Monday 30th October 2017
One of the fastest-growing banks in Jordan, Bank al Etihad has long been known as an active advocate for the country’s women. Its Shorouq program, launched in late 2014, has made impressive progress in a short period of time: Growth in the bank’s female client base is up 258 percent as of Sept. 30, and women now comprise 33 percent of the bank’s customer base. 2017 was a banner year for the program, with the bank launching a number of new financial and non-financial initiatives to support their female staff and increase women’s economic empowerment in Jordan.
Below is a roundup of what Bank al Etihad has done so far in 2017 to better meet the economic needs of women in Jordan. GBA members will have the opportunity to discuss these initiatives and more with the delegation from Bank al Etihad – including CEO Nadia al Saeed – at the Annual Summit next month.
Shorouq Savings Account
Earlier this year, Bank al Etihad reaffirmed its commitment to its women clients with the launch of the Shorouq savings account — the first in the Kingdom specifically intended to support women’s needs and ambitions. The account seeks to offer women financial independence by helping them build savings for themselves and their families. Addressing the two primary methods through which Jordanian women define financial security — steady income and home ownership — the bank is offering an annual prize drawing for all Shorouq Savings Account holders, with the grand prize winner receiving an apartment and a monthly prize of JOD 1,000 (about US$ 1,400) for life, and five others receiving the monthly prize of JOD 1,000 for life. The account has resulted in increases in the overall number of female clients at the bank.
The bank hosted multiple events designed specifically to help women grow their networks in 2017. Apart from serving as a platform for exchanging expertise, knowledge and information, these events also have an educational component, covering topics such as finance, health, human resources and female empowerment. Bank al Etihad has held nine events so far this year, with up to 200 participants expected to attend the upcoming Nov. 3 gathering scheduled to coincide with Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.
This year Bank al Etihad partnered with organizations across the financial services and women’s economic empowerment ecosystem as part of its commitment to supporting women within its community, including sponsoring a mentoring program and a women’s economic empowerment conference, and covering the cost for clients to attend a leadership program.
Shorouq Comeback Program
On International Women’s Day, Bank al Etihad announced the launch of the Shorouq Comeback Program. A first of its kind in Jordan, the program is designed to help women re-enter the financial services profession following a voluntary career break. The three-month program — which the bank plans to host annually — offers women hands-on in-house training, with participants rotating between their choice of two of the bank’s departments, including Human Resources, Marketing, Operations, Branches, Credit, Procurement and SMEs. The Comeback Program also offers workshops on soft skills, such as Emotional Intelligence, Assertiveness and Self Confidence, Time Management, Work-Life Balance, Change Management, and both group and one-on-one coaching sessions. Within the first month of announcing the program, the bank received over 1,000 applications. August saw the program’s first graduating class, composed of 19 women — eight of whom were ultimately offered permanent positions at Bank al Etihad.
Child Care Initiative
As part of its ongoing efforts to support working parents and working women, in particular, Bank al Etihad began sponsoring a day care program for employees’ children at the beginning of 2017. Through a collaboration with the Haya Cultural Center, which sits across the street from the bank’s headquarters in Amman, Bank al Etihad’s staff are able to send their children to Bright Steps Nursery, where they learn photography, singing, music, and arts and crafts through a range of interactive teaching methods. The initiative is in line with the bank’s firm belief that mothers and fathers alike have the right to come to work secure in the knowledge that their children are safe, happy and developing soundly.
In the coming months, the bank intends to continue growing its portfolio of women clients through several avenues. The bank plans to launch a Gold Loan, which will enable Bank al Etihad to use gold as collateral – particularly beneficial for women, who lack more traditional forms of collateral. On the NFS side, Bank al Etihad is planning to launch its own mentoring program via a partnership with an outside organization that will help the bank deliver more value to its women clients.