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Kuwait: NBK Reports 2020 Net Profit of KD 246.3 million


National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) posted a net profit of KD 246.3 million (USD 812.3 million) for the year ended 31 December 2020, compared to KD 401.3 million (USD 1.3 billion) for the same period last year; dropping by 38.6% year-on-year.

As of end of December 2020, NBK’s total assets grew by 1.5% on annual basis, to reach KD 29.7 billion (USD 98.0 billion), while customer loans and advances grew by 5.7% compared to the same period last year, to reach KD 17.5 billion (USD 57.7 billion) while customers’ deposits grew by 7.4% to reach KD 17.1 billion (USD 56.4 billion).

NBK’s Board of Directors has proposed the distribution of a cash dividend of 20 fils per share, representing 55.6% of net profit, in addition to 5% bonus shares (5 shares for every 100 shares). The cash dividend and bonus shares, if approved by the shareholders’ general assembly, shall be payable to the shareholders after obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals. Earnings per share (EPS) stood at 32 fils, as compared to 57 fils in 2019, while shareholders’ equity stood at KD 3.2 billion (USD 10.5 billion)

Commenting on the Bank’s results, Mr. Nasser Al-Sayer, The Chairman of the Board of Directors of National Bank of Kuwait, said: “In a profoundly challenging year, NBK performed well and we are pleased with the results achieved by the Group in light of exceptionally challenging operating conditions.

This demonstrates the strength and resilience of our business model, the positive impact of our digital strategy and the dedication of our employees in performing their duties in such critical times.”

“The year 2020 was characterized by unprecedented challenges combined with a high level of uncertainty. NBK held up well in the face of extraordinary market conditions and clearly demonstrated its governance and prudent risk management. Furthermore, NBK reaffirmed its solid financial position alongside its commitment to supporting clients and the communities in which it operates.”

“Besides the growth in Islamic banking through our subsidiary, Boubyan Bank, remaining an important driver for earnings diversification, our international operations proved to play a vital role in mitigating risks and further diversifying our income streams.”

Al Sayer added: “The solid profits of the Bank and its strong capital base provided enough flexibility allowing for a sustained dividend policy despite the operational challenges. Throughout the year 2020, NBK boosted its capital levels by issuing KD subordinated Tier 2 bonds along with USD Tier 2 notes. The issuances being oversubscribed by 1.5x and 3.6x respectively were a testament to NBK’s strong credit profile.”

“Today, our main focus is to strength our operations in our international markets, leveraging the loyalty of our customers, while building a digitally driven culture to be fully prepared for the future.”

“Looking ahead, and although uncertainty continues to dominate the global macro scene, NBK is very well-prepared and positioned for different recovery scenarios, thanks to our flexible operational model and strong financial position.”

Al-Sayer concluded by extending his sincere appreciation to NBK employees for their devotion and commitment in supporting the bank’s customers with all their financial needs during these challenging times.
On his part, Mr. Isam Al-Sager, NBK Group CEO said: “Our 2020 profits is testimony to our dynamic business model and strategy, as well as our ability to adapt promptly to the adverse operating conditions that the pandemic imposed on us.”

Al-Sager highlighted that “the Bank has delivered good performance in 2020 considering the unprecedented operating environment that prevailed following the outbreak of COVID 19, along with the drop in oil prices and low interest rates.”

“The partial and full lockdown of activities that was introduced to limit the spread of the virus weighed heavily on businesses leading to a drop in transaction volumes. Our profitability was also negatively impacted by an increase in provisions that is mostly precautionary in nature as we maintain a conservative approach to risk”, Al-Sager pointed.

Al-Sager also highlighted that looking ahead, “The Group is moving rapidly to enhance fees and commission income streams and will stringently monitor costs, and this discipline has already enabled us to maintain operating expenses at an appropriate level. Moreover, NBK’s regional focus will be to grow organically in key markets, in particular Egypt and Saudi Arabia, where in the case of the former both the retail and wholesale markets offer compelling opportunities, while in KSA the Group’s wealth management proposition has strong momentum.”

Concluding his statements, Al-Sager said: “As we turn our attention to 2021, we have good reason to be confident in our future. We have created a strong position for ourselves through the strategic investments in our employees, operations and digital platforms”. In parallel, supported by a strong balance sheet, healthy asset quality and comfortable liquidity levels, we will be able to withstand the current crisis, and continue to deliver on our commitment towards all our stakeholders and returning to profitable growth”.

Kuwait: Al-Bahar: NBK Anticipated A Digital Pandemic and Prepared Well for It


As part of the activities of “Tamakan” career readiness program sponsored by the bank, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) held a panel discussion in which Ms. Shaikha Al-Bahar, NBK Group Deputy CEO gave a lecture and answered a number of questions raised by the participants in the program.

