|Businesses thrive when communities and
economies prosper. A core element of our business strategy is to make a
difference across our global network. We adopt a two-pronged approach to
positively impact the communities in which we operate. First, we aim to create
constructive change through innovative banking solutions that accelerate
financial inclusion and enhance lifestyles. Second, we give back to our
communities through monetary and voluntary initiatives supporting diverse
causes as well as sustainable solutions that are aligned with some of the United
Nations sustainable development goals and environmental, social and governance
Causes we support include health,
economic growth, helping the underprivileged, climate change and environment
protection. We also support the arts and culture space as we firmly believe in its
potential to bring people and communities together.
As we strive to deliver inclusive
banking solutions while being a responsible corporate citizen, we contribute to
the development of a sustainable future for our markets of presence.
|At Bank ABC, we see digital disruption as a catalyst for positive long-term change. This drove us to embrace disruptive technologies ahead of our peers and deploy innovative banking solutions that enhance consumer lifestyles and reach broader audiences. As part of our digital transformation programme, we have launched a series of FinTech and digital banking solutions that serve the unbanked and underserved individuals in Bahrain, giving them access to formal financial services with the potential to transform their lives|
Examples include “Al-Rateb” a wage protection payment scheme launched by Arab Financial Services (AFS), our digital payments subsidiary, that provides unbanked individuals secure access to wages and basic financial services, including statements and money transfer services. AFS also introduced “bwallet,” the first mobile wallet in Bahrain, facilitating peer-to-peer and cashless transactions that empower the end user. Similarly, it introduced eFloos, the first of its kind digital wallet, in Oman.
Redefining the retail banking landscape, Bank ABC launched ila – a digital, mobile-only bank in Bahrain in November 2019. Through its innovative in-app features, ila empowers the local community with the financial accessibility, literacy and saving tools that enable them to meet their financial aspirations. It also offers the lowest income threshold to open an account in the country.
Among its innovative in-app solutions, ila features an entirely effortless digital onboarding process, a first of its kind current account that encourages customers to save by rewarding them with a higher interest rate on higher balance, and a savings pot,“Hassala, propelling users to achieve their long-and-short-term goals and aspirations.
Bank ABC’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic was prompt and prudent, prioritising the wellbeing of its employees and wider communities. Its steadfast approach to safeguard employee wellbeing saw it immediately invoke its crisis management teams to monitor travel, contact, hygiene, temperature, and global developments. In parallel, it heightened office disinfection, segregated its teams to implement social distancing and launched an internal awareness campaign to align staff with local and global developments, Government directives and preventative measures.
Pandemic Relief Fund
Pledging its unwavering commitment towards its communities, Bank ABC Group, including ila Bank and AFS, launched a US$10 million pandemic relief fund to ease the impact of COVID-19 across its network and support government bodies, medical workers as well as volunteers risking their lives to protect others.
The funds would be disbursed to national and charitable initiatives to contain the viral spread and lessen the financial burden on those severely impacted. It covers a substantial US$2 million contribution towards the “Feena Khair” campaign to aid the efforts of the National Taskforce for Combating COVID-19 in the Kingdom of Bahrain, home to its Head Office for over four decades.
Simultaneously, its MENA units made multiple contributions through this fund as well as volunteer work to support health facilities, frontline fighters and underprivileged individuals whose dire conditions were aggravated by the pandemic.
Bank ABC Tunisia made multiple donations to support medical staff and healthcare facilities mitigating the impact of COVID-19, including the National Council of the Medical Association, 1818 solidarity fund, Rabta hospital and Charles Nicole Hospital.
Additionally, to help the most fragile individuals during the lockdowns, which coincided with the holy month of Ramadan, Bank ABC Tunisia contributed to the action "En force, Ensemble" organised in collaboration with the association One Meal for Each Tunisian – OMFET, helping 50 families having a member with a disability with a shopping basket to support them through the month of Ramadan.
