BBK supports a diversity of community related projects and worthwhile societal causes, providing substantial donations and sponsorship. In 2018, an appropriation for donations amounting to BD 1.4 million was approved by shareholders for distribution.

We believe that involvement in effective social projects helps build and sustain long-term relationships with the Bank’s customers and the community at large.

In addition to fully supporting the Kingdom of Bahrain’s vision for growth and the development of its citizens, BBK’s support extends to 13 key areas, some of which are: philanthropy, special needs, education, medical, social, sport, culture, the elderly, national causes, environmental, and orphans. Highlights of 2018 activities across these categories include:

Backing Bahrain’s financial sector

BBK’s status as a Domestic Systemically Important Bank (D-SIB) means 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 2018, BBK held the first Emtech Summit & Expo, a two-day event that focused on the importance of emerging technologies and how they reshape Bahrain’s economy. Under the patronage of the Central Bank of Bahrain, the summit’s theme was ‘Technology that Changes the Paradigm’. International and local experts delivered insightful sessions, and stimulating panel discussions covered new topics relevant to emerging technologies and the Bahraini market.

The international expo showcased the latest IT trends and gave participants a comprehensive overview of economic prospects and potential threats to financial stability, backed by potential support for entrepreneurs in the Kingdom.

The Bank was again a lead sponsor of the annual Euromoney GCC Financial Forum, hosted by the Bahrain Economic Development Board. More than 500 business leaders and policymakers from 24 countries attended the 2018 conference, the seventh in the series.

BBK’s long-standing sponsorship of the Gulf region’s first educational dealing room, established by the Bahrain Institute of Banking & 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.

Supporting employees

BBK is proud that 95 percent of our employees are Bahraini nationals. We are thoroughly committed to enhancing employee career development and empowering our people with greater responsibilities. In 2018, a high-grade leadership programme began, in cooperation with UK-based business school Ashridge Executive Education. An early leadership training programme was also launched, in collaboration with another UK based business school.

Branch management simulation programmes were presented in collaboration with the BIBF, and all the Bank’s employees participated in e-Learning courses and banking specialisations.

BBK’s generous employee benefits include share incentives, retirement programmes, and health and life insurance, reinforcing its status as an employer of choice. Employees who make outstanding contributions and those completing 5-45 years of service (marking every fifth anniversary of their joining the Bank) are recognised and honoured for their achievements.

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 can meet periodically and not lose their commonality.

Women empowerment

BBK’s commitment to empowering women is evident in the Bank’s high ratio of female employees, currently standing at 39 percent, an increase of 18 percent over the last five years. The policy begins at Board level, specified in a powerful document that supports and complements Bahrain’s Women Empowerment Strategy.

To support the achievement of policy objectives, the Bank has a very active Women’s Empowerment Committee, responsible for developing plans that help women reach their full potential, achieve their career goals, and maintain their work/life balance.

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.

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 2.485 million during 2018. While continuing to build the fund, we are studying the needs of society and how the fund’s resources can best be used to meet them. In previous years, BBK has financed projects such as the BBK Health Centre in Hidd and the BBK Rehabilitation Centre.

Special needs

Integration and support for customers with special needs ranks highly in BBK’s priorities and we continue to invest in better accessibility to bank facilities for those with special needs. They are also exempt from fees and charges on withdrawals at counters, as well as minimum account balance requirements, whenever applicable.

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

Education

Learning features strongly in the Bank’s external social responsibility work, with around 30 percent of the 2018 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 is committed to funding that enables Bahrain’s most outstanding young people to study at top international universities and colleges. And in its commitment to the Isa bin Salman Education Charitable Trust, the Bank contributes to helping 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.

Healthcare

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. BBK has continued to support a range of healthrelated causes including the Mohammed Bin Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa Cardiac Centre.

Sport

The Bank also recognises the benefits flowing from active participation in sport, regularly increasing its investment in sport promotion. In 2018, BBK organised its second annual sports day for nearly 350 employees, in line with the national directive of dedicating a sports day across the Kingdom.

Over decades, BBK has a proud record of donations and sponsorships that have supported football, junior tennis, and equestrianism, among others. In 2018, sponsorship support included Bahrain’s Pro-Cycling team Merida, which participates in international cycling tours.

Culture

The Bank contributes to various initiatives for cultural preservation and the restoration of historical facilities through the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, and the Sheikh Ibrahim Bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Centre for Culture and Research. Once again, the Bank co-sponsored the annual Spring of Culture.

Environmental

Reducing environmental impact is an ongoing project, 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 energysaving 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.

Other philanthropic support

Renewed financial support for the Ministry of Social Development NGO Fund amounted to BD 30,000 during 2018. The fund provides grants to societies and charitable organisations for development initiatives. The Bank also donated a further BD 150,000 to care homes for the elderly and organisations that benefit orphans, as well as other philanthropic societies.