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Entrepreneurs’ Perception of Banks’ Social Responsibility: A Haitian Case Study

Perception de la responsabilité sociale des banques par les entrepreneurs : une étude de cas haïtienne
Bénédique Paul, Ahmad H. Juma’h et Florys Dorante


Dans les pays en développement, où le soutien financier public aux entrepreneurs est limité, les banques, entre autres institutions financières, devraient être les piliers du financement de l’activité économique. Pour jouer ce rôle, elles doivent jouir d’une bonne perception parmi les entrepreneurs pour plusieurs raisons, notamment l’extension de leur marché, la respectabilité et la rentabilité. Pour atteindre ces objectifs, les banques adoptent des stratégies de responsabilité sociale pour influencer la perception publique vis-à-vis de leurs comportements. En Haïti, les banques ont investi dans la RSE et ont affiché une rentabilité et une croissance plus élevées que le reste de l’économie. Dans ce contexte, comment les entrepreneurs perçoivent-ils la responsabilité sociale des banques haïtiennes? Pour répondre à cette question, nous collectons des données empiriques auprès d’entrepreneurs de toutes tailles. Parmi les principales conclusions, nous constatons que les banques jouissent d’une très mauvaise perception parmi les entrepreneurs, les concessions spéciales accordées par le gouvernement et d’autres institutions internationales aux banques en Haïti sont perçues comme n’ayant pas contribué à augmenter les services financiers pour les entrepreneurs haïtiens.

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1For many decades the Haitian economy continues to show bad performance. The scattered government efforts to reduce poverty and create economic growth are usually swept away by natural disasters, sociopolitical shocks. Haiti’s Governments do not implement economic reform for many years. In addition, international debts contracted to finance government actions are squandered, leaving a growing majority of the population in extreme poverty, and high perception of corruption.

2Available data released in 2014 from national household survey (IHSI, 2014) reveals that more than 6 million out of 10.4 million Haitians (59%) were living below the national poverty line of US$2.41 per day, and over 2.5 million (24%) were living below the national extreme poverty line of US$1.23 per day. Haiti’s GDP per capita estimates for 2017 is $1,800. With a Gini coefficient of 0.59 (as of 2012), the country is also one of the unequal countries.

3According to the preliminary estimates of the National Institute of Statistics, Haiti’s economy experienced a little growth during the current decade. The GDP growth rate was 1.5% in 2018, in comparison to 1.2 in 2017 (IHSI, 2018). In a longer view, for the last two decades, GDP Annual Growth Rate in Haiti averaged 1.39 percent (1997 - 2017). During this period, the GDP Annual Growth Rate reached a record low of -5.50 percent after the 2010 earthquake and an all-time high of 5.50 percent in 2011. Since it slowed down to alternate 1.2 and 1.5% since 2015.

4Domestic financial resources are limited. In the 2016/2017 fiscal year, domestic revenues barely reached 12.9 percent of GDP. Although Haiti’s outstanding external debt was cancelled by donor countries after the 2010 earthquake; it rose rapidly to $2.6 billion as of December 2017. Most of this debt is due to Venezuela under the PetroCaribe program whose primary evaluation in the Parliament qualifies as a vast corruption scandal. Re-evaluation of the PetroCaribe fund by the highest Administrative Court, in 2018, opens ways and justifications for popular protests.

5For many institutional reasons (political instability, lack of incentives, corruption, among others), the Haitian productive economy is largely underfinanced. The agricultural sector, where most of the workers are employed is the less financed sector of the economy (Paul, 2016), while the Central Bank regularly reports excess liquidity in the banking sector. Recent incentives to push banks to finance housing and agriculture have not yet created a sensitive financial turn.

6Most of the external financial inflow to the country is actually remittances from the Diaspora, estimated around 2.772 billion US dollars (33.6% of GDP) for 2017 (Orozco, 2018). An underdevelopment trap is maintained by the low attractiveness for external financial resources and the public sector difficulties to mobilize internal resources (taxes) from a poor and mostly informal economy. In this context, the financial sector remains the most accessible lever to support private investments through the mobilization of internal financial resources. But, in economics, perception is fundamental, particularly among entrepreneurs. The relations between the banking sector and entrepreneurs are largely determined by the perceptions of the later. In Haiti, as in many countries, banks have invested in CSR to influence the possible negative perception of them. In this context, how do entrepreneurs perceive Haitian banks’ social responsibility? To answer this question, we collect empirical data among entrepreneurs of all size (micro, small and large) and develop statistical and econometric analysis.

1. Social Responsibility and Banking Activities in Haiti

7According to the Stakeholder theory (Freeman, 2010), the social responsibility of a company is related to its interests and objectives, as an element of company value creation. The main challenge of a company is to carry out its activities consistently with morals and ethics. The relationship between a company and its stakeholders is an important factor for a company’s successes (Freeman et al., 2004). Stakeholder theory helps to explore the perception of entrepreneurs regarding banking activities and economic development, customers’ satisfaction, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Haiti. Therefore, the article considers the demand side and not the supply side of the relationship between customers and banks.

