KB Financial helps needy with close-knit network

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KB Financial helps needy with close-knit network

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KB Kookmin Bank employees assemble boxes filled with food and household necessities for 16,000 people in need. This event is just one part of the bank’s broad community service program.

May is the month of corporate social responsibility for KB Financial Group, and it aims to keep the spirit of giving back throughout the year.

KB Kookmin Bank specializes in community-based support, directly reaching out to as many needy people as possible. The 1,200 small-scale employee volunteer teams work together through one-on-one connections with local institutions. In addition, the bank has established donation and sponsorship committees to remain transparent along with a CSR support task force to facilitate the process. More than 22,000 executives and employees have joined at least one community service team, and they can make charity contributions out of their monthly paychecks to help those in need.

Last month, bank employees launched a monthly program to deliver groceries to the needy. In cooperation with Korea Food for the Hungry International, 7,300 employees and their families will continue the “Hope in a Package” event until this December. Participants will assemble boxes containing nine food items like rice and cooked side dishes and household necessities like tissues, shampoo and towels. They will reach more than 16,000 households of people with disabilities, elderly people, orphans and multicultural families. The most heartwarming part is the short message enclosed with the materials, which makes the project last longer in the memories of volunteers and recipients.

In April, they also held a fundraising event with the Korean Red Cross to provide free side dishes to 120 children who are poorly fed at home in Dongjak and Gwanak districts. The food support program began in 2008 and is one of the bank’s major projects that support children and young adults. It aims to reduce the financial burden on underfed children and enable them to grow up healthy. The bank also donates uniforms and coal briquettes to low-income families and holds a fundraising walk through which employees raise funds to support volunteer activities. The main focus is on practical projects that can make a real difference.

Their activities range from supporting young adults and elderly people to talent donation and family-wide volunteer initiatives. Each team has its own specialty ? some give financial advice to teenagers and others focus on cleaning up after natural disasters. As society’s views on volunteerism have changed over time, the bankers have sublimated their work into “voluntainment,” meaning a new way to enjoy leisure time.

To further motivate employees and develop more new programs, the bank has also implemented a computerized volunteer certification management system that tracks all service records. This year, all employees are looking forward to meeting the yearly quota of 15 service hours and four volunteer events.

Several especially passionate employees created a special task force last August to help communities in urgent predicaments. Even as demand for public participation in volunteer work is on the rise, KB is the country’s first commercial bank to found such a group. The 50 team members receive training in responding to disasters from the Korean Red Cross and National Emergency Management Agency, and will be dispatched via a joint emergency contact list held by the two organizations. The bank will also support employees’ efforts to obtain certifications as emergency medical technicians and emergency management specialists.

“I would like our emergency rescue task force to become a good model for other volunteer groups,” said Min Byong-deok, president and CEO of the bank. He promised a continued support for community service efforts.

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