We’ve talked to Nicoleta Deliu, communications manager for BCR, and Ana-Maria Cretu, startups program coordinator within BCR, to find out more about how the Jobs for Ukraine platform is performing and the quick response taken by the bank in order to help the refugees.

„We believe that it is mandatory to have a rapid and consistent response to help those in need. From the beginning, we were aware of the enormous scale of the crisis, and the impact is has on everybody, causing fear and uncertainty. And we understood that those who flee war, not only that they feel displacement, but they experience many types of loss. They are losing their families, their friends, their jobs and their incomes, diving in a world of infinite uncertainty, holding all their life in a bag”, says Nicoleta Deliu, communications manager at BCR, stating that it was a must to give themselves a tight deadline in order to organize their operations and help the Ukrainian refugees right at the border crossing with Romania and where they needed the most financial assistance.

The first plan was done in 24 hours

According to Nicoleta, everything happened on fast-forward, and the BCR team used the first 24 hours to make an assessment plan, and to put their resources aside to help.

„In the first three days from the beginning of the conflict, we were able to assist and integrate refugees, both from an operational and humanitarian perspective. From the beginning, our plan was developed on these two levels. From the professional perspective, we’ve improved our operations, adjusting business flows to respond effectively to the needs of Ukrainians. And our main goal here was to facilitate their access to their financial resources. From the humanitarian perspective, we were able to act quickly through direct donations and funding to NGOs active in supporting refugees”, adds Nicoleta.

At the beginning of March, the InnovX-BCR acceleration program announced that with the help of tech startup Jobful and of tech partners such as Druid AI, Microsoft and EY Romania, they managed to and it represents an initiative for Ukrainian citizens who will remain on the territory of Romania for mid to long term and are looking for a job.

„It took us exactly four days, from the first ideation (Feb 25) to platform go-live (Feb 28). During these four days we worked around the clock to gather information, which was constantly changing and updating. The information type was diverse, and essential for the platform development: from the number of Ukrainians estimated to arrive in Romania for the following period, to their immediate needs, and other facts that we had to integrate in the platform. At the same time, we were keen to build a simplified funnel for both candidates and companies, to easily connect them and find immediate matches", comments Ana-Maria Cretu, startups program coordinator within BCR.

In very short time, the team thought of aggregating all the relevant information that they were gathering daily from various sources into a chatbot.

"When this idea came up, we immediately thought of Druid AI, as we had a very good collaboration on various projects, and we knew they would help us deliver fast. They were extremely open and supportive when we’ve presented the project, and together with EY, they provided the chatbot in exactly 2 days, with a first version available in English. This was amazing, because it really provided a much-needed structure for all the essential information we had for Ukrainian refugees, who looked for some orientation in a foreign country, before actually applying for a job. Microsoft also provided tech support with both the platform launch and chatbot, so we basically managed to put together a tech dream team to work for a humanitarian project”, adds Ana-Maria.

The platform has a simplified sign-up process, for both the employer and the employees, which requires three steps: creating an account, filling a profile (for employees)/ adding a job (for companies), the possibility of applying to available jobs or contacting a candidate, for those recruiting.

The Jobs for Ukraine platform is available here.

According to Ana-Maria, until the 18th of March, they have received hundreds of messages from NGOs, HR associations, public and private companies that want to join the platform. And although the platform is evolving and the data is constantly changing, she gave a few numbers.

“We see an organic growth in the number across the entire platform", says Ana-Maria.

According to the latest statistics the BCR team provided us, the platform has more than 26,000 daily visitors (over 106.000 sessions), over 1,050 job opportunities in Romania, Sweden, Spain, Denmark, UK, Italy, Moldova, Austria and USA, almost 1,170 refugees who registered on the platform.

900 employers opened an account to offer jobs to Ukranians

Also, over 900 employers opened an Enterprise account on www.jobs4ukr.com, and they had over 100 matches so far, the number growing constantly.

According to Ana-Maria, regarding the industries currently active on the platform there are jobs in the hospitality, health, banking & finance, manufacturing, technology, retail, education, production, construction, telecommunication, marketing, arts & entertainment industries.

Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine the BCR team has been in contact with refugees, both through BCR volunteers and NGO partners.

„This helped us learn more about the difficulties refugees face when they arrive in Romania, and one major pain point is the impossibility to cash exchange hryvnia into lei. Therefore, beside the other measures taken by BCR to help the Ukrainian citizens, we are most proud of the fact that BCR is the only bank in Romania to cash exchange hryvnia into lei, within the limit of 1,000 lei per person, at the NBR exchange rate of 0.1467 lei, without any additional fee. The offer is valid only for persons with international passports issued in Ukraine, as a humanitarian aid”, adds Nicoleta.

Other important actions take by the BCR team to help the Ukrainian refugees crossing our borders include:

  • Zero costs for:
    • account opening and administration (lei, with George card attached; euro or dollars).
    • card delivery in Romania.
    • card issuance in foreign currency.
    • cash withdrawal in lei from BCR cash desks and ATMs.
    • cash withdrawal in foreign currency from BCR cash dispensers, ATM and POS operations.
    • inter- and intra-bank payments in Romania
    • transfers to banks in Ukraine.
    • currency conversion for card payments in other currencies.
  • BCR branches ready to cover the need for additional cash, 24/7. These are located at border areas, and additional teams are constantly working to ensure that ATMs are fully stocked so that the ATM area is fully operational.
  • Translators deployed in BCR branches in the north of the country.
  • 0373514244 - special phone number, dedicated to Ukrainian citizens, for 24/7 assistance in financial-banking services.
  • suport.linia1@bcr.ro - support email address for citizens of Ukraine.
  • Dedicated section on BCR website, in Ukrainian language, with the most useful information about BCR services - www.bcr.ro/ro/stand-with-ukraine;
  • Special online donation section in George for the support of children and young people in Ukraine.
  • Direct financial donations to Save the Children, Romanian Red Cross and Ukrainian Youth Association in Romania - NGOs that are strongly involved in the refugee crisis in Ukraine.