Our digital retail branch in Bahrain, ila Bank rolled out multiple initiatives to uplift the local community, including social media campaigns enhancing awareness, engaging contests with relevant prizes and discounts. It also collaborated with the Supreme Council for Women to provide 2000 meals for volunteers of its “Together for Bahrain’s Safety” campaign, launched to help Bahraini women, and those operating the COVID-19 hotline navigate the pandemic.
ila donations feature
Empowering customers to give back to the local community, Bank ABC’s retail branch in Bahrain, ila Bank launched an in-app donation feature to simplify the giving process. Through this feature, customers can contribute directly to charitable foundations that support important causes. Foundations include the Royal Humanitarian Foundation (RHF) which provides financial aid to orphans, educational facilities, those in need of medical equipment, cancer patients among others. RHF also collects funds for the “Feena Khair” campaign launched to ease the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the local community. It also enables customers to give back to the Dreams Society created to fulfil the dreams of terminally ill children in Bahrain.
This feature reinforces ila’s commitment to social responsibility and reflects its objective to leverage technology and innovation to act as a catalyst for positive change. It stems from the sense of community and partnership, which is prevalent across many entities and individuals in Bahrain.
Operation smile in Jordan
Driven by its commitment to serving local communities, Bank ABC Jordan supports Operation Smile Jordan to aid free surgery campaigns for children suffering from congenital abnormalities; such as cleft lip, cleft palate and deformities caused by burns and accidents. These camps are run by a team of volunteering medical specialists from Jordan and abroad.
A Meal for every Tunisian
For three years in row, Bank ABC Tunisia supported the initiative “A Meal for every Tunisian- URPCT” which helps the needy get access to proper meals during the holy month of Ramadan, offering sunset Iftar meals to underprivileged families ABC Tunisia also supported the Cité Ettadhamen handicapped centre by providing meals throughout the Holy month and joining them in an Iftar dinner on 28 of May 2019.
Community service in Algeria
ABC Algeria took to community service by supporting Ness El Khir foundation’s Rana HNA initiative. This was brought to life by the opening of a temporary restaurant for Iftar, which was held every evening under a big marquee installed in Ain Benian commune of Algiers, extending across 600 m² of area and feeding over a 1000 people daily.
Volunteers from Bank ABC Algeria were present every weekend, assisting during the preparation and distribution of meals during Iftar.
The Bank furthered the charitable drive by distributing clothes to disadvantaged children on Eid El Fitr.
|Bank ABC is continuously looking for ways to transform client experience while integrating sustainable digital solutions that result in positive change.|
Within wholesale banking, we are exploring ways to digitise the paper-intensive processes. This will positively impact the environment and reduce resource consumption, while resulting in increased client satisfaction.
With its seamless automated onboarding process, ila, Bank ABC’s fast-growing digital mobile-only bank in Bahrain, has eliminated the need for physical plastic cards and paper intensive account opening forms.
In addition to reducing resource consumption, digital has proved crucial in the new normal. Amid the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, ila witnessed a surge in the usage of its digital services as onboarding doubled and app usage in terms of online payments quadrupled. This illustrates consumers’, of all age groups, preference for low-touch solutions as their trust in physical transactions diminishes.
|Greener printing policy|
Bank ABC is extremely mindful of its impact on the environment. This saw us adopt an eco-friendly secure printing policy along with new systems, which led to a significant reduction in resource consumption. The annual saving of the Head Office alone has been the equivalent of approximately 200,000 sheets and 5000 gallons of water. We continue to be conscious of our printing practices for the betterment of our planet.
Solar farm in Jordan
We strongly advocate clean energy consumption and use of renewable energy. Our subsidiary, Bank ABC Jordan, started the operation of a solar power generation plant near Zarqa, which was established in cooperation with Kawar Energy Company. The Plant produces up to 2900 megawatt-hours of electric power per year, covering 100% of the needs of the Bank’s Head Office and 21 branches in the capital governorate and the governorates of Balqa and Zarqa in Jordan; out of the 27 branches Bank ABC has nationwide.
