decided in April 2019 to take its support one step further by signing the Seine-Saint-Denis Equality Charter to accelerate the department’s economic and social development. The Charter sets out our shared commitments for the next three years.
In 2018, BNP Paribas also strengthened its support plan for the inclusion and integration of refugees in Europe in order to make an additional €4.5 million available by 2021 – a total of €12.5 million over the 2016-2021 period.
Enabling our employees to take action
The Group’s commitment also extends to helping our employees work as volunteers in their local areas. In 2018, our employees spent 300,000 hours helping their community. Our aim by 2020 is to achieve 1 million hours of paid community work at the Group level worldwide. On the ground in Belgium, BNP Paribas Fortis supports the #ourjob2 campaign, which allows employees to get involved in a range of efforts to improve the environment and in community events: conferences, guided tours, film shows, fundraising, solidarity team-building exercises, shared meals and more. Employees donated their time over 12,000 times during the 2018 campaign!
Our aim by 2020 is to achieve 1 million hours of paid community work at the Group level worldwide.
Encouraging inclusion of and entrepreneurship among young people from disadvantaged neighbourhoods
Of the more than 500,000 unemployed young people, 50% come from disadvantaged neighbourhoods. To encourage their integration, banks have a number of key drivers at their disposal. Bank of the West in the United States has signed a partnership with the NGO Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI), founded by Forest Whitaker, to help young people become peace ambassadors and entrepreneurs in their communities. The WPDI programme has already been rolled out in the United States in a Los Angeles school, and will be extended to three further schools in the city in 2019. A similar programme is being funded by BNP Paribas in Cape Town in South Africa, where 360 young people will receive training in new technologies, entrepreneurship and management. A community learning centre will also be provided for residents in these disadvantaged neighbourhoods. The programme aims to reach over 60,000 young people. The BNP Paribas Foundation is also putting a number of measures in place, such as the Dream Up programme to encourage social integration through art in 29 countries, or Odyssée Jeunes, which aims to fund school trips for Seine-Saint-Denis junior high school students.
Supporting disadvantaged communities through financial education
Advancing financial education means encouraging the creation of local businesses and promoting financial stability among those communities with the fewest opportunities. As part of the Bank’s community ambassador programme, a Bank of the West employee spent a year working full time at Working Solutions, a San Francisco-based charity that helps disadvantaged entrepreneurs to develop their businesses. She brought her skills and her financial expertise to the charity’s work. Bank of the West also organises biannual volunteering campaigns to improve financial knowledge among disadvantaged communities.
Financial education is a key commitment for the Group, which supports a number of budget management training programmes. In 2018, 22,000 young people attended these programmes, with a target of 100,000 by 2020.
In spring 2019, almost 400 employees provided over 1,800 hours of financial education in schools and charitable organisations. BNP Paribas Personal Finance is also helping all citizens to become more responsible. Financial education is a key commitment for the Group, which supports a number of budget management training programmes. In 2018, 22,000 young people attended these programmes, with a target of 100,000 by 2020. For example, in France, 118 employees co-lead fun budget education workshops for young people on professional integration programmes.
In Italy, thanks to the PerCorsi Young programme, 64 ambassadors and over 30,000 young people per year take part in the budget education programme, which enables them to assess, plan and anticipate their financial situation.
Crédit photo header ©BONNINSTUDIO/Stocksy