Burgan Bank: Investing in compassionate banking

By nurturing and developing its most vital assets, MENA-based Burgan Bank has seen its employee management development programme create a successful and positive business model


Established in 1977, Burgan Bank, a subsidiary of Kuwait Projects Company (KIPCO), is the youngest commercial Bank and third largest by assets in Kuwait, with a significant focus on the corporate and financial institutions sectors, as well as having a growing retail and private bank customer base. The bank has continuously improved its performance over the years through an expanded revenue structure, diversified funding sources, and a strong capital base. The adoption of state-of-the-art services and technology has positioned it as a trendsetter in the domestic market and within the MENA region.

External recognition
As one of the leading brands across the Middle East’s banking sector, Burgan Bank has grown a strong and long-standing list of clients through the efforts of its committed workforce. A compelling corporate strategy, coupled with ambitious objectives drawn by the management has resulted in the regional expansion into Turkey. This has marked a key milestone in Burgan Bank’s consolidated efforts to building a strong regional banking franchise and ultimately, providing sound financial solutions across the network of its subsidiaries in the Middle East and North Africa.

In 2010, the bank was awarded with the Best Internet Banking Service award from Banker Middle East Awards. It was recognised in 2011 as Kuwait’s Best Private Bank, by World Finance. The bank also won in 2011, the coveted International Platinum Star for Quality award from Business Initiative Directions, and The Best Technical Award from Banking Web Awards. In 2012, Global Banking and Finance Review recognised Burgan Bank as the Best Banking Group in the MENA, as well as the Best Corporate Bank in Kuwait. The bank also won the coveted Best Bank Branding award by The Banker Middle East. For the second consecutive year in 2012, Burgan Bank also won World Finance’s Best Private Bank award, as well as the Best Private Bank in Kuwait 2012 award from Capital Finance International. The bank recently won the Best Bank in Kuwait award from EMEA Finance.

Utilising human resources 
Burgan Bank acknowledges that its strongest assets are its employees, and that its career and personal development has a direct effect on its success. The bank continues to aim at fostering the talent and sharpening skills to become future banking leaders.

A great deal of emphasis is placed on developing employees’ expertise and growth at all levels. Establishing effective programmes for transformational leadership and executive development is among the bank’s main priorities, however, fresh graduates and junior members of the Burgan Bank family also receive induction-training programmes. The HR department’s main function is to diligently assist employees with their career development plans.

The ultimate goal of its internal communications is to engage employees in a two-way conversation with management in order to keep them up-to-date on the banks’ latest news, and be closely integrated with the developments. Burgan Bank employs some of the brightest minds, and so it is crucial that the integration of different processes and collaboration of ideas be on the same level.

Another important reason for employees to stay connected is that each one is by default an ambassador for everything the bank stands for. Therefore, in order to truly operate according to its values, each employee must feel strongly connected to the brand and so reflect it in their own way of operating.

The management development programme provides managerial education to the banks’ potential fast trackers

The primary function of Burgan Bank’s HR department is to provide high performance culture that emphasises empowerment, quality, productivity, goal attainment as well as recruitment and development of a superior work force.  The bank believes that the role of HR should be looked more as a strategic functional role, as opposed to an administrative one.

Providing staff with the right tools
At the same time the focus on the bank’s greatest resource – its employees – continues to remain a core component in its strategy, moving forward through extensive development and coaching tactics. Good managers are crucial to an effective organisation, but most have to learn how to be effective.

The role of HR in the bank is to develop and coach managers on how to manage employees, and deal with difficult situations. Burgan Bank’s belief in arming its own employees with the right guide to achieving the brand’s overall success on different levels, has led to the proud recognition of the bank’s innovative HR initiative. Designed to enrich its staff with a determination to excel and be empowered with a unique set of skills is an in-house management development programme, which nurtures and develops future leaders by equipping them with the necessary technical expertise and leadership skills.

In relation, the bank presents outstanding training by offering employee training programmes across its network through tailor made modules, including Branch Manager Continuing Education and Internal Audit Methodology, which not only to give solid foundations, but help branch managers gain and enhance key competencies that enable them to demonstrate the role of a successful retail banking branch manager.

Excellence is one of the bank’s four key values, and it continually strives to maintain the highest standards in the industry. The bank was re-certified in 2010 with the ISO 9001:2008 certification in all its banking businesses, making it the first bank in the GCC, and the only bank in Kuwait to receive such accreditation.

It also has to its credit the distinction of being the only bank in Kuwait to have won the JP Morgan Chase Quality Recognition Award for 12 consecutive years. Continued adaptation of current information in the banking field and careful implementation of proven methods of training schemes accommodate the bank’s objectives, its members and shareholders, which are key drivers in the future of its operations. The bank has contributed to the national wealth of knowledge by developing young student trainees in its annual summer training programmes.

Through this the bank has consistently worked towards achieving its long-term strategic goals of nurturing the best local talent. For this reason, the Burganers Development Programme presents a successful model of a private sector firms’ ability to attract young, ambitious Kuwaitis, which has increased to 67 percent already in 2013.

Burgan Bank has continued to receive regional and international recognition for its continued added value to the banking industry and consumers as a whole. Such awards include Best Banking Group in MENA award for the second consecutive year and Best Corporate Bank in Kuwait 2012 award from Global Banking and Finance Review, along with Bank of Baghdad winning the Best Local Bank in Iraq 2012 award from EMEA finance Magazine, as well as Best Private Bank in Kuwait award by World Finance for the second consecutive year in 2012, among a number of others.

Creating the brand
Burgan Bank’s brand has been created on a foundation of real values – trust, commitment, excellence and progression, to remind us of the high standards to which we aspire. ‘People come first’ is the foundation on which its products and services are developed. Excellence is one of the bank’s four key values and it continually strives to maintain the highest standards in the industry. The management development programme provides managerial education to the banks’ potential fast trackers, through a unique combination of thorough knowledge, personal development and implementation of theory in practice.

Key objectives driving this successful module are investing in and retaining high fliers with excellent performance to meet the continuing education and training needs of Burgan Bank’s employees, utilising the synergies through team building activities and conceptual awareness, providing participants with comprehensive exposure to business practices beyond the scope of their job requirements.

Burgan Bank continues to present a successful module of retaining the best and most efficient talents across the country. There is a superb story to be told, employees need to nurture the success story of Burgan Bank, and to embrace its overall brand values of being driven by you.