Responsible Banking

Governance

Polaris Bank’s business priorities with regards to environmental, social and ethical issues are determined by the Board Governance, Nomination and Compensation Committee (BGNCC). The committee (through the Board, Risk Management Committee) also integrates the management and implementation of the Environmental and Social Risk Management policy into the Bank’s business decisions.

The Environmental and Risk Assessment portal has been fully implemented, enhanced and continuously updated to screen qualifying transactions for environmental and social risk towards efficient business decision making. The portal is guided by various internal standards and external collaborations like UNEPFI, IFC, ILO, Equator principles etc.

Environmental Responsibility

The Bank’s attentiveness to environmental preservation cannot be over-emphasized. This reflects in its steady commitment to mitigating and possibly bringing to the barest minimum, the impact on the environment arising from its business decisions. In furtherance to this, it has taken adequate steps to develop a robust environmental and social management system that will help harness its activities and continuously give direction to not just the lending process but to the development of its environmental and social Management focused initiatives.

In recent years, there has been marked improvement in the Bank’s carbon footprint. The Bank has reduced its paper (recycled) consumption by over 20% yearly following a constant use of the K2 application (an automated workflow for various internal approvals to reduce the use of paper for such processes) and this is expected to further reduce in the future. The application also reduced the cost of stationeries, man-hours and associated logistics cost in addition to reducing the Bank’s processing time on all automated processes.

The Bank’s procurement policy also continues to reflect the commitment to environmental responsibility as it has in place a continuous vendor monitoring programme to ensure improved compliance hence sustainable procurement.

The Bank has continuously reduced the impact of carbon emission to the environment by reducing our dependence on fossil fuel. This is evident in the bank's drive for the use of alternate energy source i.e. Solar Energy to power security lights and ATMs across branches bank wide.

Employee

Polaris Bank admits that employees are extraordinary resources and therefore ensures a healthy and cheerful workforce whilst favourable welfare conditions with competitive benefits are in place to ensure staff retention. The drive has influenced the behaviour of the entire personnel which resulted to enhanced work performance. Based on the training policy of the Bank, all employees have a variety of capacity building initiatives to boost their distinct abilities. The Bank’s robust e-learning portal enhances its vision for continuous knowledge acquisition and professional development.    

The Accreditation of the Polaris Business School allows all graduates of the school an  exemption from nine (9) out of the nineteen (19) subjects in the ACIB Examinations which forms a criteria for the chartered banker professional certification (ACIB) issued the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

Gender Diversity and Inclusion

Polaris Bank celebrates individuality and diversity, treats its entire workforce equally with respect, dignity and fairness. In line with best practice, the Bank offers equitable remuneration and capacity development opportunity for all regardless of gender, ethnicity, ideology or creed. Polaris Bank also ensures that applications for employment by persons with disabilities are given utmost consideration. In the event that current staff members become physically challenged, appropriate training and counselling sessions are organized to guarantee continuous employment with the Bank as required.

The Bank ensures it aligns with best practices on gender equality. Presently, the gender mix of the Bank is 60% male and 40% female while the Ethnic diversity mix is also non-discriminatory and in line with best practice.

Health and Safety

The achievement of a healthy and safe place of work and the elimination to the barest minimum, possible hazards to health and safety are the responsibility of everyone in the Bank’s employment.

Over the years, the Bank has maintained an enviable Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) framework. The enforcement of HSE is answerable to the Bank as well as employees, customers and other stakeholders on the Bank’s premises. Polaris Bank ensures adequate practices and procedures which provides an appropriate working environment for the workforce to deliver at their utmost ability.

Polaris Bank remains ISO 22301 certified and operates within the protocols: A Business Continuity Management certification which ensures the timely resumption of business operations in the event of an incident occurring and the protection of personnel and the organization.

Health

Malaria and Other Serious Diseases

Polaris Bank recognizes that the work force remains its most valuable asset and is committed to the well-being of the staff members, with emphasis on their mental, physical and emotional wellness/wellbeing. 

The Bank in partnership with Health Management Organizations (HMO) operates a health coverage structure where employees and their dependents are registered with hospitals under the insurance scheme to access health care. )

An annual Health assessment is held in the Bank to reiterate the importance of healthy living for all staff. Various Health topics are adopted for the week; ranging from Physical Health, Mental Health, to Nutrition and preventive health care. 

 

HIV Testing, Confidentiality and Disclosure

Polaris Bank contributes to events that provide sensitization for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) regularly. Being an institution that shows great concern for well-being, the Bank takes seriously initiatives that promote awareness, prevention and management of the disease and also supports individuals who are affected. In addition, the Bank encourages non-discrimination on HIV/AIDS particularly in the workplace and does not require employees, their dependents, job applicants or other third parties to undergo HIV testing as a pre-condition.

Human Rights

As a reputable financial institution, the Bank’s actions are always noticed. Polaris Bank continues to be a responsible corporate citizen that respects and promote human rights in its business conduct. This is emphasized during regular stakeholder’s engagement session where it is reinforced that human right infringement prevents full participation within a group and eventually becomes injurious to the community.

Collaboration

Polaris Bank appreciates the role of strategic partnership in accomplishing greater sustainability goals, hence we continue to work with Local and International intuitions toward promoting environmentally and socially responsible economic development with focus on ensuring our current activities do not undermine the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

As part of its collaborative work, Polaris Bank maintains membership with leading global organisation in sustainability. The Bank is a member of The United Nations Environment Programme and Financial Institutions (UNEPFI), Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI). Polaris Bank is also a member to the GRI G4 Pioneer Group being the only Nigerian Bank represented in the Group.

Code of Ethics

For Polaris Bank it is necessary to attract and retain dedicated employees with a strong service mind-set for business continuity, long-term performance hence sustainability.  The Bank’s core values which are the foundation for its culture and its ways of working are described in the Bank’s Code of Conduct which focuses on areas of ethical risk. 

The Code also provide guidance to help employees recognize and deal with ethical issues, make available mechanisms for employees to report unethical conduct, foster among employees a culture of honesty in addition to accountability and it is attested at the beginning of each year by every employee