BLC Bank

One of the oldest banks in Lebanon, BLC Bank operates through a network of 54 branches. Its We Initiative Women’s Market program has become a competitive differentiator for the Bank.

About BLC Bank

BLC Bank was incorporated in 1950 as a family-owned bank in Lebanon and today is one of the pioneer banking institutions in the country. With over US$5 billion in total assets, BLC conducts a wide range of commercial banking activities through a network of 54 branches across Lebanon and Cyprus. BLC Bank became a bank of reference in the retail sector with innovative consumer products, as well as in the corporate sector through its wide range of tailor-made solutions to meet specific client needs.

In line with its vision to be a universal bank and a bank of reference in the financial services industry, BLC Bank is committed to expanding its services for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The bank received the award for Best Commitment to Small and Medium Enterprises in 2010 from the Lebanon Opportunities National Achievement Awards for Banking.

The Program

Drawing on ideas it learned from fellow GBA members and with support from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), BLC Bank launched its Women Empowerment program, We Initiative, in 2012. It is the first program that aims to promote female entrepreneurship in Lebanon and in the Middle East. The program supports women-owned SMEs by providing access to tailored financial services, advisory services, training and business education, and networks. In only two years, BLC Bank’s We Initiative began generating significant business returns, currently representing more than 18 percent of the bank’s profits, with double-digit growth projected for the next three years.

Additionally, We Initiative has allowed BLC Bank to position itself as the bank of reference for women in Lebanon and as a global example for Women’s Market best practices. The Bank also has a strong diversity and inclusion agenda, and expects women to represent 50 percent of its leadership by 2020.

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WOMEN AT
BLC BANK

BLC Bank serves more
than 31,000 women
customers with a loan
portfolio of US$180 million
and deposits of US$750 million.

The Bank’s We Initiative
Women’s Market program
represents more than
18 percent of its profits.

Double-digit growth is
projected for We Initiative
for the next three years.

Women make up more than
50 percent of BLC Bank’s total
staff and 43 percent of its
senior management — a number
that is targeted to increase to
50 percent by 2020.

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The Opportunity - Lebanon

  • 27%

    of the Lebanese labor force was made up of women in 2014, according to Lebanon’s Central Administration of Statistics.
  • 34%

    of firms had female participation in ownership in 2009, the World Bank found.
  • 32%

    of women in the country borrowed money in 2014, according to Findex.
  • 3%

    of bank loans for businesses in Lebanon go to female entrepreneurs, the GEM Women's Report 2010 found.