The Bank demonstrates corporate social responsibility first and foremost by carrying out its role as a financial institution conscientiously and responsibly and by taking an active role in the community in which it operates. Financial institutions are one of the pillars of society and it is the Bank's role to help people and businesses reach their goals. The Bank places great importance on doing things fairly with the interests of its customers, employees, shareholders, and the community at heart.
Arion Bank’s core values, our Cornerstones, provide guidance in our day-to-day activities and are an integral component of the Bank’s culture. Our Cornerstones are: we make a difference, we say what we mean and we get things done. The Cornerstones act as a guide to help us do better today than we did yesterday.
Responsible corporate governance and sound business practices
At Arion Bank we place a strong emphasis on observing responsible and sound business practices and we endeavour to set a good example in this respect. When making decisions we take into account a variety of factors and evaluate the different interests at stake. The long-term view is just as important as short-term considerations. We assess the possible gains and risks which may result from the decisions and loans we make, while safeguarding the interests of customers, employees, shareholders and society as a whole.
In recent years we have collaborated on a wide range of exciting investment projects with our customers with the aim of contributing to the positive development of the Icelandic business sector.
We have tried to ensure that companies under our ownership but operating in non-banking sectors are eventually sold to a diverse group of owners and listed on the stock market. Arion Bank has been involved in 60% of new listings in the past few years, thereby contributing to the regeneration of the Icelandic stock market and adding to the number of available investment options on the general market.
Arion Bank has been involved in 60% of new listings in the past few years, thereby contributing to the regeneration of the Icelandic stock market and adding to the number of available investment options on the general market.
We practise good corporate governance and have established a code of ethics and policies on disclosure, IT and data security, anti-money laundering and equality. Transparent decision-making is the key to responsible corporate governance. In 2015 Arion Bank was recognized by the Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Iceland as a company which had achieved excellence in corporate governance. This recognition was awarded following a comprehensive survey of the Bank performed by KMPG ehf. in the autumn of 2015.
In 2015 Arion Bank was recognized by the Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Iceland as a company which had achieved excellence in corporate governance.
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 and positive work environment in which we can all grow and develop our skills.
We have a clear equal opportunities policy. Our policy is to guarantee equal opportunities and terms for employees of both sexes and to be an attractive place to work for both women and men. The Bank has an equality committee and we have formulated 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. In 2015 Arion Bank became the first Icelandic bank to be awarded Equal Pay Certification by the labour union VR. This involves the implementation of a quality system for salaries and decisions on salaries.
In 2015 Arion Bank became the first Icelandic bank to be awarded Equal Pay Certification by the labour union VR. This involves the implementation of a quality system for salaries and decisions on salaries.
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.
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 and society understand all the different options in financial services and to take the decision which is best for them.
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.
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 seven morning presentations in 2015 which were attended by more than 1,000 people.
- A total of 10 seminars were held across Iceland at which Jón Jónsson discussed money and finances with 2,000 teenagers aged 14-16.
- More than 350 customers attended express service courses which were held at branches both in the Reykjavík area and in other parts of Iceland.
- More than 4,000 people attended seminars and conferences organized by the Bank in 2015.
Arion Bank is the main sponsor of the Institute for Financial Literacy whose aim is to improve financial literacy in Iceland. In 2015 Arion Bank was also the main sponsor of the popular television series, Ferð til fjár, broadcast on the Icelandic state channel RÚV. The aim of the programme was to improve financial literacy.
Innovation and entrepreneurship
At Arion Bank we consider greater value creation to be of the utmost importance for Icelandic society. It is therefore vital that we can provide assistance and backing to entrepreneurs and innovation. We strive to provide entrepreneurs with access to mentoring and funding and support product development at companies already in business. Arion Bank works with and for entrepreneurs and seed companies, as well as investors.
How does the Bank support innovation and entrepreneurship?
- Arion Bank runs the business accelerator Startup Reykjavík in collaboration with Icelandic Startup. Startup Reykjavík was named as the best business accelerator in the Nordic region in 2015 at the Nordic Startup Awards.
- Arion Bank runs Startup Energy Reykjavík with partners from the energy sector.
- Arion Bank has invested in 54 seed companies through Startup Reykjavík and Startup Energy Reykjavík.
- Arion Bank is collaborating with Eyrir Invest on running seed companies and the growth fund Eyrir Sprotar. Eyrir Invest and Arion Bank are the fund’s largest shareholders and in 2015 the Bank invested around ISK 1 billion in the fund.
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.
Our aim is to use energy sparingly at work, use environmentally friendly printing solutions and to increase the proportion of paperless transactions.
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.
In 2015 we invested in several electric cars to be used in the Bank’s daily operations.
Supporting the community
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.
In 2015 Arion Bank provided financial assistance to the National Hospital to buy 400 new medical beds and mattresses.