SPIP COVID-19 RESPONSE PROGRESS REPORT
This report outlines KBZ Bank’s new approach to corporate citizenship through the Social Purpose and Impact Partnership (SPIP) Committee, our response to COVID-19, and how the Committee has laid the foundation for a swift yet stringent decision-making process in our pandemic response.
The SPIP Committee was launched in December 2019 to bring governance, transparency, and international best practices to KBZ Bank’s charitable giving. The Committee consists of functional heads of the bank, secretaries, and liaison officers, all reporting to the Board of Directors on a regular basis. Organisations requesting for donations are to fill out an application form, which is rigorously evaluated and voted on by the Committee in an open forum.
Since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, the Myanmar government has promptly enacted a series of policies and public health advisories to control the transmission of the virus. As Myanmar’s largest private bank, KBZ Bank has responded to the national call for assistance with speed and scale to ensure Myanmar overcomes the pandemic as one.
To effectively contribute to the nation-wide response to COVID-19, the SPIP Committee ensures that our funds are promptly deployed while upholding its governance principles. Under the Committee’s management, KBZ Bank has contributed more than MMK 4.8 billion (USD 3.4 million) worth of financial and in-kind donations to provide the necessary healthcare infrastructure, medical equipment, food, and other relief efforts. These contributions are made in support of the government’s COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan (CERP), specifically with the purpose of easing impacts on vulnerable households and helping to strengthen the public healthcare system.
To date, the Committee has approved requests from organisations such as the Ministry of Health and Sports (MOHS), Yangon Regional Government, Yangon Universities, and government-appointed COVID-19 response committees. Organisations which received large amounts of donations were requested to produce audit reports for the SPIP Committee for transparency and impact assessment.
In addition to donations of MMK 1.2 billion from other companies under the KBZ brand, family members of KBZ Bank’s Chairman Emeritus made their own private contributions towards of MMK 1.5 billion for relief efforts including to quarantine centres, frontline medical volunteers, PPE and masks, supporting cabbage farmers, ICU equipment and cash.
ABOUT KBZ BANK’S SOCIAL PURPOSE AND IMPACT PARTNERSHIP COMMITTEE
KBZ Bank’s Social Purpose and Impact Partnership (SPIP) Committee is an independent committee which oversees Social Purpose and brings their governance onto a single platform for streamlined due diligence and impact assessment. Evaluations and assessments are done by the committee in an open forum and all votes are recorded for transparency and accountability.
In the past, we have provided unconditional assistance to requests for humanitarian and emergency relief to Myanmar’s most vulnerable communities. We remain committed to meeting those needs while also applying international best practices and due diligence to corporate charitable and philanthropic activities.
The formation, evolution, and success of the SPIP Committee at the bank represents the bank’s own transformation journey toward becoming a world-class financial institution. With the needs of the community and nation becoming increasingly diverse, we recognised the need to have a more structured and well-governed donations process. KBZ Bank’s own corporate givings take place under the SPIP Committee. The Committee embodies the bank’s rapid development toward greater transparency, professionalism and overall better corporate governance.
Launched in December 2019, the committee aims to bring international best-practices and domain expertise to KBZ Bank’s charitable giving. The Committee consists of members reporting to the Senior Management.
The SPIP Committee is guided by stringent policies and standard operating procedures, and takes into account the voice, standpoint, and concerns of the Myanmar government, the Central Bank of Myanmar, investors, customers, and the international community, as well as KBZ Bank’s Social Purpose Pillars.
The SPIP Committee supports organisations that embody the Bank’s core value – Metta principles and align with their values, and that have a good reputation and track record of implementation. Organisations, businesses and individuals that request donations, grants or funds must complete an online application that is rigorously reviewed by the Committee. Such requests are deliberated during bimonthly meetings, with evaluations are conducted in an open forum and all votes recorded for transparency and accountability.
The SPIP Committee is in its first year and has made significant progress in improving the way the bank approaches all corporate philanthropic activity, including charitable giving, community engagement and corporate social responsibility. While it has achieved progress, and strives to be a model to which other organizations in Myanmar can aspire to be, it is still a work in progress with improvements made along the way, with its governance model being improved with experience, expertise while considering the realities of the context and rapidly changing landscape in Myanmar.
SPIP Committee’s policies and principles of giving, such as the rigor of due diligence and evaluation criteria, will be applied and replicated to all philanthropic, sponsorship activities and external funding at the bank.
COVID-19 AND KBZ BANK’S RESPONSE
KBZ Bank has played a central role in Myanmar’s fight against COVID-19. We have responded with speed, precision and scale, particularly in the critical early days of the pandemic. We began by establishing a COVID-19 Crisis Committee (CCC) in January 2020 before the first COVID-19 case was reported in Myanmar.