8The growth and economic development of countries depend on internal and external factors; the banking systems offer several services such as raising capital to finance business activities (Lentner et al., 2015). The role of governments in banks’ activities influences all business entities. Some of the undeveloped countries do not protect private and public property, these include environmental issues. The little regulation of bank is associated with the capitalist market economy (La Porta et al., 2002; Barth et al., 2001, 2004). Organizations have increasingly improved the relationship between their businesses and the provision of economic, social and environmental benefits to the society in general (Francis, Weston, and Brich, 2015). According to the CSR pyramid (Carroll, 1991, 2016), CSR is related to four types of expectations; economic, legal, ethical, and discretionary or philanthropic. Organizations have intended to measure social value for around fifty years (Maignan, 2001; Baba, Ishida and Aoki, 2015). The main objective of this article is to explore the entrepreneurs’ perspectives with respect to CSR of banks operating in Haiti.

9In facts, Haitian banks – nine commercial banks from which two are public, and one is a branch from the international, and the regulated central bank – are not already involved in the Equator Principles Agreement (see But most of them have created a related foundation to support diverse social/societal activities such as education. Therefore, the problem of access to finance for Haitian firms remains. Previous research shows several aspects of this problem. First, there is a high concentration in the Haitian banking sector, according to central bank data, the three largest banks hold more than 80% of the total banking sector asset. Meanwhile Haitian banks association claims good results such as high return on equity (48,2% in 2017), at the same time, private firms consider financing is a major obstacle in Haiti (Beck, Demirgüç-Kunt and Maksimovic, 2004; Demirgüç-Kunt and Levine, 2005), evaluation of this perception ((74.4%) puts Haiti in the bottom 5 in an international panel of countries (Claessens and Tzioumis, 2006). According to Haitian economists, the growth of the microfinance sector in the two recent decades is related to this limitation of the banks to finance a large entrepreneurial clientele in the country (Paul, Daméus and Fleuristin, 2012). These facts are motivated points for research on how firm really perceive banks in the Haitian economy.

2. Data and Methods

10To collect the data, we have modified and translated a survey that has been created by Juma’h and Morales-Rodríguez (2016, 2017) to the French language. The modified survey was validated by the method of key informants (5 professors in the MBA Program of the Université Notre Dame d’Haïti). The questionnaire was distributed to Haitian business’s managers or owners during the month of July 2017. Since perception can be biased by the level of education of interviewees, the surveyed sample was constituted by managers or owners participating in a program of Master of Business Administration, in other words, they were all university graduates with background or competences in economics and management. We distributed 65 surveys, and 44 surveys were received fully answered with a response rate of 68%.

11The survey is divided into three sections and contains closed questions using a Likert scale and three open questions. The first section is related to banking activities and social responsibility. The participants identify the level of compliance by the banks located in Haiti based on their perception concerning specific items (see Table 1). The level of compliance range from ‘does not comply with a scale of 1 to highly comply with a scale of 5’.

Table 1. Description of the factors related to social responsibility





Standard Deviation


The contribution to Haitian economic growth.





The contribution to satisfy the need of obtaining residences with low interest to the citizens.





The facilitation of financial resources to entrepreneurs and small and medium merchants.





Assistance to charitable entities in Haiti (e.g., granting of donations to social service entities).





The appropriate management of the natural resources and the environment (e.g., conservation of the environment).





The continuous increase in customer satisfaction of the financial institutions.




12The second section of the survey is concerned with the economic implications of banking activities (see Table 2). For questions 7 and 8, the level of consideration range from ‘very bad with a scale of 1 to very good with a scale of 5’. For questions 9 and 10, the level of consideration is few, regular, and a lot. Items 11 and 13 are answered by yes or no; 12 is an open question to indicate the estimated minimum and maximum level of the interest rate.

Table 2. The economic implications of banking activities





St. Deviation


How do you describe the economic situation in Haiti during the last two years?





How do you describe the economic situation of your company during the last two years?





Do you think the special concessions given by the Government of Haiti to the banking industry (e.g., low tax rates, incentives, etc.) can help to increase the financial services for entrepreneurs?





Do you think that the banking interest rate must be limited to a maximum level?





Do you think that forms of cooperatives or societies can help to obtain commercial funds better than the current banking services?





If you think that the interest rate should be limited to a reasonable level, indicate the minimum and maximum?








Do you think that forms of cooperatives or societies can help to obtain commercial funds better than the current banking services?




