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 that spans 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 MENA region generally. 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. Learn more about BLC Bank’s successes in our Case Study on the bank.

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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.


The Opportunity - Lebanon

  • 23%

    of women in Lebanon participated in the labor force as of 2017, according to the World Bank.
  • 33%

    of women had a bank account in 2017, Findex found.
  • 16%

    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.
  • 13%

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

BLC Bank