Commencing her meeting with the participating youth, Al-Bahar said: "It is always a great to be with the promising Kuwaiti youth. I’m here to present to you my experience and practical knowledge that I hope will help you in your career, and I will also to be inspired by your enthusiasm and innovativity."


A digital Pandemic

On the pandemic’s impact of on digital transformation in the business sector, Al-Bahar said that the crisis underscored the necessity of digital banking and electronic payment solutions to maintain customers’ safety and make their transactions easier, in view of the increased reliance on online transactions and use of mobile applications due to the exceptional circumstances resulting from the pandemic. She also indicated that the banking industry faced the challenge of increasing reliance on digital services and the financial applications of Fintech, telecom and  other companies providing advanced payments solutions, which accelerated during the pandemic, therefore, it had to move at a faster pace than planned.

Al-Bahar pointed out that NBK gave an exceptional example in this regard, saying: “We did not anticipate the crisis, but we were well prepared for a digital pandemic that would bring opportunities for those possessing the infrastructure, qualified cadres and a flexible work model capable of adapting to changes.” She also indicated that the bank started its digital transformation strategy years ago, including pumping huge investments and building tremendous infrastructure, which contributed to the bank's digital excellence during the pandemic.


Technological Partnership

Answering a question about the successful Kuwaiti projects for financial applications and electronic payment, Al-Bahar expressed her pleasure with seeing inspiring success stories of Kuwaiti entrepreneurs who started their projects in Kuwait, then expanded in other regional markets, driving more of these examples to emerge in the future.

Regarding the competition between the bank and emerging Fintech companies, Al-Bahar said: “At NBK, we have a strategy that is based on the partnership between banks and Fintech companies, whereby these companies can benefit from the infrastructure of banks to provide their services, and in return, banks can utilize their digital platforms to create more advanced banking products."


The Future is for the Private Sector

In response to a question about Kuwaiti youth preference to work in the government sector and how to motivate them to work in the private sector, Al-Bahar said that most job opportunities are available in the private sector, in light of the overstaffed government sector, with over 320,000 of national employees. And given the doubling of the population by 2035, opportunities will be limited to the private sector.

Al-Bahar mentioned that the government’s increase of investment spending to stimulate economic growth is a mandatory path to create job opportunities to contain this increase, in addition to providing financial stimulus to mitigate the fallout of the crisis and sustain existing jobs, as well as developing education to make its outputs suitable for the labor market needs.

Al-Bahar noted that NBK gives an example to follow in training students and fresh graduates, and providing them with distinguished training, which resulted in that most key leaders in the business sector are graduates of NBK training and work school.


Preparation for Labor Market

Speaking on the gap between educational outputs and labor market needs, Al-Bahar said that this gap can be narrowed by continued training and qualification after graduation, but the problem remains in the insufficiency of specializations required in the market. Given the nature of Kuwait’s demographics, where young Kuwaitis under the age of 30 represent over 60% of the population, this gap becomes clearer, thus requiring faster solutions.

Al-Bahar noted that there is collective responsibility in this regard, as the government should provide educational programs in the required specializations, maximize the benefits from scholarships, and give priority and incentives to scholarship students in those specializations.

There is also an important role for the private sector in focusing on training national cadres as part of its social responsibility.


Golden Tips for a Successful Career:

Ms. Shaikha gave the participants the following key tips to start a successful career:

  • The study represents the first stage of learning and from today onwards, there will be new stages of continuous learning throughout your career.
  • Be sure that the time spent in reading and the efforts made in learning and training are assets that grow and accumulate to generate a return increasing day by day.
  • Make your goal not limited to career advancement or earning money, rather always make sure that your contributions represent an added value, and your efforts stimulate and inspire your colleagues in the work team.
  • Do not settle except for the best, and make the difference wherever you are, that is the only way to make your dreams come true.
  • Do not limit your ambition with challenges, as the future holds changes that are full of opportunities, as well as difficulties.. Focus on the opportunities it brings to you, and prepare to overcome the challenges it imposes on you.

Kuwait: NBK Promotes the Creativity of Kuwaiti Youth through "Tamakan" Program


The new edition of "Tamkan" program for training fresh Kuwaiti university graduates was launched last week. The program is organized by Creative Confidence and sponsored by National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) for the second year in a row.

The bank hosts 40 trainees at different training positions at its HQ for three months, starting from 20 January until 8 April 2021, during which the bank provides them with courses aimed to develop their skills and qualify them to the labor market.

