Banks' Corporate Governance
As one of the strategic stakeholders of the four systemic Banks in Greece, the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF) has always strived to promote and, where needed, initiate reform in the form of progressive Corporate Governance initiatives.
This key strategic objective of the HFSF’s mission, of improving the Corporate Governance framework and Board performance of the Greek systemic Banks, has been pursued by working with the Banks, promoting awareness of systemic issues, and driving the establishment of an appropriate, transparent and accountable “Governance Culture”.
This emphasis on effective Governance & Culture, along with Transparency and Accountability, which are two of the six UN Principles for Responsible Banking, has been instrumental in ushering a new era of solid and profitable growth for the Banks, creating long term value for the economy at large, their clients, their employees, and their shareholders, post their recapitalization support and as part of their restructuring efforts.
Key among those Corporate Governance initiatives have been the Fund’s Corporate Governance Objective & Standards, based on international best practices, strengthening the composition, and functioning of the Banks’ Board of Directors, in order to underpin consistently robust, and value adding decision making at the highest level of the Banks.
Furthermore, the Fund is continuously reviewing the implementation of a Governance best practices framework, along with specific recommendations for further improvement e.g., the placement of women on Banks’ Boards of Directors in the context of the promotion of gender equality and diversity as per relative law (L. 4706/2020),, as well as the evaluation and selection of highly qualified members, enhancement of “fit & proper” assessment framework for Boards’ individual and collective suitability, fulfillment of external engagement policies’ requirements etc., establishing a Culture of evaluation & continuous development, compliance and discipline for the benefit of all stakeholders, ensuring full Transparency and Accountability of impacts and contribution to society’s goals.
The HFSF in 2018 has led in Greek Banks the establishment of a Board Ethics & Sustainability Committee, responsible for overseeing the effectiveness of the business ethics, environmental, corporate social responsibility, sustainable business issues. Through this successful initiative
of the Fund, Banks’ Boards can ensure that the ethical “temperature” of their organization is regularly monitored with a view to optimizing the proactive management of relevant risks.
Since then, in the context of the continuous improvement of the governance structures and the effective monitoring, evaluation & minimization of relevant risks, the HFSF actively supports and, systematically promotes the introduction of Board Ethics & Sustainability Committees by including it as part of its Corporate Governance recommendations to the Banks, and by providing presentations and benchmarking references to best -domestic & international – practices
to Boards of all four systemic Greek Banks.
Both NBG and Piraeus Bank have already established a Board-level Ethics & Sustainability Committee to set and monitor the Bank’s Sustainability Strategy, whereas Alpha Bank has decided to allocate the responsibilities of such a Committee to existing Board Committees and in Eurobank it is currently at Executive level and under consideration for Board level.