Corporate social responsibility

Sustaining growth,
promoting national development

BBK was honoured to receive the ‘Her Royal Highness, Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa Award for Bahraini Women Empowerment’, an important initiative to support and consolidate the status of Bahraini women.

The United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) were adopted by countries all over the world, whose leaders committed to mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequality, and tackle climate change. BBK supports this initiative and has identified four goals that it can have a direct positive bearing on.


Business success and social responsibility are inter-dependent – a symbiotic union that is advantageous to both benefactor and beneficiary – building and sustaining long-term relationships. BBK is very conscious that altruism is not an end in its self, amounting to much more than merely making donations to good causes.

BBK sustains growth and promotes national economic development by supporting employees, addressing community needs, and backing Bahrain’s financial sector. At the same time, the Bank earns recognition from independent authorities that testifies to the value of the Bank’s social responsibility policies and the benefits they create

The Bank assists a diversity of community-related projects and good causes, providing substantial annual donations and sponsorship. In 2017, an appropriation amounting to BD 1.4 million was approved by shareholders for distribution.

Supporting employees

BBK is particularly proud that 95 percent of its employees are Bahraini nationals. The Bank recognises the value of investing in local talent through training and professional development, improving skills across the organisation and creating opportunities for career advancement. Overall, BBK is thoroughly committed to enhancing employee career development and empowering its people with greater responsibilities.

In supporting these objectives, the BBK e-Learning platform gives the Bank’s geographically dispersed workforce ‘anytime, anywhere’ access to a higher level of professional competence. BBK e-Learning was launched in 2016 and is a growing asset in the Bank’s already formidable resources for staff training.

BBK provides generous employee benefits that include share incentives, retirement programmes, and health and life insurance, reinforcing its status as an employer of choice. Employees who make outstanding contributions to the success of the Bank are recognised at an annual awards ceremony to honour their achievements.

Even former employees are encouraged to maintain links with the Bank. The Alumni Club for former employees was established so that past and present members of the BBK family could meet periodically and not lose their commonality.

Women empowering

The seriousness of BBK’s commitment to empowering women is endorsed at Board of Directors level, specified in a powerful policy document that supports and complements Bahrain’s Women Empowerment Strategy. The policy sets out a clear vision and encourages empowerment and gender equality at all levels. Its success is evident in the Bank’s high ratio of female employees, currently standing at 38 percent, an increase of 18 percent over the last five years.

BBK’s achievements in this field were recognised in 2017 through receipt of the ‘Her Royal Highness, Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa Award for Bahraini Women Empowerment’. The award was established in 2006, and has since been presented every two years. It is highly regarded as one of the important initiatives by the Kingdom in supporting and consolidating the status of Bahraini women.

The Bank’s Women’s Empowerment committee is responsible for developing action plans that help women reach their full potential, achieve their career goals, and maintain their work/life balance. To support the achievement of policy objectives, the Bank’s annual Chief Executive Award for Women’s Empowerment is an incentive for managers to support women’s development and career growth.

BBK’s initiatives to empower women also have an external dimension. Expanding and reinforcing relationships with women-owned ventures, including small businesses and entrepreneurs, is a strategic business priority. The Bank also helps women gain independence and education by supporting the goals of women’s societies and associations in Bahrain.

Community involvement

Giving up personal time and passing on professional skills by volunteering for various community programmes is characteristic of BBK employees. During 2017, many employees gave lectures in school classrooms to support the work of InJaz Bahrain, which aims to empower young people and prepare them for today’s business challenges. Such unstinting efforts are typical of the volunteering culture which the Bank’s employees do so much to sustain.

Addressing community needs

A dedicated fund to support future CSR mega projects was established by BBK in 2012. The fund’s value grew to BD 2.085 million during 2017, 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. In previous years, BBK financed projects such as the BBK Health Centre in Hidd and the BBK Rehabilitation Centre.

Education

Learning features strongly in the Bank’s external social responsibility work, with 30 percent of the 2017 budget allocated to education. Investment in education is part of the Bank’s forward-looking philosophy, supporting young Bahraini talent on the path to becoming a new generation of informed and productive citizens.