13The last section describes the demographics of the participants and where they work. This part includes gender, type of company as service, manufacture or others, the size of the company as microenterprise with fewer than eight employees, a small company from 8 to 25 employees or medium company from 26 to 50 employees, sales volume, location areas in Haiti, and experience with commercial loans (see Table 3).

Table 3. The participants and business characteristics





St. Deviation


Gender of participants





Company size





Company sales volume





Town of location (capital or not)





Banking experience of credit




14We used Cronbach’s Alpha (α) to test the internal consistency (reliability). To explore the relationship between the items in the survey, we used correlation coefficient Spearman’s Rho. The levels of significance used to determine the relationship between the survey’s items are 1% and 5%. After exploring the relationship between the items in the survey using correlation coefficients. Also, the t-statistics are used to compare the means of specific items. Finally, an econometric relation is formalized into an equation putting in relation to the perception and its determinants among surveyed variables.

3. Results

15Based on standardized items, Cronbach’s alpha (α) equals to 0.69 for the first 9 items. This is consistent with previous similar research, and confirm that the survey has internal consistency. The remaining of the items is a description of the participants and are validated using previous research (Juma’h, Morales-Rodríguez & Lloréns-Rivera 2015, Juma’h & Morales-Rodríguez, 2016).

16The study explores the participant perception related to the importance of banking activities for the society of Haiti. From the 44 participants, 56% were male and 44% female. About 55% of the participants work in a service business which is consistent with the previous national business survey (MCI, 2014) and research analysis (Paul, Garrabé and Daméus, 2010). About 52% of the business is classified as micro-entities, smaller companies with fewer than eight employees, and total sales revenue less than $500,000.

17The economic situation of Haiti (HES) is perceived as very bad or bad by 84% of the survey participants. About one third of them perceived that their companies are in difficult economic situations. Therefore, most participants perceived that their businesses, mainly micro-companies, are in a better financial condition than in the country.

18The 80% and 81% of participants highly disagree or disagree with the statement that banks contribute to the economic growth of Haiti (HEG) and to the facilitation of financial resources to entrepreneurs and small and medium merchants, respectively; the percentage increase when participants consider the contribution to obtaining residences with low interest to 98%.

19The 61% of the participants disagree about the item that banks have the appropriate management of the natural resources and the environment, such as conservation of the environment. This result is consistent with the non-involvement of Haitian banks in the Equator Principles Agreement.

20About 61% of the participants highly disagree or disagree regarding there is a continuous increase in customer satisfaction of the financial institutions. Approximately two third of the participants indicate that the banking interest rate should be limited to a maximum, say 6% on average.

21In comparing banks and cooperative societies, about one third of the participants had commercial loans from private banks; this is an indication that it is difficult for the small-sized business to obtain services from private banks in Haiti. On the other hand, about 70% of the participants perceive that forms of cooperative financial societies (unions) can help to obtain commercial funds better than private banking services. This is an indication that a smaller-sized business person seeks to achieve the needed funds from cooperative financial societies.

22To determine the relationship between the items in the survey, we used Spearman’s rho correlation coefficient (see Table 4). The gender and demographic area have a correlation coefficient of less than 30% with all other items. The coefficient correlation between FRE and RLI is 53%. The two items indicate the negative perception of the participants with respect to banking activities. The negative perception of FRE and RLI are correlated with the negative perception of CICS.

Table 4. The correlation of the sample

Table 4. The correlation of the sample

23According to the participants’ perception of the survey, the economic situation in the country (HEG) is significantly correlated (α = 0.01) with the SSE. Contribution to obtaining residences with low interest (RLI) is significantly correlated (α = 0.01) with FRE and with CSFA.

24The negative perception of the FRE is seen as the negative perception of RLI and CICS. The following equation presents the items that explain the FRE.



+ 0.597 RLI

+ 0.225 CICS

Std. Error












25The participants indicate that cooperative and union financial institutions are alternatives to obtain the needed financial resources, and especially those for residence with a lower interest rate. The perception of considering cooperative banking as an alternative is related to the Haitian economic situation and the facilitation of financial resources to small and medium merchants. The CSFA is explained by



- 0.275 HES

+ 0.263 RLI

Std. Error












26The continuous increase in customer satisfaction of the financial institutions (CICS) is explained by



+ 0.32 HES

+ 0.628 RLI

Std. Error












27To analyse the whole entrepreneurs’ perception of the banks, we consider the variable ‘facilitation of financial resources to entrepreneurs and small and medium merchants’ (FRE) as the best proxy. Of course, as financial intermediaries, FRE is the main function of commercial banks. And entrepreneurs perceive banks social responsibility (BSR) through the way banks play the role of serving the whole society (for-profit business, non for profit organizations, consumers in general, etc.). Econometrically, we analyse, through an ordered logit model, the relation between this proxy and the following variables, after backward specification:

