Outstanding Crisis Leadership 2020: Health Care

For entities that delivered exceptional support for provision of medicine and medical treatment.

Slovakia’s largest commercial bank, Slovenská sporitea, contributed €1 million to the fight against the coronavirus, half toward testing devices, sets and other equipment.


At the time of writing, Bolivia had the world’s fifth highest per-capita death rate from the Covid-19 pandemic and suffered from a serious lack of resources to contain the coronavirus. To help bolster the country’s meager health resources, Banco Mercantil Santa Cruz is supporting a number of health initiatives including the “Unidos por un Respiro” campaign, raising Bs770,000 to purchase medical equipment, respirators, monitors and biosafety equipment.

As a member of the Bolivian Association of Private Banks, BMSC donated medical supplies worth Bs11.7 million to the Ministry of Health. It also contributes to the “Unidos por el Beni” campaign, which helps a city severely hit by Covid, and Davosan, a non-profit volunteer group that provides hospital help to patients who can’t pay for treatments.


Bank Muscat is encouraging clients to use its e-application to enable speedy delivery of services while the pandemic necessitates social isolation. “The bank facilitated full trade support and quick turnarounds for high-priority business transactions like imports of food and pharmaceuticals,” says Fatma Khalifa Al Maskiry, assistant general manager, Global Trade Services. Bank Muscat donated over US$2.7 million to the health care sector for the purchase of critical equipment and medicines and also set up an account where the general public could directly contribute funds to the Ministry of Health in its measures to fight Covid-19. “As the leading financial institution in the Sultanate, Bank Muscat is always focused on strengthening the community and the nation,” Maskiry states.


Globally, Citi and the Citi Foundation committed over $100 million to support Covid-related community relief efforts. In Latin America, Citi committed nearly $6 million, of which Citibanamex has contributed $4.4 million to support local communities in Mexico, including emergency relief efforts. The Citi Foundation added $1 million for country-level relief efforts across the region, including funds for medical relief efforts in Uruguay, sanitation kits in Paraguay and, thanks to employee donations, $500,000 to the International Organization for Migration (Latin America). Emphasis also went to help Citi staff deal with challenges, says Ernesto Torres Cantú, CEO of Citi Latin America, notably by enhancing Live Well at Citi, the bank’s global wellbeing program for employees.


Slovakia’s largest commercial bank, Slovenská sporitea has contributed €1 million to the fight against the coronavirus, half toward testing devices, sets and other equipment. A further €40,000 donation to a crisis hotline provides psychological support to people who find themselves in difficult life situations during the pandemic. Slovenská sporitea also organized a TV fundraiser that garnered €130,000 for families affected by Covid-19.


Rand Merchant Bank seems to be everywhere at once supporting Covid -19 relief. Together with the FirstRand Foundation and First National Bank, RMB committed R100 million as an anchor investment into the First Rand’s South African Pandemic Intervention and Relief Effort (SPIRE), which is driven by a group of volunteers from across the FirstRand group to assist frontline health care workers. SPIRE works closely with the Solidarity Fund, Business for South Africa (B4SA) and other industry and sector initiatives.

Funds have been used to import Covid-19 testing kits, increase ICU funding, buy personal protective equipment and respirators, and develop the Intubox, which protects hospital workers and critical-care patients from airborne, virus-spreading particles.

RMB also distributed funds to non-profit organizations to supply food parcels to vulnerable households across the country. Partnering with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on the #Trade4Solidarity initiative, it donated trading and clearing fees over two days to the Solidarity Fund. The RMB Executive Committee agreed to forgo 30% of their salaries for three months, with proceeds going to SPIRE.

RMB has supported the arts during the pandemic as well, contributing R75,000 to South African creatives infected or affected by Covid-19 along with donations to an orchestra and choir and to the Lockdown Collection, which supports local artists impacted by the pandemic.       


A $5.2 million transaction approval to a local manufacture of respiratory equipment delivered 4,800 ventilators to African hospitals during the early months of the pandemic. Standard Bank also coordinated the sourcing and delivery of US$1.4 million of personal protective equipment from China through its Africa China Agent Proposition (ACAP), which leveraged the bank’s relationship with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) to facilitate client trade transactions.

Additionally, the bank has contributed R50 million toward purchases of PPE and hospital infrastructure and for humanitarian support in the first half of this year.

“ACAP assisted in sourcing the right quality and quantity from China at a time when the entire world’s demand for PPE supplies fell on China,” says Philip Myburgh, head of Africa China Banking at Standard Bank. “Securing this was an extraordinary effort by all involved. The trade suite team engaged with the supplier, ACAP and Standard Bank to advise on the best way of moving cargo so risks were mitigated as far as possible.”


Standard Chartered has dug deep to provide funds to aid medical professionals in the countries where it has operations across the AME region. Donations have included 30,000 N95 masks to the Dubai Health Authority and the Abu Dhabi-based Authority of Social Contribution—Ma’an, US$50,000 to the Emirates Red Crescent, 14,000 masks to the Zimbabwe Red Cross and $172,000 to support emergency relief in Ghana.

Standard Chartered Plc Group has donated $1 billion in financing for companies that provide goods and services to help the fight against Covid, a large portion of it directed to the AME region. The Joint Medical Store, a leading Ugandan NGO, was the first client to receive financing under the program. Part of a $50 million global charitable fund will also go to local NGOs to aid their Covid-related efforts.


After the pandemic hit, Tatra banka expanded its My Doctor service to all of its clients, not just its credit card holders. The free and unlimited service includes an online chatbot diagnosis of  Covid symptoms, an 11% discount on testing, a direct phone line to an on-call doctor and consultations with a psychologist, psychotherapist, coach or personal trainer via phone call, web chat or video call. Additionally, the Tatra banka Foundation has donated €500,000 to fight the coronavirus.


To encourage mask wearing, Taipei Fubon Bank (TFB) is offering a 20% cash rebate for purchases via a national online mask orders facility on any transaction made using a TFB credit card. TFB is also coordinating with staff and government Covid app warnings to ensure that no staff unwittingly travel to destinations with a “red light” status. The program has been so effective, the bank reports, that as of this writing, no staff have received a single anti-epidemic short message service (SMS) text alerting them they are in a red light area.        

Methodology: Behind the Rankings

Selection was limited to entities that submitted entries. After an initial review by a panel of three independent judges, those whose efforts were on par with peers (rather than above the average) were eliminated. The remaining entrants were evaluated, scored in each category and ranked separately by each of the judges as well as two Global Finance editors. Scoring took into consideration local conditions and the capacity of the entrant, and awarded points for speed, innovation and cross-border reach.