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HSBC Bank Middle East Limited (HSBC) has become the first bank in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to join a region-wide volunteer initiative developed by Grameen-Jameel Microfinance Limited (Grameen-Jameel) to support the growth of microfinance among the underprivileged.
HSBC has signed an MOU with Grameen-Jameel to volunteer its employees’ financial, technical and professional expertise to support microfinance institutions (MFIs) through the Bankers without Borders® (BwB) programme.
Grameen-Jameel is a joint venture between Grameen Foundation and Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives. It is the first social business and one of the largest local private funders to MFIs in the MENA region. Through its partnership with MFIs, Grameen-Jameel has reached over 1,500,000 underprivileged clients in the region.
Bankers without Borders® is a global skilled-based volunteer programme that connects private individuals and companies with MFIs and other pro-poor organizations to help break the cycle of global poverty. Launched in 2008 by Grameen Foundation, BwB is an international reserve corps of more than 8000 business professionals and retirees who are willing to contribute their time, skills, and experience pro bono to support social enterprises.
Grameen-Jameel manages the Bankers without Borders® programme in MENA offering BwB services to MFIs by seeking to match professionals from various sectors (banking, risk management, treasury management, insurance, human resources, new technologies and beyond) with MFIs’ technical assistance needs to improve the ability of microfinance professionals to deliver their services to the poor.
The agreement was signed by David Kotheimer, Regional Head of Strategy & Planning and Head of International, HSBC MENA and Julia Assaad, General Manager, Grameen-Jameel Microfinance Limited.
David Kotheimer said: “HSBC is delighted to partner with Grameen-Jameel for this worthy cause. Through Grameen-Jameel’s Bankers without Borders® volunteer programme, HSBC employees will have the opportunity to offer their time and skills to a variety of projects in the MENA region. By passing on their expertise staff will help to empower some of the world’s poorest people to reach economic self-sufficiency.
“HSBC has a strong corporate sustainability culture and this is an excellent way for our colleagues to use their experience and passion for finance to help the underprivileged.” Kotheimer added.
Julia Assaad said: “Grameen-Jameel is very pleased to partner with a renowned global financial institution such as HSBC to have access to the support of its employees helping to bridge the gap between skilled bankers and unbanked clients. . We aim to support the microfinance sector to extend its outreach and impact on the poor by transferring HSBC’s financial knowledge and expertise to the microfinance institutions in the MENA region. This partnership is extremely important for the growth of the microfinance sector and is a great step towards reaching more underprivileged clients to meet our poverty alleviation mission.".
HSBC staff from across the UAE business will take part in 2012, and the programme will be open to HSBC staff across the region in 2013.
HSBC has a presence in 14 countries across MENA. Grameen-Jameel has a similarly large regional network and currently operates in nine countries in the region.