The first wave of actions for CCC was to protect all 18,000 bank employees and the customers they serve at the branches. This includes implementing safe distancing and hygiene measures at every branch and establishing flexible work arrangements to enable employees to work from home, while keeping the bank operational.
Our second line of measures by the CCC were focussed on redeploying our services for national relief. This involves increasing cash supply by tenfold in all branches and ATMs, offering financial relief programs for businesses and households, and helping COVID-19-related charities receive donations from the public through KBZPay.
As the pandemic began to test the limits of our nation’s resources and infrastructure, the SPIP Committee stepped in to partner with public and private stakeholders in protecting and serving the most vulnerable in our communities.
KBZ BANK’S CONTRIBUTIONS UNDER THE OVERSIGHT OF SPIP COMMITTEE
Since COVID-19 first hit the country in March 2020, both the public and private sectors have been mobilising their networks to channel resources towards relief efforts. The establishment of the SPIP Committee has laid the groundwork for KBZ Bank’s swift response to the call for humanitarian assistance from the government as well as the wider community.
Similar to any other SPIP request, we make a concerted effort to channel our donations towards credible organisations and initiatives, while upholding the SPIP’s principles of governance and accountability. In addition to receiving the majority approval from the SPIP committee, requesting organisations need to provide detail on how the requested budgets will be utilised. The vast majority of approved organisations are central and regional government offices, as well as government-appointed COVID-19 response committees, including the Ministry of Health and Sports, Shan State Regional Government COVID-19 Committee, and the Yangon Regional Government.
The Ministry of Health and Sports
The MOHS has been the key government body guiding the country’s COVID-19 response efforts, from issuing advisories, conducting mass temperature screening, to repurposing existing facilities into treatment and quarantine centres. As the surge in new cases has put a strain on the Ministry’s resources, KBZ Bank has donated approximately MMK 1.3 billion worth of materials and cash to initiatives backed by the MOHS. MMK 1.1 billion of this pertains to the provision of medical equipment and supplies to support the Ministry’s efforts of prevention, containment, and treatment of COVID-19. To expedite the delivery of these items, KBZ Bank also chartered a Myanmar Airways International (MAI) flight from Guangzhou, China, which accounted for MMK 6.6 million worth of supplies.
* More information on KBZ Bank’s response to COVID-19 can be found here.
KBZ Bank has also donated 500kW power generators to improve the testing and test kit storage capacity at MOHS’ National Health Lab, which amounted to approximately MMK 123.7 million. Another MMK 50.0 million in cash was donated to MOHS through an initiative by the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) when the first wave of the pandemic hit Myanmar.
Shan State Regional Government
Another major partner of KBZ Bank is Shan State Regional Government COVID-19 Committee. As COVID-19 hit Myanmar, several regional governments took the initiative to set up response committees for their own regions under the guidance of the central government and MOHS. The regional government committees also liaise with each other to create a support network that reroutes and distribute donated items to those in need.
As KBZ Bank’s key partner, the Shan State Regional Government’s COVID-19 committee has been distributing resources to other regional COVID19 response committees across the country, from Chin, Kayah, Magway, to the more remote Rakhine region.
The Shan State Regional Government COVID-19 Committee is Chaired by Dr. Lin Htut, Chief Minister of Shan State together with other key ministers from the regional government including Dr. Myo Tun, Shan State Minister for Social Welfare.
The Committee steps in and bridges the gaps where local government capacity for emergency and medical response is limited and lacking in resources. The Shan State COVID-19 Committee received more than MMK 1.8 billion in cash, food supplies, and medical equipment under the SPIP Committee’s approval. Led by the Shan State Regional Government for COVID-19 response initiatives, the committee has been a key partner of KBZ Bank in distribution of resources to other regional COVID19 response committees, from Chin, Kayah, Magway, to the more remote Rakhine region. Given the scale of the donation, KBZ Bank has requested the committee to produce an audit report for impact assessment as well as bookkeeping purposes.
Yangon Regional Government
With Yangon being one of the hardest-hit cities by the second wave of outbreaks, the Yangon Regional Government stepped up detection and quarantine measures to curb further community transmission. The regional authority called for emergency donations from various organizations residing in Yangon, including the need to increase field hospital style quarantine facilities throughout the city. KBZ Bank was one of the many responders to support the Yangon Regional Government to increase capacity for Facility Quarantine Centres. With Yangon Convention Centre pledging their space to be converted into a Quarantine Centre, KBZ Bank decided to support as a lead donor to complete the conversion of YCC into a quarantine center in 14 days.
The SPIP Committee swiftly convened and approved the donation request of MMK 500 million within the same day. With KBZ Bank as the lead donor and the guidance of Yangon Regional Government and the MOHS, the treatment facility, known as Inya Quarantine Centre, was constructed within 14 days and has a capacity of 516 patients beds, including 104 oxygen therapy beds for patients in critical condition. The SPIP Committee will also request for an audit report from the Inya Quarantine Centre Management.
