Corporate social responsibility

In 2016, the Bank received the Distinguished Projects Award at the GCC Social Affairs & Development conference, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The award cited the Bank’s many philanthropic projects, most notably the BBK Health Centre in Hidd, a unique model of advanced health care services which was financed and equipped to the value of BD 4 million.

36%

The Bank allocated 36 percent of the annual CSR budget to education in 2016 – up from 20 percent in 2015.

BD65k

In 2016, BD 65,000 was donated to care homes for the elderly, with similar support for organisations that benefit orphans.

BBK is always conscious of the link between business success and social responsibility – a duty that is mutually beneficial and integral to sustaining long-term relationships. By supporting employees, addressing community needs, and backing Bahrain’s financial sector, BBK sustains growth while promoting national economic development.

Every year the Bank allocates substantial donations and sponsorships that benefit a wide range of community-related projects and causes. For 2016, BBK’s shareholders approved an appropriation amounting to BD 1.4 million.

BBK’s proactive approach to social responsibility is regularly recognised by awards from independent authorities. In 2016, the Bank received the Distinguished Projects Award at the GCC Social Affairs & Development conference, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The award cited the Bank’s many philanthropic projects, most notably the BBK Health Centre in Hidd, a unique model of advanced health care services which was financed and equipped to the value of BD 4 million.

Supporting employees

BBK is committed to enhancing employee career development and empowering its people with greater responsibilities. The Bank is particularly proud that 96 percent of its employees are Bahraini nationals – investing in local talent through training and professional development aims to improve skills across the organisation and create opportunities for career advancement.

In supporting these objectives, a highlight of 2016 was the launch of the BBK e-Learning Platform, implemented in association with a world-leading financial e-learning library. The platform gives BBK’s geographically dispersed workforce ‘anytime, anywhere’ access to a higher level of professional competence.

As an employer of choice, BBK provides generous employee benefits that include stock options, retirement programmes, and health and life insurance. The Bank also rewards employees who have contributed to the success of the Bank over many years, recognising them at an annual awards ceremony. The Bank also has an Alumni Club for former employees, maintaining the ties between past and present members of the BBK family.

Empowering women

Women represent 35 percent of the BBK workforce. The Bank’s policy to empower women is a high-level document approved by the Board of Directors. Aiming to support and complement Bahrain’s Women Empowerment Strategy, the policy sets out a clear vision and encourages empowerment and gender equality at all levels.

To achieve the objectives of the policy, the Bank’s Women’s Empowerment committee develops initiatives and programmes to help women reach their full potential and achieve their career goals while maintaining their work/life balance. To encourage this, the annual Chief Executive Award for Women’s Empowerment recognises managers who support women’s development and career growth.

Externally, the Bank continues to expand and reinforce business relationships with women-owned ventures, including small businesses and entrepreneurs. BBK also supports women’s societies and associations in Bahrain in their goals of helping women gain independence and education.

Community involvement

BBK employees are encouraged to volunteer for various programmes that benefit the community. A typical example is volunteering in InJaz Bahrain, which aims to empower young people and prepare them for today’s business challenges. During 2016, a number of BBK employees devoted their time to pass on skills and experience by giving classroom lectures in schools.

Addressing community needs

In 2012 BBK established a dedicated fund to support future CSR mega projects such as the BBK Health Centre in Hidd and the BBK Rehabilitation Centre. The fund’s value grew to BD 1.685 million during 2016, including the year’s appropriation of BD 400,000 from total donations. While continuing to build up the fund, BBK is studying the needs of society and how the fund’s resources can best be used to meet them.

Education

The Bank’s emphasis on learning carries through into its external social responsibility work, where 36 percent of the budget is allocated to education – up from 20 percent in 2015. By investing in education, BBK helps pave the way for future generations and supports the development of young Bahraini talent.

In 2016, the Bank renewed its commitment as a Platinum Sponsor of the Crown Prince’s International Scholarship Programme. BBK has committed BD 1 million to the initiative, which enables Bahrain’s most talented young people to study at top international universities and colleges. As part of a five-year commitment, the Bank has also invested BD 50,000 in the Isa Bin Salman Fund, a scholarship fund established in 2013 to help students pursue their studies.

Further contributions to youth empowerment include training employees’ children, university students, and InJaz Bahrain students through work experience that supplements classroom learning.

Health and sport

Over the years, health and wellbeing have been at the forefront of BBK’s community contributions. The Bank donates to medical entities and research institutes active in fighting diseases such as diabetes, sickle cell anaemia, and cancers.

The Bank has increased its investment in sport and promotes the health benefits of participating. Through donation or sponsorship, BBK is proud to have maintained decades of support for football, junior tennis, and equestrianism, among others. In 2016, sponsorships included supporting Bahrain’s Pro-cycling team, which participates in international cycling tours. By promoting such sports, BBK encourages people to become more active, inspires the young, and promotes physical wellbeing.

Customers with special needs

The Bank has always prioritised integration and support for this segment of the community. As well as allocating more than 15 percent of the total donation budget to special needs societies and associations, BBK continues to invest in better accessibility to the Bank’s facilities for those with special needs. After being the first to introduce ATMs for the visually impaired, and other special services such as sign language experts, the Bank has focused on constantly enhancing the experience of special needs customers, enabling them to conduct their banking transactions independently.

The Budaiya Financial Mall is a typical example. Facilities for special needs customers include dedicated parking spaces, a permanent wheelchair access ramp, and tiles that guide visually impaired customers to the ATM and the Special Needs Priority Desk, lowered to cater for wheelchair users. BBK has also introduced Braille application forms, voice-over support for account opening, and an audio version of terms and conditions.

The Bank’s queuing system already gives priority to special needs customers, recognising their bank cards in the reader that dispenses queue tickets. Special needs customers are also exempt from fees and charges on withdrawals at bank counters, as well as minimum account balance requirements.

Culture

The Bank supports the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities and the Sheikh Ebrahim Bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa Centre for Culture and Research, and contributes to various initiatives for cultural preservation and the restoration of historical facilities. In 2016, BBK again co-sponsored the Spring of Culture, an annual festival that boosts the cultural and intellectual movement and attracts many visitors to Bahrain.

Other philanthropic support

BBK has renewed its support to the Ministry of Social Development NGO Fund, which provides grants to a range of societies and charitable organisations for development initiatives, donating BD 30,000 during 2016. A further BD 65,000 was donated to care homes for the elderly, as well as to organisations that benefit orphans.

Environmental initiatives

BBK continuously refines its digital services to reduce its environmental impact. The Bank follows energy-saving practices and recycles waste paper to reduce its carbon footprint and contribute to environmental sustainability. It also supports the Supreme Council for Environment every year in its conservation work with Al Areen Wildlife Park.

Backing Bahrain’s financial sector

Being designated as a Domestic Systemically Important Bank (D-SIB) means that BBK fulfils a major role in the development of Bahrain’s economy and financial sector. On the world stage, the Bank acts as a global ambassador for Bahrain. Once again, BBK co-sponsored the annual reception for Bahraini banks at the 2016 International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings in Washington.

The Bank was also a lead sponsor of Euromoney’s fifth annual GCC Financial Forum, hosted by the Bahrain Economic Development Board. The 2016 conference attracted more than 500 business leaders and policymakers from 24 countries.

BBK continues to sponsor the region’s first educational dealing room, established by the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance to help young Bahrainis learn about banking and investment. It also sponsors the Bahrain Bourse’s TradeQuest competition – a stock trading simulation programme for high school students – by providing monetary assistance and delegating a portfolio manager to advise the participating teams.