Socially responsible behaviour, in its broadest sense, means taking responsibility for the impact of one’s activities on the community and its resources. One of the key resources for an institution such as the National Bank of Serbia (NBS) is public trust, which is built through open and ongoing communication and true commitment to understanding the needs and problems of the wider community. In order to improve this communication, the NBS engages in a number of activities that benefit society at large.
Financial services consumer protection and education
By setting up the institute of financial services consumer protection in 2007, the NBS aimed to promote fair consumer treatment by financial institutions, strengthen good business practices, and ensure, within its remit, the protection of consumer rights and interests. The key activities of the Financial Services Consumer Protection Department are therefore informing the public about financial products and services, answering consumer queries through the Call Centre (toll-free call at 0800 111 110), considering consumer complaints and conducting mediation so as to facilitate peaceful settlement of disputes. In addition to that, the Financial Services Consumer Protection Department educates and informs the public about various financial products and services, or more precisely, about their similarities and differences. To support these efforts, an internet site was launched Тvojnovac.nbs.rs for citizens who want to learn more about financial products, their concept and inherent risks. In order to make information available throughout Serbia, the NBS opened financial education offices in its branches in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Niš, Kragujevac and Užice. Through leaflets, educational brochures and media presentations, the NBS informs the public not only about financial products and services, but also about various other activities under its remit.
By organising and holding public forums in cities and towns throughout Serbia, the NBS contributes to direct communication with interested citizens and thus, improves information availability in general.
Cultural and educational activities
As an institution of national significance, the NBS actively engages in public education. It enables both local and foreign audiences to learn about money (and messages transmitted through its visual design) as a specific form of our cultural and historical heritage and to visit the Bank building, which is one of the most beautiful 19th century edifices in Belgrade. Aware of its role and significance in society, the NBS opened the Visitor Centre which organises exhibitions and educational activities to inform citizens, especially younger generations, about central bank operations and various aspects of money. The Visitor Centre, both traditional and innovative, performs not only its core exhibition activities, but also enriches them with interactive displays, films, lectures and educational material for target visitor groups. It conducts programmes tailored for primary and secondary school pupils and university students, comprising lectures, quiz games, workshops, and educational game tournaments.
The NBS is an active participant in a number of cultural events such as the International Day of the Francophonie, Global Money Week, Days of Belgrade, Night of Museums, European Heritage Days and Global Savings Week. Also, it organises the Open Day Door and cedes its exhibition space in the Slavija building for various cultural and social events.
In 2007, the NBS Visitor Centre won the annual Project of the Year Award of the National Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM). Explaining its decision, the Committee stated: “The Visitor Centre with its activities is a unique museum project in our country, setting an example to be followed by other important state institutions”
At the First Annual Child and Youth Finance International Summit held in April 2012 in Amsterdam, under the auspices of the Child and Youth Finance International, the NBS received the Country Award for outstanding contribution and its visionary and innovative approach to the development of youth financial education in Serbia.
Community involvement and donations
In the area of social responsibility, the NBS is committed to promoting and implementing activities which have a positive impact on work and social environment, striving to attract wide employee participation.
The emphasis is placed on assistance to socially vulnerable categories of the population and children with disabilities. Apart from organizing and taking part in humanitarian actions targeting these groups, several times a year the NBS also invites employees to engage in charity work aimed at solving a certain social problem.
Over the past years, the NBS established cooperation with centres, shools and associations for children and youth with different forms of disability, hosting traditional sale exhibitions of decorative and for-use handicraft objects made by beneficiaries of these institutions. The exhibitions are held twice a year, on the eve of Easter and New Year’s holidays, at the NBS head office and Novi Sad branch.
In cooperation with humanitarian organisations, the NBS organises actions for the collection of food, school accessories and used clothing at the NBS head office and branches each year, cherishing local partnerships with organisations in Niš, Užice, Kragujevac and Novi Sad. Also, NBS employees traditionally prepare New Year’s presents for children with disabilities in residential institutions and children deprived of parental care.
NBS employees also take care of environmental protection. As of April 2008, collection and sorting of paper, PET packaging and mixed waste was introduced at the NBS head office and as of 2011, at NBS branches as well. Thanks to various measures applied, savings in paper consumption are realised on a daily basis.
The allocation of donations is regulated by the Decision on the establishment of the committee for considering applications and setting the terms, conditions and criteria for the allocation of donations and humanitarian aid. Based on this decision, the NBS may allocate donations and humanitarian aid, as well as fixed assets, intangible investment and equipment that had been written off (in accordance with the regulation on setting the criteria on technical and technological depreciation of assets at the NBS) to legal entities, local government units, educational and cultural institutions, social and health care institutions, as well as to non-profit and humanitarian organisations and associations and other institutions.
Responsibility towards employees
Human resources and a responsible recruitment policy are the cornerstone and the key prerequisite for successful performance of the NBS. With a view to improving motivation, expertise, and efficiency of its staff, the NBS offers various education and training opportunities such as undergraduate and postgraduate studies, professional training and foreign language courses, seminars in the country and abroad, and taking exams to acquire international certificates.