As the first Iranian bank and a part of the government body of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Bank Sepah has always paid special attention to institutionalizing administrative health and preventing corruption. Purifying the working environment from effective factors contributing to all types of administrative corruption has always been accentuated by the Bank's top management; therefore, on various occasions, emphasis has been put on the necessity of the enforcement of the following detailed strategies (with regards to the Bank's environmental and local features). Using all legal tools, the Bank has endeavored to render the administrative system transparent and to take fundamental steps simultaneously to eliminate corruption at all levels.
However, the bank has always considered fighting against the cases of principal administrative corruption with a view to prevent economic, social and political disorder. The following items indicate the Bank's efforts organized in line with the administrative health promotion and anti-corruption plan:
- Optimizing and improving internal monitoring (with the approach to the development of preventive regulatory tools);
- Categorizing and identifying vulnerable jobs, with the elimination of blind spots and closing bottlenecks that are prone to corruption;
- Determining necessary criteria for the selection and appointment of executive managers;
- Identifying and eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy, and compiling transparent regulations to establish healthy relationships between employees and customers;
- Creating easy-to-access and abundant channels to receive customers' complaints, criticisms and suggestions;
- Clearly informing the customers of the standard procedures and required documents for banking services;
- Promoting religious teachings and emphasizing the observance of religious, ethical values in organizational interactions; and
- Endeavoring to design and install the Comprehensive Electronic Banking Program.
The following paper gives the readers a detailed report on the procedure and manner of the enforcement of a transparent administrative system and combating corruption, as well as the Bank's basic measures taken to promote administrative health and to avoid any kind of corruption.
1. Administrative and managerial strategies and measures to promote administrative health, boost customer contentment, and revere customers.
As per the executive regulations and by-laws, the Bank's top management has always considered compiling and enforcing the strategic plans for the transparency of activities, increasing accountability, boosting the customers' contentment, vindicating their rights, as well as revering the customers.
The following is a brief outline of the strategies and measures provided within the said framework:
- Continual review of internal regulations.
- Continual review of services procedures.
- Improvement of technical and telecommunication tools and facilities.
- Identification and elimination of unnecessary bureaucratic bottlenecks and possible parallel procedures.
- Reduction of the service time.
- Optimizing the quality of services.
- Clarification of the manner of service rendering.
- Facilitation of public access to the required information.
- Decentralization and devolution of authority to branch managers to grant credits and facilities, aiming to reduce physical presence of customers.
- Surveying the customers and utilizing the results obtained.
- Establishment of various physical, electronic and virtual channels to receive the customers' complaints, criticisms and suggestions.
- Promotion of revering customers and accountability, as a culture, among all members of staff.
- Enforcement of reward and punishment systems among members of staff.
- Setting name plates for the members of staff at the customers' sight.
- nspection of the concerned sections by the Revering Plan's inspectors.
- Providing guide boards for floors and rooms in concerned departments.
- Expediting procedures and improvement of service provision with utmost discipline and care.
- Establishment of information stands (called Ista Bank).
2. Strategies and measures to interact with regulatory bodies such as State General Inspection Organization, Supreme Audit Court and Ministry of Information
The following measures have been taken to interact with external regulatory bodies (in particular State General Inspection Organization):
- Cooperation in recruiting required human resources
- Cooperation in compiling and presenting required financial data on the activities of other executive bodies.
- Active membership of the Bank in the Complaints and Notices Database of State General Inspection Organization.
- Timely handling of the inspectors' considerations of State General Inspection Organization.
- Prompt preparation for the execution of corrective comments from State General Inspection Organization's inspectors.
- Hosting the inspectors of State General Inspection Organization on a continual basis, for the purpose of reviewing the Bank's performance.
- Preparing the space and all the equipment required by experts of State General Inspection Organization and Supreme Audit Court.
- Cooperation with regulatory bodies.
- Cooperation with intelligence organizations to enquire about candidates for sensitive positions.
3. Economic measures and strategies for administrative health promotion such as privatizing, targeting the subsidies and combating smuggling goods, etc.
Within the macroeconomic policy of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran (the subject of the Act of Fifth Economic, Social and Cultural Development Plan and the considered requirements in implementation of the Article 44 of the Constitution) and programs compiled by the General Assembly of the Banks, economic measures taken by Bank Sepah are based on the followings:
- Transferring ownership shares in affiliated companies via issuing shares on the Stock Exchange.
- Monitoring the sales of surplus and unnecessary properties.
- Selling collateral and ownership properties.
- Participation in buying strategic goods in line with the fulfillment of the targeted subsidy plan.
- Cooperation and consistency with the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, incl. increasing the banking hours in the period of subsidy payment and upgrading the software of Shetab network, in order to perform the targeted subsidy plan optimally.
