MANAMA: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail Bank, was honoured at a regional conference for its continuous support of the community and presented with the Best Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Award for an Islamic Bank 2017 in recognition of its various initiatives. Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, was also honoured at the event and presented with the Academic Excellence in CSR Award.
The awards were presented to Abdul Rahim by the Chairman of the Bahrain Association of Banks and the International Ambassador for CSR, Adnan Yousif, at the CSR Conference and Award for Islamic Banks, which was held in Bahrain. At the event, Abdul Rahim was thanked for his participation in the conference and his support, as the Ithmaar Bank CEO, for the Bank’s CSR initiatives. The event was attended by senior bankers, CSR experts and representatives of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) as well as government and banking and finance officials both from Bahrain, as well from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Jordan, Sudan and the Republic of Djibouti.
Abdul Rahim thanked the organisers and attributed the Bank’s long-standing commitment to the community, as well as its growing success, to the Grace of God, then to the support and guidance of the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors, led by the Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, as well as to the contributions of the Executive Management team and all the Bank’s employees.
“As a pioneering Islamic retail bank, Ithmaar Bank has long recognised the important role we must play in supporting the community in which we operate,” said Abdul Rahim. “This is a responsibility we have always taken very seriously, and this has helped chart the Bank’s progress and growth over the years,” he said.
“Although we are, of course, deeply grateful for the recognition we receive through these prestigious awards, our support for the community is driven by infinitely more powerful motivation,” said Abdul Rahim. “It is, in fact, one of our key objectives as an Islamic retail bank: to play a real and meaningful role in developing our community, to help those in need and to contribute to our society’s growth and prosperity. It is about who we are as a corporate entity,” he said.
“Ithmaar Bank fulfils its responsibility towards the community by focusing on economic growth, social development and environmental protection,” said Abdul Rahim. “Throughout, we remain committed to applying best practices in corporate governance through the adoption of principles such as integrity, transparency, accountability and a strict adherence to the principles of the Islamic Sharia principles,” he said.
“We set solid foundations based on predetermined criteria that are used in deciding which initiatives we support, and we conduct extensive studies to ensure that any funds we disburse are used to achieve specific objectives that are in line with the Bank’s CSR strategy,” said Abdul Rahim. “The Bank’s CSR strategy aims to provide financial and moral support to a number of sectors, such as providing financial support for the needy and providing education and training opportunities for Bahrainis from all sectors, including empowering women to play bigger roles in the community and supporting people with special needs. The Bank also focuses on supporting sports and social activities as well as on supporting hospitals and medical centres,” he said.
“As an Islamic retail bank, Ithmaar Bank we did not overlook the significant role we must play in spreading Islam by supporting centres that aim to spread awareness of the Holy Quran through programmes that teach Islamic principles, print the Holy Qurans, and memorise it as a part of the nation-wide Quran reader programme,” said Abdul Rahim. “Over the past 10 years, Ithmaar has also sponsored a number of distinguished academics from all over the Islamic world to obtain postgraduate degrees from the United Kingdom,” he said.
“We also play an important role in providing ongoing training to a large number of undergraduate students in Bahrain to prepare them for entering the banking sector,” said Abdul Rahim. “Ithmaar does not neglect the important role women play in all areas, and the Bank continues to supports initiatives and programmes that help empower women,” he said.
“The Bank also supports the Bahraini community by offering innovative products such as the Qard Hassan, during the Holy month of Ramadan where customers are able to get financing with zero profit rate,” said Abdul Rahim. “We also conducted a recycling project which included educating our employees and the community on how to recycle paper and plastic,” he said.
In December 2016, Ithmaar Bank was singled out from among the world’s Islamic banks for a prestigious international award in recognition of its CSR initiatives and its Financial Disclosure. The independent award was presented at the World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) in Bahrain, a high-profile event that was attended by leading international banking experts and is widely recognised as one of the most important events on the world Islamic banking calendar.