18. Corporate Citizenship

The company discloses how it contributes to corporate citizenship in the regions in which it conducts its core business activities.

OLB’s business strategy comprises the objective to perform activities that are sustainable under ecological and social aspects. Therefore, it has, for many years now, been strongly active in community work. It is, one the one hand, a top employer and one of the large companies offering training for apprentices and it is, on the other hand, a committed promotor and sponsor for projects from most different fields. The vast majority of the projects is performed by charitable organisations and relates to youth, culture and social matters. On regular occasions during the year, the Bank analyses whether it lives up to the claim of its social commitment or whether new objectives or a new funding focus should be agreed upon. OLB and its foundation supported about 450 projects with a total volume of more than EUR 800,000 in the year 2020. This included donations of more than EUR 43,000. The sums mentioned herein implicitly include the funding granted by the Bankhaus Neelmeyer brand. No support was granted in the reporting year in the name of the Wüstenrot Bank brand. OLB’s commitment in the field of support and sponsoring is, at the same time, a preventive measure against potential reputational risks.
 
The total amount of funding fell compared with the year before, (previous year: EUR 1.1 million), however, the number of funded projects went up (previous year: more than 300 projects). Reason for this development is, on the one hand, the restrictions caused by the Corona virus pandemic which applied in the course of the year and which impaired or prevented the performance of projects. On the other hand, OLB-Stiftung performed two special actions in the year 2020 (“150.000 gute Gründe für die Jugend“ (150,000 good reasons for young people) and “Corona Soforthilfe“ (Immediate Corona Relief)) which ensured the support of numerous projects. These and many other funds granted to charitable organisations are provided mainly from the net proceeds of the “OLB Glückssparen“ (Happy Savings) project, for the grant of which OLB-Stiftung, being the carrier of OLB Glückssparen, observes the “Geschäftsordnung für Förderungen aus Reinerträgen des OLB Glückssparens“ (Rules of Procedure for Funding Made from Earnings of OLB Glückssparen). OLB-Stiftung was founded on the occasion of OLB’s 125th anniversary in 1994 with the purpose of promoting culture, science and the protection of the environment within the region. The work of the Foundation focusses on projects initiated by the Foundation which emphasis the strength of the Weser-Ems region and which give new ideas and impetus to the development of the North Western region of Germany. 
 
In 2020, OLB-Stiftung performed the eleventh tender for the OLB Wissenschaftspreis (Science Price). The most excellent works submitted by state-recognised universities and technical colleges will be awarded prices totalling EUR 28,000 in 2021. This award has the highest prize money of its type in the North West of German and is considered a recognised contribution to promoting the science region North West. The Board of Directors of OLB-Stiftung which also includes one member of OLB’s Board of Directors is informed about all funded projects on a regular basis. Science and research specifically for the federal state of Bremen are promoted at Bankhaus Neelmeyer through the Peter Franz Neelmeyer-Stiftung (Foundation). This foundation was founded in 2004 to strengthen and provide focussed support for the sciences at the location of the Bankhaus Neelmeyer in Bremen.
 
In addition to the funding activities, universities and technical colleges of the Weser-Ems region and in Bremen are supported by the Deutschlandstipendium (German Scholarship) and schools receive assistance in the training of applicants. The Bank also welcomes any honourable commitment of their employees who are active in many associations.
 
Sponsoring projects of a commercial nature must be financed from the Bank’s own funds as a PR action. Applications for such funds can be submitted to the Corporate Communication department. OLB’s Board of Directors is regularly informed about and involved in essential activities. The funding of sponsoring projects is prohibited under the Bank’s guidelines during relevant offer phases and when concrete steps are taken to initiate transactions, during recent conclusions of contracts and during ongoing tender and bidding processes. This is verified by the Internal Audit department of OLB in regular intervals. The compliance with internal guidelines and existing documents is verified on the basis of spot checks. Audits of the financial statements of foundations are performed by external auditing bodies.
 
Persons interested in establishing foundations can benefit from OLB’s decades of experience in working as a foundation and are supported professionally and with trust on their path to establishing a foundation. The charitable OLB-Treuhandstiftung Weser-Ems (Trust Foundation) offers the option to pursue dedicated foundation purposes through endowments under this umbrella foundation. Suitable projects are found in the region through a cooperation in the Foundation’s Advisory Board and the founder’s intentions will be implemented in an effective manner. This option might also be offered through Peter-Franz-Neelmeyer-Stiftung (Foundation) as umbrella foundation.
 
In 2020, it proved impossible to perform the dedicated risk analysis in relation to social matters which the Bank had planned. But, it still plans to do it. All available internal capacities were needed otherwise on account of the higher and changing requirements caused by the Corona virus pandemic. The Bank currently verifies the involved areas and the responsibilities for an implementation.