BIBD named ‘Best SME Bank’, ‘Best CSR Bank’ in Brunei

Izah Azahari

Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) received two major awards for its leadership, innovation and excellence in Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Banking and strong dedication to its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

The ‘Best SME Bank Brunei 2020’ and ‘Best CSR Bank Brunei 2020’ awards, conferred by leading publisher Global Banking and Finance Review recently, were in recognition of BIBD’s focus on delivering comprehensive solutions that make banking more efficient, cost-effective and readily accessible to SME clients as well as creating long-term support and sustainable change through education, community and development of local entrepreneurs.

“BIBD is committed to supporting SMEs and the communities they serve,” said Global Banking and Finance Review Editor Wanda Rich. “Their strategic vision, continued investment in technology, deployment of innovative services and commitment to the socio-economic development in Brunei is what made them stand out as the winner this year,” she added.

BIBD’s Head of Corporate Banking Koh Swam Sing said, “We are honoured to accept this award. This will not be possible without the full support and trust from our valued clients, stakeholders, shareholders and the management of the bank.

“This award acts as a catalyst for us to work harder and surely, will improve our service to our clients, to the business community and to the country. We are committed to strengthen our support to the government’s initiatives towards the realisation of Brunei Vision 2035,” he added.

BIBD, through its Corporate Banking Group (CBG), aspires to be one of the main enablers to the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) industry.

This is in line with the Brunei Government’s vision to enhance opportunities for local MSMEs as well as create leaders among the business and industry players by developing greater competitive strength.

BIBD has complemented national efforts by boosting its SME-related initiatives and programmes to ensure that it contributes to the local budding entrepreneurs and empowering them with ease through the robust and comprehensive digital business solutions.

Its range of products such as BIBD BizNet, MSME Current Account and BIBD QuickyPay have helped fill up gaps and improve the operations of MSMEs – this in line with the bank’s objectives which is to serve the needs of all types of MSMEs.

The introduction of its all-in-one SME360 platform has also helped boost the business governance of MSMEs. The bank continues to work closely with several stakeholders such as DARe (Darussalam Enterprise) to provide support, advice and mentorship to its SME clients.

Educating Brunei’s grassroots with entrepreneurship and finance management skills remains as one of the bank’s main agenda. It continues to cooperate with higher learning institutions to conduct talks, training and clinics to promote and inculcate entrepreneurship behaviour to the young generations in Brunei.BIBD is also working with LiveWIRE Brunei through collaborations in programmes such as the Business Awards Funding Scheme and AgroBiz project.

These programmes aim to support entrepreneurship and employment by administering the financial mechanism and providing the much-needed capital to new companies and start-ups.

In winning the ‘Best CSR Bank Brunei 2020’, BIBD was recognised for its dedication to help communities in Brunei to grow and become financially independent through entrepreneurship and good education.

One of BIBD’s notable CSR initiatives is the BIBD ALAF (Advocating Life-Long Learning for an Aspiring Future), which has become a mainstay programme since its inception in 2013 and has in total enrolled 240 students as of January 2020.

Meanwhile, the BIBD ‘Special Underprivileged Mothers Empowerment Entrepreneurship Development’ (BIBD SEED) programme, is an award-winning initiative aimed at enhancing the livelihood of underprivileged mothers in Brunei by developing them into independent entrepreneurs capable of competing in the local and international markets.

Recently this year, as the COVID-19 pandemic affected economic activities in Brunei and across the globe, BIBD introduced the initiative known as the ‘Community for Brunei’ – a collaboration with local entrepreneurs and social enterprises.

This provides a virtual marketplace, highlighting different social and charitable causes important to the heart of Brunei and enabling the public to support these causes by purchasing from the local micro and small businesses. The community for Brunei platform has already launched two community projects called ‘Community for COVID’ and ‘Community for Ramadhan’, and more are in the pipeline.

BIBD’s Chief Marketing Officer Hajah Nurul Akmar binti Haji Mohd Jaafar said that giving back to the community and helping small businesses grow is at the heart of BIBD’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) pillars – namely education, entrepreneurship and community.

“BIBD is the only bank in Brunei to have a long-term sustained approach in all our CSR initiatives and all these initiatives symbolise our strong commitment towards elevating the community and aligning BIBD with international industry standards in realising the importance of ESG and adoption of the UN’s 17 SDG and the Maqasid Shariah,” she added.