The plant will positively impact Jordan’s overall energy rationalisation system; in line with the National Energy Policy and the Bank’s social responsibility approach.
Nature and wildlife conservation in Jordan
Bank ABC Jordan also sponsored nature conservation and sustainable development programmes run by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN). The Bank’s contribution to RSCN helps enhance socio-economic development for community members in protected areas while conserve Jordan’s wildlife and natural reserves.
Renewable energy financing in Brazil
As part of Bank ABC’s endeavor to integrate ESG principles in its business decisions, Banco ABC Brasil and a syndicate of other banks have provided financing to Atlas Renewable Energy, a leader in clean energy in Latin America.
The company announced in March 2019 the completion of the long-term financing of three of its solar energy plants in Brazil for a total amount of US$ 152 million. The three projects are estimated to benefit around 470,000 families per year with clean, renewable energy and will avoid the emission of 108,000 tons of CO2 annually.
Together, the plants will have an installed capacity of more than 300 MWps, which has allowed them to achieve new standards for financial alliances and boost the Brazilian energy sector to higher levels of solar capacity.
Head Office Modernisation
While modernising its Head Offices in Bahrain, Bank ABC integrated several environment friendly schemes to prevent negative impact on the environment. The Bank introduced several upgrades that will reduce energy consumption and atmospheric emissions at its Head office building. These include the installation and upgrade of the building envelop, building control system, new energy efficient chillers, motion detecting light system, enhanced lighting controls linked to solar gain, LED lighting, reduced number of printers and new binds to reduce solar gain. It also deployed a number of water reduction schemes within the Head Office.
Furthermore, Bank ABC installed digital communication tools, Group wide which has led to a major reduction in transportation and airline travel.
As for waste management, the Bank adopted a number of measures that led t significant reduction in resource consumption. These include centralized printing, follow me printing which only prints after tapping an ID and donation of office furniture and accessories.
|Employee development & training|
Fostering growth and career progression, Bank ABC has a range of measures to promote training and development. It has a comprehensive digital Academy that enables staff to access to top finance and banking modules from around the world at any time. The library supports Continuous Professional Education, leadership and management development.
Additionally, masterclasses and training courses are held internally throughout the year. Staff are also encouraged to attend external conferences and training courses. Furthermore, the Bank’s top 100 leaders are currently embarking on leadership assessment and coaching to strengthen the corporate culture.
The Bank also provides mandatory training in compliance, code of conduct and cyber security ensure that every member of staff completes a minimum number of hours training per annum
Health & Safety
Bank ABC has implemented a number of stringent measures to enhance workplace safety. These include training for fire wardens, annual fire evacuation tests, safety inductions with full compliance to all relevant code and regulations in the country we operate. If unsafe practices are observed the activity is immediately stopped and then reported.
|Data Privacy & Security|
Bank ABC has made a formal commitment to customer data privacy and security, which is backed by a Board approved Code of Conduct supported by Data Privacy and Data Security programmes. The Bank adopts internationally recognised standards (e.g. ISO 27001, COBIT, NIST CSF) and undertakes a compliance posture with Privacy Laws across its established jurisdictions. These include, and are not limited to, EU GDPR, Bahrain PDPL, UAE DIFC DPL, Singapore PDPA and Brazil LGPD.
The Bank has deployed required measures to meet its Data Privacy & Data Security expectations, including:
Certification: Bank ABC has obtained PCI-DSS and SWIFT CSP certification when required and applicable. A periodic CMMi™ based maturity assessment is in place to assess its Cybersecurity posture.
Transparency & Lawfulness: A Privacy Notice is published informing customers of their individual rights and the purpose of processing their personal data by the Bank
Awareness: Bank ABC publishes online security advice for the benefit of its customers. Awareness includes online banking security, identity theft, social engineering & phishing and good practices for password security.
