One of the oldest banks in Lebanon, BLC Bank has introduced successful initiatives that positively transformed the banking sector – such as its We Initiative program, which is a competitive differentiator for the bank.

About BLC Bank

As the first bank in Lebanon committed to small and medium enterprises and the first in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region committed to the economic empowerment of women, BLC Bank provides a wide scope of innovative services through 42 branches all over Lebanon. They were the first bank in MENA to join and contribute to the Financial Alliance for Women, and to commit to the UN Women Empowerment Principles and SDG5, which promotes gender equality. BLC Bank’s milestones have been marked by numerous awards, such as the Women’s Market Champion – 2018 Data Award from the Financial Alliance for Women, the Excellence for Social and Economic Development and Women Empowerment Award from the World Union of Arab in 2017, and the Women’s Market Champion Leadership Award in 2016.

The Program

Drawing from fellow Alliance members and support from IFC, part of the World Bank Group, BLC Bank launched its Women Empowerment program, We Initiative, in 2012. As the first bank in the region committed to women’s economic empowerment, BLC Bank developed internal and external programs to become the bank and employer of choice for Lebanese women. Supporting women to contribute to the economy, We Initiative allows them to “Get financed,” “Grow their expertise”and “Get connected” to experts. Furthermore, BLC Bank implemented The Brilliant Lebanese Awards – the first business awards in MENA to honor Lebanese entrepreneurs for their achievements, providing mentoring, networking opportunities and exposure across all media. The winners of each category receive a US$30,000 cash prize, and the finalists of the awards’ three categories participate in an online competition whereby the public selects the recipient of the People’s Choice Award.

BLC Bank’s We Initiative generates more than 20 percent of the bank’s profits, with an IRR of 33 percent. Learn more about BLC Bank’s achievements in our Case Study on the bank.



BLC Bank has 31,000 women customers,
with a loan portfolio of US$204 million
and deposits of US$903 million.

We Initiative represents more than
20 percent of BLC Bank’s profits.

53 percent of total staff and 44
percent of senior managers are women.

Over the seven years of the Brilliant
Lebanese Awards, 344 women-owned
SMEs have applied, 51 have become
finalists, 11 were named winners and
US$280K in cash prizes have been awarded.

The bank has reached 7,000+ women
through conferences, Business Power
Sessions, Road Shows, networking
events and other non-financial services.

An estimated US$7.5 million in PR value
has been given to SMEs and women via
media exposure from BLC Bank.


The Opportunity in Lebanon


of women in Lebanon participated in the labor force as of 2017, according to the World Bank.


of women had a bank account in 2017, Findex found.


of women in the country saved at a formal financial institution in 2017, but nearly half of all women said they engaged in savings behavior that year, according to Findex.


of women got a loan from a financial institution in 2017, Findex found, but 33% of women borrowed money overall.

Video: We Initiative

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