- Transferring some part of the backup and services to the private sector in line with government outsourceing in compliance with tender procedures.
- Monitoring administrative expenses and purchases in order to eliminate the economic rent and possible misuses.
4. Educational as well as knowledge-increasing measures and strategies for administrative health promotion
- Based on principles of the "administrative health promotion" and anti-corruption plan and in order to improve the level of services and professional staffs, variety of training courses and retraining workshops are planned and enforced.
- Educational and cultural sub-structuring to promote the level of working morality and ethics.
- In line with the enforcement of the law of "administrative health promotion" and anti-corruption plan, details of administrative violations of law have been notified to all sections of our bank by the Department of Education.
5. Regulatory strategies and measures as well as evaluating the organizational performance
Using the public and private internally approved criteria, our personnel General Department and the Organizational Affairs and Planning Directorate are responsible for monitoring and evaluating within the organization.
- Monitoring the performance of sections through: getting feedback from customers and clients, receiving reports on the performances from different sections, studying a case of their activities and performances, and evaluating the colleagues' performances yearly through completing the evaluation forms.
- Strengthening control and regulatory sections
- Employees' participating in affairs by developing the "Proposals" site and receiving their suggestions in order to optimize the work procedures, and accordingly, praising and encouraging the bidders.
- Controlling the branches via offline and online systems, in general and by case.
- Keeping systematic controls.
6. Strategies and measures in the field of information technology, transparency and increasing accountability
Note that from 2007, Bank Sepah has been subject to the restrictions resulting from the UN and EU sanctions so a lot of projects related to the purchase of computer hardware and software encountered problems. Thus, relying on its internal resources and banking experts, our bank engaged in designing and implementing the systems required.
The outlines of measures taken in order to expand the public control and also improve the quality of transparency and information technology are as follows:
- Development of the telephone system "no. 1557" for the bank customers' round-the-clock to communicate with the Bank.
- Development of a specific web site called "Bank Sepah".
- Establishment of various physical, telecommunication and virtual channels for receiving customers' complaints, criticisms and suggestions.
- Expediting the investigation and replying to the customers' complaints, criticisms and suggestions.
- Regardless of being suffered from many banking and financial issues which include complex and technical aspects, the Bank seeks to address the received complaints in the least possible time, in addition to the detailed investigation of matters.
- Considering that the majority of complaints are made to us by phone calls and in order to revere and respect our customers' determination to select this communication tool (which shows the importance of speed), the issues are investigated and replied over the telephone. In important cases, other tools (letter, fax, email) are used as well.
- Establishment of useful interaction with competent authorities, such as Investigation Centre for Public Complaints in Presidential Institution.
- Planning programs for directors' periodic visits of branches under their covered regions, as well as the consideration and investigation of complaints, criticisms and suggestions
- Strengthening the rule of law and respect for the laws and administrative regulations, as a culture, among employees.
- Moreover, note that portals for addressing the customers' complaints are exploited by Inspection and Auditing General Department. Thus, using the telecommunications platforms and launching the comprehensive automation systems, the subordinate sections receive and address public complaints under the supervision of the General Department.
- Advertising through the public media and using posters in subsidiary branches, the Bank has notified its customers of the portal address and contact numbers related to its Complaint Section.
7. Legal measures and strategies to promote the administrative health
- Benefiting from well-experienced staff and participating actively in the legal commissions of other banks, our Legal General Dept. reflects Banks' expert opinions on the legal regulations and the compilation thereof to the competent authorities.
- Appointing senior inspectors to monitor the combat against the corruption and bribery
- Establishing a working group as per the Article 13, Clause 1 of the by-law titled "Prevention and Combat against Bribery".
- Observing all notified guidelines, circulars and by-laws, as well as monitoring their execution through the implementation of "Comprehensive Inspection Programme".
8. Processes and measures regarding the professional ethics of management in order to promote the administrative health
- Establishing meritocratic system in selections and appointments.
- Improving public culture and enhancing social system
- mproving organizational culture and enhancing religious and ethical values in employees' organizational and professional behavior.
- Developing educational infrastructures.
- Strengthening the council of "Commanding the Good and Forbidding the Evil" and the Paygah-e-Basij (Basij base) as the cultural-ethical centre for achieving aims and objectives of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran in all departments.
- Emphasizing the high religious and ethical values/ mottos and eliminating any grounds of disobedience or actions against law.
- Providing the necessary training courses for the employees in accordance with the requirements of their capacities.
- Funding the training courses for employees in order to broaden their vision and knowledge on technical, ethical and behavioral aspects of the capacities they hold
- Encouraging and rewarding the employees who contribute to the customer satisfaction.