Barclays is a global financial institution with a 300-year history in banking. Today, it operates in over 50-countries, employs in excess of 150,000 people and caters to the financial needs of over 42-million customers and clients worldwide.

Barclays Global Retail and Commercial Banking (GRCB) is led in India by Samir Bhatia, Managing Director, India and Indian Ocean, and opened its doors to commercial banking customers in November 2006. It has, over the past two years, grown to be amongst the most respected foreign bank franchises in the country. The consumer banking division, launched in May 2007, offers customers a growing suite of products and services that are relevant both to their current and emerging market needs.

Samir Bhatia is the Managing Director of Barclays India and Indian Ocean

"At Barclays, we sincerely believe that we have a lasting responsibility toward the communities in which we operate. That is what drove us in 2007 to invest over 52 million in community projects globally, and which saw more than 43,000 Barclays colleagues from across the Barclays world participate in community development initiatives."

Investing in the community fulfills a double-edged requisite, contributing towards Barclays strategy of sustainability and the communities' holistic development. Participation of colleagues forms a key strength of the corporate sustainability programme. In tandem with community-based partnerships and financial commitments, Barclays makes a very real and positive impact on communities around the world.

The bank is guided by a simple philosophy that can be easily listed as -

  • Banking on brighter futures
  • Looking after local communities
  • Charity begins at work
This creates a defined path of maximising resources, while creating a paradigm of sustainable impact.

In 2007, £52.4 million was invested in community projects around the world and more than 43,000 employees in 29 countries were involved in fundraising, volunteering and regular-giving initiatives.

Across the world and in India, Barclays is working with the local communities to create the desired sustainable change. Through The Barclays Pledge, $150 million is being invested, over the next five years, in the Banking on Brighter Futures programme. 1,500 projects around the world will be supported and colleagues will be encouraged to volunteer 150,000 hours of work time to get involved.

Banking on Brighter Futures is Barclays flagship programme through which financial contributions are made, bringing the power and capability of the organisation to tackle social issues. Efforts are focused on financial inclusion, entrepreneurship, education, enterprise and helping people into employment. One of the recent highlights under this initiative has been the global partnership with the UNICEF.

Samir Bhatia, MD, India and Indian Ocean, Barclays GRCB and Rachael Barber,
Head of Global Community Investment, Barclays Bank Plc., along with
a team from UK attending the Barclays-UNICEF initiated community initiative

Samir Bhatia,MD, India and Indian Ocean, Barclays GRCB & Rachael Barber,
Head of Global Community Investment, Barclays Bank Plc., with the Self Help Group in Mumbai

Earlier this year, a rural skills development programme was initiated with Pratham for providing training to the rural youth. The main objective was to make enterprising youth job creators, rather than job seekers.

Another pillar of corporate sustainability is the involvement with the local communities under the Looking After Local Communities programme. Barclay's commitment helps in fulfilling local responsibilities; investments are made in numerous neighborhoods around the world where Barclays has a presence. A healthcare project is being supported through a mobile van hospital initiative, while infrastructure support for education is being provided for the visually challenged in Mumbai.

Message drive kick started the Association with I Love Mumbai
articulating their feelings on the 200 feet long banner

In an endeavor to provide immediate relief to those adversely affected by the terror attacks of 26/11 in Mumbai, Barclays has donated Great Britain Pound (GBP) 50, 000 to "I Love Mumbai". I Love Mumbai with Barclays will also create a series of disaster management training programmes with the youth of the city to be rolled out through 2009. Barclays believes Corporate India has a role to play and urges all corporates to come forward and play a crucial part in alleviating the woes of those grievously injured in the terror attacks.

Men, women and children alike sign the 200 feet banner to
salute the officers who sacrificed their lives to keep Mumbai safe

Supporting causes that matter is local markets is one of the best ways that Barclays can meet specific needs and engage local stake holders - be they customers, community representatives or colleagues.

Charity begins at work is that vital component of Barclays community investment programme. At the heart of it is the desire to engage and support colleagues who want to get involved with the causes they care about most. The objective is to harness their energy, time and skills because all involved have huge amounts to give - and gain - by being involved.

Samir Bhatia, MD, India and Indian Ocean and Kavita Shah CEO,
Concern India Foundation inaugurating the Nationwide volunteering
initiatives Make a Difference, Paint a Diffrence

It is important that employees find it easy to participate in Barclays corporate social responsibility activities. This is done through Make a Difference Day, which is celebrated world-wide across the Barclays Group. It is with this objective in mind that in 2008, Barclays GRCB India launched Make a Difference, Paint a Difference. Through this initiative, over 400 employees and their families participated in creating paintings of how to make the world a better place. These were then translated into cards and calendars, which were sold and the money raised was given to Concern India Foundation.

Barclays employees prepare to paint

Barclays offers a comprehensive range of support to colleagues globally, including matched fundraising, time off work and grants for volunteering. In 2007, more than 160,000 hours were volunteered and £12.8 million was raised for thousands of charities by colleagues who gave their time, money and skills to make it a success.