As part of SPIP’s on-going improvements, Inya Centre marks the first organization to open an Escrow Trust account. On 12th October 2020, KBZ Bank Trust was appointed as an Escrow Agent by the Inya Centre Finance Committee to take custodianship of the public donations and hold them separate with full oversight. SPIP will continue to push for large cash donations through Escrow Agent in the future.
To mark KBZPay’s 2nd anniversary, KBZ Bank has donated our annual anniversary budget of MMK 45.0 million to the temporary hospital in Aung Myint Mo Housing, South Dagon Township in Yangon. Under the guidance of Yangon Regional Government, the residential development was transformed into a COVID-19 treatment centre for up to 2,500 people. KBZ Bank’s donation paid for the equipment and facilities needed to set up new High-Dependency Units (HDU) and emergency kits to treat COVID-19 patients at the hospital.
The bank further contributed six infrared thermal detection units worth MMK 120.0 million to the Yangon Regional Government to amplify temperature screening in the community.
Other Regional Governments
Earlier this year, another MMK 20.0 million in cash was also donated via the Myanmar Bank Association to support Mandalay General Hospital and Sittwe General Hospital for COVID-19 to support with more resources.
The Upper Myanmar Head Office also supported food and medical supplies to the Loikaw Quarantine Facility, which is managed by Kayah Regional Government.
Donations by KBZ Bank’s Branches
Beyond supporting key partner organisations, KBZ Bank’s branches donated 21,000 bags of rice and cash to vulnerable populations and for frontline medical workers across 9 regional government hospitals, totalling MMK 859.6 million.
Please refer to Figure 6 for a breakdown of COVID-19 donations made by KBZ Bank.
Support from Other Companies Bearing the KBZ Brand
As KBZ Bank leads various COVID-19 relief efforts, other companies under the KBZ Brand have also provided their support in several ways, all which collectively amounted to more than MMK 1.22 billion in value:
While these donations were made under the oversight of these companies, approvals were based on governance principles similar to those set forth by the SPIP Committee and were reported to the Committee for visibility.
Separately from all corporate givings, family members of KBZ Bank’s Chairman Emeritus Aung Ko Win made family’s own private giving of MMK 1.46 billion towards relief efforts, including donations to local NGOs such as “We Love Yangon”, collaboration with the MOHS for quarantine centres and provision of ICU equipment, PPE, and masks, supporting cabbage farmers, cash donations to frontline medical workers and volunteers.
In total, KBZ Bank, other companies under the KBZ Brand, and the Chairman Emeritus’ family have contributed MMK 7.5 billion towards COVID-19 Response as at the end of September 2020.
ALIGNMENT WITH CERP GOALS
In order to mitigate the economic impacts posed by COVID-19, the Myanmar government has implemented the CERP, which consists of seven goals designed to meet the current exigencies Myanmar faces.
In support of the plan, the SPIP Committee has stepped in to bridge the gap for several CERP goals where resources were limited. Some of our key focus areas are easing impacts on vulnerable households and helping to strengthen the public healthcare system.
|CERP Goals||Initiatives/ Donations|
|Goal 4: Easing the Impact on Households|
|4.1.2 Unconditional Cash and|
|Emergency relief donations of rice bags and food packages to vulnerable households via the Shan State COVID-19 Committee|
Facilitating safe and contactless cash disbursement from the government to vulnerable households via mobile banking app KBZPay (independent of SPIP Committee).
|Goal 6: Healthcare Systems Strengthening|
|6.1.1 Extend and Improve Quarantine Centres/Facilities||Donation to Yangon Regional Government to build Inya Quarantine Centre|
|6.1.2 Importation of Key Medical Products||Donation of airlifted medical equipments to the MOHS from Guangzhou, China|
|6.1.4 Improve Health Sector Human Resource Capacity||Donation of medical supplies and PPE sets to hospitals and medical teams across Myanmar via the MOHS and Shan State COVID-19 Committee|
Provision of accommodation for medical staffs for three months at Jasmine Palace Hotel
|6.1.5 Upgrade Existing Health Facilities||Donation of 500kW power generators to improve the testing capacity at MOHS’ National Health Lab|
Donation of infrared thermal detection units to the Yangon Regional Government
Today, KBZ Bank’s SPIP Committee continues to provide a benchmark for the channeling of critical funds and resources in the ongoing battle against COVID-19 in Myanmar. The committee has demonstrated that national relief efforts can be carried out with both generosity and accountability.
As the committee partners with organizations at the frontlines, it will continue to learn and improve its processes to set the standard for corporate philanthropy in Myanmar. We welcome all valued partners to provide their feedback and work with us to support nation-building in Myanmar through COVID-19 and beyond.
To request a donation from the SPIP Committee, please fill out the form on the SPIP section of the KBZ Bank website www.kbzbank.com/en/corporate-social-responsibility/.