Threat Detection: Bank ABC continuously monitors its security events through state-of-the art security solutions.
Governance: Bank ABC adopts a three lines of defense governance model to ensure proper assurance and compliance with its internal Policies.
|Ensuring fairness and transparency, Bank ABC has developed a Group Procurement Standard that sets out a structured approach towards Vendor Management. It includes a clearly defined procurement process and measurement criteria when selecting vendors within a RFI and RFP.|
|Bank ABC and its management team have always had a keen interest in art. A powerful universal form of communication, art unites people from various cultures, sparks passion and compassion and transcends business into human values. Our firm conviction in the positive influence of art inspires us to sponsor both acclaimed and rising artists from across the globe. |
The Face by Victor Ekpuk
As a tribute to Bahrain and its ambitious talent, Bank ABC installed a majestic 5.4-metre-tall abstract sculpture “The Face” at the center of the external façade of its newly renovated historic tower in Bahrain. Conceived by the Nigerian-American contemporary artist Victor Ekpuk, “The Face” is an embodiment of Bank ABC’s commitment to equality, diversity and the Bahraini community and represents the Kingdom’s eclectic and hospitable culture.
Victor’s art is guided by the aesthetic philosophy Nsibidi “traditional” graphics, where sign systems are used to convey ideas. His art is focused on portraying the human condition through universally relatable and culture specific themes including family, gender, and identity.
Artbook by Hannah Malallah
Captivated by the charm of the Ruins technique and the artist’s ability to portray the human dilemma in a globalised world, Bank ABC sponsored an artbook by a world-renowned artist Hannah Malallah or 22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.30.30.5 as she calls herself. Hannah uses fire to transform elements and material to communicate her perceptions of the world.
Central to her work is the hoopoe bird which represents peace and harmony and is referenced in multiple religions. Another intriguing aspect of her book is her artistic signature, the number code on the cover and the spine (188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.30.30.5). According to this coding system, used in astronomy, art and poetry in the Arab world for over a thousand years, the letters of the alphabet are assigned numerical values to communicate.
Published in Arabic and English, her book is a significant milestone for Arab art and is sponsored by major scholars in the modern art scene and propagating globally.
Bahraini women empowerment
As part of its unwavering commitment to diversity and women empowerment, Bank ABC sponsored the Bahrain Women Printmakers’ premiere exhibition promoting local talent. Under the theme Lines of Light, the first exhibition opened at Albareh Art Gallery in Bahrain in April 2019. Lines of Light featured artists trained in the techniques of linocut, collagraph, woodcut and monoprint, who came together to learn and produce art together, critique each other’s work and develop a passion for the medium.
From Tassil to Mexico
Endorsing art globally, Bank ABC sponsored an art exhibition, “From Tassil to Mexico,” organised by the prominent Libyan artist Matug Aborawi. The exhibition was held at the National Museum of World Cultures in Mexico City. Born in Libya in 1967, Aborawi obtained a Ph.D. in arts from the University of Granada. The Bank ABC also previously sponsored his exhibition in Spain.
d:ONE art event in Tunisia
Bank ABC was a proud sponsor of the d:ONE art event in Tunisia dedicated to promoting contemporary art and preserving the culture of creative expression and exploration. A celebration of beauty and human emotion and expression, d:ONE showcased different facets of contemporary art; be it drawing, engraving sculpture or painting.
The ten selected galleries (a.gorgi, antinea, el birou, el marsa, ghaya, kalysté, central, Selma feriani, le violon bleu, and yosr ben ammar) were each housed in a suite at Dar El Jeld therefore turning the living quarters into a magnificent showcase of creativity not only an art exhibition but also an invitation to discuss, explore, and raise questions. Conversations and interviews with international experts were held to discuss funds, the art market, artistic productions, and ways to promote works of art.
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