The program was launched in a ceremony held at the bank’s HQ following all precautionary and social distancing measures. This included holding a panel discussion with the trainees in the presence of the bank’s executive management, as part of its keenness to support all initiatives that contribute to empower and develop the Kuwaiti youth and prepare them to be future leaders.The panel discussion was headed by Mr. Isam Al-Sager, NBK Group CEO, Ms. Shaikha Al-Bahar, NBK Group Deputy CEO, Mr. Salah Al-Fulaij, CEO of NBK – Kuwait, Mr. Sulaiman Al-Marzouq, Deputy CEO of NBK- Kuwait, as well as Mr. Emad Al-Ablani, General Manager of Group Human Resources, and Mr. Mohammed Al-Othman, General Manager of Consumer Banking Group.

NBK.. An Example to Follow

On the sidelines of the panel discussion held on the occasion of program launching , NBK Group CEO, Mr. Isam Al-Sager, stressed that sponsoring Tamakan program comes as part of the bank's commitment to its social responsibility and national duty to achieve sustainable development that mainly depends on preparing an innovative and hard-working generation that is able to take responsibility.

Al-Sager added that, as the leading private sector institution in Kuwait, NBK is always committed to show an example for other institutions in performing their national duties and responsibilities towards society and qualifying national cadres.

Al-Sager said that the bank believes that sustainable development guarantees the continued growth and profitability of the bank’s business in the future. Therefore, continuing to support the initiatives aimed at educating, training and developing the skills of the youth is a key pillar for achieving such development.

Al-Sager called on the trainees to be persistent and determined in order to achieve their future goals, noting that these goals are attainable only through dedicated efforts and hard work.

Investing in Human Capital

On her part, Ms. Shaikha Al-Bahar, NBK Group Deputy CEO emphasized that developing human capital is a key pillar to achieve sustainable growth, noting that the absence of well-qualified cadres would result in the inability to manage the country's abundant resources.

Al-Bahar pointed out that governments in general are doing their best to invest in education, but there is a big gap between labor market needs and the outputs of government education. Therefore, there is a pressing need to invest in the human capital through quality education that serves the needs of labor market, noting that the private sector is capable of creating real job opportunities, since the government sector will not be able to secure job opportunities for all fresh graduates.

Al-Bahar affirmed the need for educational outputs that meet the current requirements of the labor market, which has evolved and is looking for competent and experienced candidates in the areas of advanced technologies including artificial intelligence, robotic systems, programming, as well as digitization.

Al-Bahar invited the trainees to work hard and keep their ambitions sky high, and to be truly active contributors in the economic development of Kuwait.

Qualifying Future Leaders

On his part, Mr. Salah Al-Fulaij, CEO of NBK-Kuwait pointed out that throughout the bank's long history, training and development have always constituted the cornerstone of its successive strategies, which are based on the development of human cadres.

Al-Fulaij added that NBK organizes various activities and training programs starting with training newly hired employees to enhance their skills and help develop and qualify them to be future leaders.

The bank has the best training programs including NBK Academy that provides graduates with the best training courses developed in cooperation with leading international institutions and universities, in addition to social entrepreneurship program for young students, “Innovation Challenge” program organized by Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) which aims to develop innovative human capabilities in the private sector and foster a culture of creativity and knowledge growth, he noted.

NBK and Creative Energies

From his side, Mr. Sulaiman Al-Marzouq, Deputy CEO of NBK-Kuwait advised the trainees to have the passion to achieve the desired career development, noting that developing personal skills through persistence in knowledge acquisition is a critical factor to take the highest leading positions in the future.

Al-Marzouq emphasized that NBK promotes the creative energies of its employees, which places the bank in a leading position on the regional level, noting that the work environment in NBK is distinguished by fostering the spirit of cooperation and harmonious work among employees.
NBK considers its human capital as the key pillar for its excellence, therefore, it always strives to develop and train them being the bank’s most valuable investment, he added.

Motivating Kuwaiti Youth

Tamakan program requires full-time commitment being a full-time job experience. The program aims to develop the personal skills necessary to become compelling candidates in real life, in addition to motivating Kuwaiti youth to explore their potentials and energies, and unleashing the creativity of young cadres.

The program adopts the Blended Learning methodology, and focuses on many themes and workshops about creativity and innovation, design thinking, business model design, career exploration and innovative de-risking solutions.

Remarkable Interest

Given the great success of the program’s first edition, there was a remarkable interest to apply for the program’s second edition, as applicants reached 600 and 150 interviews were held, following which the number of trainees was increased to 40 trainees. The program also witnessed developing the methodology and design of educational material by hosting international experts and holding workshops to stimulate the creative energies of the trainees.