28FREi = β0+ β1RLIi+ β2HGSCi+ β3CICSi+ β4SSEi+ β5CoESi+ β6CoSii+ β7Bexpi+εi

  • RLIi: the perception of entrepreneur i about BSR through the contribution of banks to satisfy the need of obtaining residences with low interest to the citizens

  • HGSCi: the perception of entrepreneur i about BSR through the way they transfer government concession to clients

  • CICSi: the perception of entrepreneur i about BSR through the way they take care of consumers,

  • SSEi: the perception of entrepreneur i about BSR through charitable contributions of banks

  • CoESi: the perception of entrepreneur i about BSR through the lens of their own perception of the economic situation

  • CoSii: the company size of entrepreneur i

  • Bexp i: a dummy variable to capture the credit experience of entrepreneur i with banks

  • εi: error term

29By estimating the model using an ordered Probit, we find the following results.

Table 5. Results of Probit regression on FRE


Std Error


p. critique







































Observations: 44

*p < 0.05. **p < 0.01. ***p < 0.00.

30The test of the likelihood ratio (Khi-2) gives: 34.2361 [0.0000]. A normality test of the residual returns a Khi-2 test 30.1711, with a critical asymptotic p of 2,80823e-007.

31According to these results, entrepreneurs’ perception of banks responsibility is significantly and positively correlated with banks CSR and Consumer satisfaction. This perception is significantly and negatively correlated with entrepreneurs’ description of the economic situation of their company during the last two years. Despite government efforts in recent years to create, through the central bank, incentives for commercial banks to offer housing credit and agricultural credit, the data do not show any significant relation between entrepreneurs’ perception of banks responsibility and contribution to satisfy the need of obtaining residences with low interest to the citizens.

32Entrepreneurs’ perception of banks responsibility is not significantly correlated with the characteristics of participants or enterprise. At the limit, participants who have experienced banking credit tend to develop the worst perception of banks responsibility. This to say that in a country like Haiti where the banking sector is the most regulated and more profitable part of the economy, those findings open interrogations about the role of banks in financing the economy through businesses. Regular annual reports of the banking sector relate continuous growth while the whole economy is stagnating.


33This article explores the banks’ contribution to the well-being of the Haitian society. We have used a modified survey created by Juma’h and Morales-Rodríguez (2016, 2017). The survey was conducted among educated entrepreneurs from micro, small and medium-sized business in Haiti. This study explains the demand side of the relationship between banks and micro-businesses.

34One of the confirming conclusions, we find that participants demonstrated a negative perception of banking activities with respect to contributing to the Haiti economic growth. The participants of different demographic areas and their gender are not correlated significantly with the other items in the survey. According to this result, which is consistent with the low growth rate of the Haitian economy, in contrast with a high annual growth rate of the banking sector, economic reform in the country needs to include the banking sector and banking activities.

35Another interesting finding is that the participants indicate that cooperative and unions financial institutions represent an alternative to the traditional banking system in Haiti. This is an indication that the participants seek alternative financial funding in union financial institutions. This result confirms the previous study in the growing Haitian microfinance sector (Paul, Daméus and Fleuristin, 2012).

36Participants, on average, do not perceive that their micro-businesses are in a difficult economic situation in comparison to their negative perception of the general economy of Haiti. That means good news for the entrepreneurial sector and motivation, but it might imply low risk-taking among entrepreneurs to develop competitive economic activities.

37Despite almost all the Haitian banks created a foundation to collect funds and finance diverse activities such as education, they do not enjoy particular good perception for their CSR approach among entrepreneurs. But their CSR initiatives are significantly and positively correlated with entrepreneurs’ perception.

38It is recommended to replicate the study to verify the contributions of larger-sized companies to CSR. Another suggestion is to study the relationship between micro-businesses and the banks from the supply side.

39The main limitations of the study are the small size of the sample, the difficulty in comparing between different types of businesses, the obstacles to access the internal financial data of micro-companies and to explore the perceptions of stakeholders in similar countries. Therefore, this article is considered an exploratory study, and more replications are needed.

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Bénédique Paul, Ahmad H. Juma’h et Florys Dorante, « Entrepreneurs’ Perception of Banks’ Social Responsibility: A Haitian Case Study »Études caribéennes [En ligne], 45-46 | Avril-Août 2020, mis en ligne le 15 août 2020, consulté le 25 juillet 2024. URL : ; DOI :

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Bénédique Paul

Innovation, business and entrepreneurship, FSAE, Quisqueya University, UMR ART-Dev, Montpellier University (France)

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Ahmad H. Juma’h

Accountancy Department, University of Illinois Springfield

Florys Dorante

Accountancy Department, INAGHEI, State University of Haiti

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Le texte seul est utilisable sous licence CC BY-NC 4.0. Les autres éléments (illustrations, fichiers annexes importés) sont « Tous droits réservés », sauf mention contraire.

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