Rawbank: Making a difference through CSR and digital banking

Q: Assuming corporate social responsibility is important to Rawbank, what does the bank’s CSR strategy look like? What is it aiming to achieve?

Rawbank has adopted five UN Sustainable Development Goals as part of its CSR strategy: ending poverty; promote good health and well-being; quality education; gender equality; and climate action. Our CSR strategy is based on three pillars: SMEs and entrepreneurship, female leadership and human capital.

On the first pillar, Rawbank is a leading partner of SMEs in the Democratic Republic of Congo, providing financing and support for training. The bank has become the first private financial institution in Central Africa to offer training modules, such as Business Edge, to local entrepreneurs.

The training we offer aims to build the capacity of entrepreneurs, managers and staff of SMEs, in order to facilitate their access to financing and to improve management tools and business management methods.

Furthermore, we understand the importance of parity at all levels of the bank, which is why we have an active policy of promoting women to key positions. Our team includes a female board member and a female executive committee member. We also have two other female members on the management committee and several others in management positions.

In order to promote the activities of our ‘Lady’s First’ program, Rawbank has set up an annual campaign called ‘Ambassador Campaign’, which consists of electing a female entrepreneur as ambassador of the program to convey the values ​​advocated by the bank around sustainable development.

The bank has long been committed to meeting the needs of employees to build a solid career path and strengthen their technical, behavioral and managerial skills.

Q: What are some of the CSR initiatives that demonstrate the importance of this area for the bank?

The “HeforShe” initiative, a campaign launched by UN Women, was conceived as a commitment to gender equality.

By joining the “HeForShe” movement, we demonstrate our commitment to gender equality. The movement allows men to get involved in the problems faced by women.

The bank intends to go further in its involvement by joining forces with UN Women to raise employee awareness of violence against women and girls.

In particular, we are committed to those who, for legal and financial reasons, do not meet the integration criteria of the “Lady’s First” program, through the launch of the Muffa CD project (Mutual Financial Fund for African Women) .

We believe that greater financial inclusion can be achieved through digitalization and the development of a bank branch network to reach remote areas with limited or no access to financial services.

More than 4,000 women are members across the country and the partnership between Rawbank and Muffa aims to support women in the development of their activities and enable them to benefit from financial support through a loan.

In addition, we support the Schoolapp initiative. The bank provided initial financial support for the production of educational content to be put online so that it is accessible to students, pupils and teachers in the DRC.

In 2021, the bank developed the Schoolap-Tab loan to facilitate access to tablets, developed by a Congolese entrepreneur, for teachers who are also Rawbank customers.

Q: How is Rawbank’s approach to CSR different from other banks in the country?

Rawbank’s approach to CSR can be demonstrated by its focus on five United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: ending poverty; promote good health and well-being; quality education; gender equality; and climate action.

As such, the bank contributes directly to the development of the country and the welfare of the wider community through a number of initiatives. For example, it provided support following the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano in May 2021, which caused significant human losses and material damage.

As part of this effort, Rawbank worked with the non-governmental organization Change Your World RDC, which reunited displaced families. Significant donations have also been made to the Carmel Medical Center in Goma. Rawbank also signs a memorandum of understanding with the Goma Volcanic Observatory.

Q: All banks claim to be digitally innovative. What are some of the digital innovations that Rawbank has developed and launched, and how successful have they been?

In 2017, we created the illicocash solution, bringing together several dematerialized services within the same application. The app allows users to send, transfer and withdraw money, verify accounts, top up mobile credit and international transfers and subscription renewals are all available from the platform.

The Illicocash 2.0 version was launched in 2021 to enable remote distribution payments – bank to wallet, wallet to bank, linking a bank account to the illicocash wallet – with the vision of creating an entire ecosystem in the future in which all transactions will be made. electronically.

Moreover, the enhanced version allows users to send and receive money to and from any country in the world. This feature is highly appreciated by customers and is the first solution in the country that allows you to do this remotely.

Other features include virtual MasterCards, which allow users to purchase prepaid cards on the app and then access various e-commerce platforms; the ability to make fund requests through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and an integrated budget manager, allowing customers to better manage their money.

Thanks to these innovations, illicocash 2.0 has seen its customer acquisition rate increase by 30%, with a corresponding increase in the number of transactions.

Q: What new digital innovations in products and services does the bank plan to develop and launch in the future?

Rawbank believes that digital innovation is something that must be integrated into its processes and into its products.

To date, several projects are being implemented, upgraded or delivered in different areas of the business, including AI, mobile banking, business process management, cloud infrastructure, data center and data analytics.

Q: How, if at all, does Rawbank think about CSR and digital innovation? For example, digital products and services can help support and increase financial inclusion.

By obtaining a license last year to expand its banking agent network, made up of non-banking agents (such as merchants, retailers, small mobile top-up sellers), the bank hopes to reduce operational costs by outsourcing some of its services, while strengthening the financial inclusion of as many people as possible throughout the country.

In addition, the bank branch will allow Rawbank to subcontract services developed internally, to create a distribution chain throughout the territory. In the most remote areas, people will have access to financial services by simply pushing the doors of local shops.

We believe that greater financial inclusion can be achieved through digitalization and the development of a bank branch network to reach remote areas with limited or no access to financial services.

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