As a long-standing Platinum Sponsor of the Crown Prince’s International Scholarship Programme, BBK has committed BD 1 million to enable Bahrain’s most talented young people to study at top international universities and colleges. And in a five-year commitment of BD 50,000 to the Isa bin Salman Education Charitable Trust, a scholarship fund established in 2013, the Bank contributed in helping students to 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.

BBK’s community contributions also have a strong emphasis on health and well-being awareness, with financial support extended consistently to medical entities and research institutes active in fighting diseases such as diabetes, sickle cell anaemia, and cancers.

Health and sport

Health and medical advancement have always been a priority and we have invested heavily through the years, continuing to support a range of worthwhile causes during 2017. These included the Mohammed Bin Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa Cardiac Centre, where BBK supplied latest technology equipment that gives a three-dimensional view of the heart, helping to identify abnormal rhythm and optimise treatments.

The Bank recognises the health benefits flowing from active participation in sport, regularly increasing its investment in sport promotion. By fostering and encouraging involvement in sports, BBK helps people to become more active, while inspiring the young and aiding physical well-being for all.

During 2017, the Bank invested in gym equipment for the Muharraq Youth Centre, a state-of-the art facility that encourages young people to enhance their physical and mental health through sports and fitness.

Over decades, BBK has a proud record of donations and sponsorships that have supported football, junior tennis, and equestrianism, among others. In 2017, sponsorships included supporting Bahrain’s Pro-Cycling team Merida, which participates in international cycling tours.

Customers with special needs

Integration and support for customers with special needs also ranks very highly in BBK’s priorities, being the first bank to introduce ATMs for the visually impaired, as well as other special services such as sign language experts.

The Bank continues to invest in better accessibility to its facilities for those with special needs, focusing on constant enhancement that enables such customers to conduct their banking transactions independently and with as little complication as possible.

A typical example of BBK’s policy in action is the Budaiya Financial Mall, where 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.

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

Apart from its investment in facilities, BBK also allocates more than 15 percent of its total donation budget to special needs societies and associations.

Culture

The Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, and the Sheikh Ibrahim Bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Centre for Culture and Research, are the primary beneficiaries of BBK’s contribution to supporting cultural organisations. The Bank also contributes to various initiatives for cultural preservation and the restoration of historical facilities, and once again co-sponsored the annual cultural and intellectual Spring of Culture movement, a festival that attracts many visitors to Bahrain.

Other philanthropic support

Renewed financial support for the Ministry of Social Development NGO Fund amounted to BD 30,000 during 2017. The fund provides grants to societies and charitable organisations for development initiatives. The Bank donated a further BD 150,000 to care homes for the elderly and organisations that benefit orphans, as well as other philanthropic societies.

Environmental initiatives

Reducing environmental impact is an ongoing project at BBK, with the Bank constantly seeking and implementing new ways to reduce its carbon footprint and contribute to environmental sustainability. Refining digital services plays an import role in the process, along with energy-saving practices and recycling of waste paper. BBK also supports the Supreme Council for Environment every year in its conservation work with Al Areen Wildlife Park.

Backing Bahrain’s financial sector

BBK’s status as a Domestic Systemically Important Bank (D-SIB) means that that the Bank has a major responsibility in the development of Bahrain’s economy and financial sector, acting as a global ambassador for Bahrain. In this context, a leading bank initiative is to co-sponsor the annual reception for Bahraini banks at meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington, a proud duty that was again carried out in 2017.

The Bank was also once again a lead sponsor of the sixth annual Euromoney GCC Financial Forum, hosted by the Bahrain Economic Development Board. More than 500 business leaders and policymakers from 24 countries attended the 2017 conference.

BBK’s long-standing sponsorship of the Gulf region’s first educational dealing room, established by the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF), has continued, along with the Bahrain Bourse’s Trade Quest competition – a stock trading simulation programme for high school students to help young Bahrainis learn about banking and investment.