Winner: KBZ Bank

KBZ Bank – Myanmar’s largest privately-owned bank – has continued to innovate despite a challenging operating environment, displaying a commitment, not only to millions of people in Myanmar with its mobile-first policy, but to the living standards of its own staff.

Guided by its three core values of “Metta, Thet Ti and Virya” – loving-kindness, courage, and perseverance – KBZ impressed the judges with a comprehensive diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy that has been a game changer in terms of gender equality.

With a total workforce of 13,000+ people (more than 80% of them Gen Y millennials), gender representation across the bank is 58% female. Gender representation on its board, meanwhile, is 29% female, while gender representation in management positions is 58% female.   

The judges said they were impressed by “its adherence to mission as well as the depth and scope of its key partnerships and initiatives”.

Collaborations with organisations such as the Business Coalition for Gender Equality (BCGE), the Valuable 500, and the Asia Gender Network have been crucial, deepening KBZ Bank’s inclusive workplace policies, promoting disability inclusion, and engaging in regional knowledge sharing.

The BCGE WGEDI vision board guided the bank’s strategic priorities for 2023. These priorities included internal communication of inclusive values, extensive training programs, and systematic monitoring of inclusive practices. The bank implemented Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and quarterly Team Challenges to encourage all departments to cultivate an inclusive culture and develop inclusive products and services.

Key policies that supported its DEI goals included the Anti-Harassment & Non-Discrimination Policy, Equal Employment Opportunity Policy, and Diversity and Inclusion Policy. These policies, launched in late 2022 and early 2023, set out clear standards and fostered a culture of accountability and transparency.

The bank also introduced supportive initiatives such as an early childhood daycare centre and a mother’s corner, enhancing workplace inclusivity for working parents. To combat stereotyping, bystander apathy, and unconscious biases, KBZ Bank also conducted comprehensive policy awareness sessions. 

This culture of change was augmented by a range of activities, including celebrations of International Women’s Day, Mother’s Day, and events for the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia, as well as Pride Month Tea Talks. 

Throughout 2023, KBZ Bank invested heavily in employee training and development, delivering over 574,000 training hours. The bank’s comprehensive talent strategy included quarterly bonuses, bi-annual promotions, and a supportive work environment. A voluntary engagement and satisfaction survey yielded an 84.6% employee happiness score, reflecting the positive impact of these initiatives.

KBZ Bank’s DEI commitment, meanwhile, has positively influenced its corporate culture and financial performance, driving innovation, higher returns, and increased job satisfaction. These efforts support the bank’s mission to achieve 100% financial inclusion in Myanmar to become Southeast Asia’s leading bank in customer service.

The judges said the bank’s ongoing DEI efforts highlight its role as a transformative force in Myanmar’s banking sector, setting new standards for inclusivity and excellence. The FinanceAsia Awards 2024 accolade celebrates KBZ Bank’s commitment to creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace, in alignment with its core values and vision.  

“We’re deeply honored to receive this award, which strengthens our commitment to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of our operations. This recognition inspires us to ensure that each and every employee feels respected, heard, and empowered to thrive. Together, we will continue to champion a more inclusive future.”  Zarni Htun, Chief People Officer


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