Social Responibility of the National Bank of Serbia
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 is public trust, which is built through open and ongoing communication and true commitment to understanding the needs and problems of the community. In order to improve this communication, the National Bank of Serbia 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 National Bank of Serbia 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 Centre for Financial Consumer Protection and Education 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 Centre 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 National Bank of Serbia opened financial education offices in its branches in Kragujevac, Niš, Novi Sad, Užice and Belgrade.
Through leaflets, educational brochures and media presentations, the National Bank of Serbia informs the public not only about financial products and services, but also about various other activities under its remit. By organizing and holding public forums in cities and towns throughout Serbia, the National Bank of Serbia contributes to direct communication with interested citizens and thus, improves information availability in general.
Cultural and educational activities
As an institution of national and European significance, the NBS actively engages in public education. It enables both local and foreign audiences to learn about money 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, Night of Museums, European Heritage Days, Science Festival, Days of Belgrade, and the Open Day Door. In addition, it occasionally 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 2011
As part of its traditional community initiative “A Present for an Unknown Friend”, National Bank of Serbia's staff visited in early January the Home for Children and Youth with Developmental Disabilities in Sremčica and handed out 100 Christmas parcels collected to mark the New Year's holidays.
The NBS Exhibition and Education Unit, as part of its financial education programme for special user target groups (disadvantaged citizens with low education, marginalized groups, children with special needs), helped the Home for Children and Youth with Developmental Disabilities in Sremčica organize a workshop “Draw a Banknote of Your Choice” in April. The National Bank of Serbia bought nine original works produced by the children in the workshop and exhibited them in its Slavija building during the New Year’s holidays. Traditionally, the National Bank of Serbia also hosted at its head office the Easter sale of decorative and for-use objects made by the children from Sremcica Home and other eight homes for children with developmental disabilities in Belgrade. Children from the Day Care Centre for Children and Youth with Developmental Disabilities raised on this occasion RSD 50,000, and the children from the Home for Children and Youth with Developmental Disabilities “Sremčica” another RSD 9,000. The money was used to purchase craft materials for their workshops which are irreplaceable therapeutic aids in working with these children.
In May, the NBS supported the initiative of the Global Compact working group for support in emergency situations – collection of books for the National Library “Stefan Prvovenčani” in Kraljevo, thanks to which 210 books and magazines were collected for the library.
The NBS staff joined in the donation in-kind by collecting food for vulnerable families in Zvezdara and Palilula in cooperation with the Food Bank at the NBS head office. In this year's initiative staff collected around 900 kg of food, 300 kg more than last year.
In 2011 the National Bank of Serbia again hosted the New Year's humanitarian exhibition of children’s artwork of the Sremčica Home and the Day Care Centre for Children and Youth with Developmental Disabilities in Belgrade. The works were displayed in both Slavija and Kralja Petra buildings and RSD 133,000 were raised during the event. In December, the NBS again engaged in a community initiative “A Present for an Unknown Friend” together with the non-governmental organization Mali veliki ljudi, during which NBS staff and their children made 150 New Year's presents for children with special needs.
Throughout 2011, special emphasis was placed on community involvement of NBS staff from Novi Sad, Kragujevac, Niš and Užice branches. The Easter exhibition of for-use objects made by the pupils of the school for primary and secondary school education “Milan Petrović” organized at the Novi Sad branch raised RSD 9,000. Kragujevac branch organized collection of food for vulnerable families in Kragujevac in cooperation with the Food Bank organization. Owing to high employee turnout, 200 kg of food was collected. On the following day, the colleagues from the branch, together with Exhibition and Education Unit staff, handed out the food parcels. Another food collection action, in cooperation with the non-governmental organization Food Bank, was realized at the Novi Sad branch for vulnerable children from the Safehouse shelter for children and youth in Novi Sad, raising 125 kg of food. The employees from the Niš branch collected food for the “Association of Self-Supporting Mothers” in Niš. Participation went across the board and 200 kg of food was collected.
Užice branch made sweet parcels for children at the Petar Radovanović Home in Užice. All employees took part in this action and many also went to visit the Home and distribute the parcels.
Novi Sad NBS branch also hosted a New Year's humanitarian sale exhibition featuring works of pupils from the school for primary and secondary education Milan Petrović and raised RSD 22,000.
The Governor's decision on terms and conditions of allocation of donations and humanitarian aid governs the allocation of donations and humanitarian aid from the National Bank of Serbia funds. Allocation of such funds is specified in the financial plan of the National Bank of Serbia.
Pursuant to this decision, a seven-member committee was formed, which set the criteria for considering applications for donations and humanitarian aid. Under the terms and conditions set by this decision the National Bank of Serbia may also hand out equipment that had been written off.
Responsibility towards employees
Human resources and a responsible recruitment policy are the cornerstone and the key prerequisite for successful performance of the National Bank of Serbia. With a view to improving motivation, expertise, and efficiency of its staff, the National Bank of Serbia 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.