News

BLC Hosts 18 Bankers and Experts at Study Tour

Tuesday 13th May 2014

GBA Newsletter

BLC Bank hosts 18 bankers and experts from across the globeGBA members from Latin America, South Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the USA participated in a study tour hosted by BLC Bank in Cyprus April 2 – 4. The 3-day seminar showcased in detail how BLC designed and implemented their Women’s Market Program, branded WE Initiative. The study tour included presentations from the different teams across BLC that are involved in both the day-to-day execution of the Women’s Markets program and the supporting systems required to ensure the program is fully embedded within the bank.

Topics covered included:

  • The business case for serving women
  • Strategy to become the employer of choice
  • Strategy to become the bank of reference for women
  • Empowering the distribution network-staff and gender specific training
  • Customer value proposition: financial and non-financial services
  • Building the WE Initiative brand
  • Developing a distinct online platform to drive the WE Initiative brand
  • Business education: Creation of the SME Academy
  • Brilliant Lebanese Awards: Woman Entrepreneur of the Year and Business of the Year
  • Importance of Public Relations in the positioning of WE Initiative
  • Networking events for clients
  • Financial Indicators: Measuring Results: Inclusion of women SMEs financial indicators in the bank’s performance matrix and tracking of the indicators
  • SME finance for women-owned businesses

Tania Moussallem, Head of Strategic Development & Financial Management Group, described BLC’s journey which started in 2010 with attending the GBA 2010 Summit in DC and that now generates a 30% + IRR (calculated on a conservative basis). The ‘WE Initiative’ targets all Lebanese women, not just women-owned MSMEs, which elevates its strategic importance within the bank. ‘Women are another dimension rather than a line of business or a product’, she reports. BLC Bank’s proposition includes financial and non-financial services including business education, networking opportunities, access to consultants and mentors, and of course the chance to become nationally and internationally recognized through BLC’s extraordinarily successful Brilliant Lebanese Awards.

BLC noted that the program has enabled their differentiation in the highly competitive Lebanese banking market. “While products can be copied within weeks of being put on the market, copying our non-financial services value proposition and our organizational culture is much more difficult.” noted Moussallem.

In the true spirit of the GBA, the BLC team shared a lot of details on how they run their program and were asked question after question from a hungry audience, anxious to get their program’s right under the tight deadlines set by their own bank’s leadership. BLC’s generosity was greatly appreciated by all participants.

The GBA team also learned a tremendous amount and will be writing a case study on BLC Bank this year. In the meantime, check out http://we-initiative.com and GBA members, please go to our member only section of the GBA website—the Vault—to get a hold of some of the material shared during this Study Tour.

Thank you BLC Bank for your incredible generosity.

We look forward to seeing member banks in our next Study Tour, which will take place in November 2014 hosted by Westpac. This study tour is open to GBA members only.