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, establishing a Culture of evaluation and discipline for the benefit of all stakeholders, and 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. This is a way that Boards can ensure that the ethical “temperature” of their organization is regularly monitored.
The HFSF has supported the introduction of Board Ethics & Sustainability Committees by including it as part of its Corporate Governance recommendations to the Banks, and by providing presentations 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.