Development of Skills

On the sidelines of the program launch event, Sumayah Al-Jasem, the Founder of Creative Confidence expressed her pleasure with NBK’s sponsorship of Tamakan program for the second year in a row, noting that for 3 months, the program will work on qualifying the trainees and enhancing their skills to fit in the real-life job market, as it represents an innovative training experience for Kuwaiti fresh graduates who need support to face the challenges of employment or setting up their own business, by developing the required skills and experience.

Creative Confidence is a Kuwait-based consulting and training company specialized in stimulating innovation and creativity and providing hands-on training experiences for Kuwaiti fresh graduates with the aim of developing young national cadres.

Thanks to NBK

At the end of the reception ceremony, the trainees extended their thanks to National Bank of Kuwait for sponsoring the program and providing its long-standing expertise to develop their skills and qualify them for the labor market in a professional way, benefiting from the bank’s highly professional organizational approach.

It is worth mentioning that National Bank of Kuwait sponsors various social initiatives serving Kuwait National Development Plan, including empowering the youth and enhancing education, out of the bank’s belief that the youth are Kuwait’s most valuable resource, and the key pillar for the country's development.

Kuwait: NBK Launches Business Banking Plus


As part of its efforts to provide all possible support to SMEs owners, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) launched Business Banking Plus, which provides many services and solutions that help entrepreneurs grow their businesses and achieve their goals.

Business Banking Plus provides a variety of services including: dedicated experienced Business Banking relationship manager, fee discounts, Premium business concierge, preferential access for teller services, and complimentary Thahabi package to business owner, in addition to many other distinguished services provided by NBK for Business Banking Customers.

Mr. Bader Al-Mutawa, Assistant General Manager - Head of Business Banking at National Bank of Kuwait said: "Launching the new service comes as part of endeavors to provide support, advice and top-notch banking services to entrepreneurs, with whom we maintain close relationships that grow and develop as they transform their ideas into economic entities that enrich the diversity of the national economy and competition on the local and regional levels.”

SMEs entrepreneurs rely on technological solutions in which NBK excels, locally and regionally, thanks to its progress in implementing its Digital Transformation Strategy, which was reflected in providing advanced digital services and adding many improvements to existing services, basically NBK Mobile Banking," he added.

Al-Mutawa stressed that the bank strives to develop the solutions provided to entrepreneurs, in a way that contributes to enrich their banking experience and strengthen the existing partnership with them.

It is worth mentioning that during the COVID-19 pandemic, NBK was quick to take actions aimed to support SMEs and mitigate the fallout of the crisis on their business. Since the early days, it stopped charging fees on POS terminals and exempted customers from the monthly rental fees of POS terminals for 3 months. In addition, the bank did not stop communicating with entrepreneurs, despite the crisis, but rather intensified virtual meetings through different digital platforms to discuss with them integrated banking solutions available in an easy and safe way. As we gradually returned to normal life, the bank assigned 8 additional branches to serve Business Banking Customers in addition to Ahmad Al-Jaber Branch, with 5 of them tailored specifically for the benefit of our Business Banking Plus customers.

NBK Business Banking provides an array of banking products & services including: - Dedicated relationship officers, POS, Business Banking Credit Cards, electronic payroll processing, NBK Online Banking, business loans, LCs, LGs and local bill payment.

For more information about NBK Business Banking products and services, please visit nbk.com.

Kuwait: NBK Named Best Trade Finance Provider in Kuwait for 2021


National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) was named “Best Trade Finance Provider in Kuwait for 2021” in the annual survey of the reputable international finance magazine Global Finance. The rankings are based on input from industry analysts, corporate executives and technology experts worldwide.

NBK was selected as one of world’s and MENA’s best trade finance providers in Global Finance’s 21st annual survey that comprised 102 countries representing eight global regions and eight regions of the US.

Global Finance stated that the criteria for choosing the winners included transaction volume, scope of global coverage, customer service, competitive pricing and innovative technologies.

It is worth mentioning that, despite the challenging circumstances posed by the coronavirus pandemic, NBK succeeded consistently, to extend trade services, giving priority to medical supplies and food items, to various customer segments, to weather the crisis caused by the pandemic.

This reputable award comes in recognition of NBK’s leadership in providing innovative banking solutions and high-quality services that meet its customers’ needs. Meanwhile, the bank has been consistently awarded higher credit ratings amongst most major banks in the region from all the big three credit rating agencies: Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch. The bank’s ratings are supported by its strong capitalization, prudent lending policies, disciplined risk management approach, in addition to its highly experienced and stable management team.

Global Finance, founded in 1987 and headquartered in New York, is one of the most reputable magazines specialized in finance and economics. It has a circulation of 50,000 readers in 191 countries around the world, including senior corporate and financial officers responsible for making investment and strategic decisions at multinational companies and financial institutions.

The magazine conducts various annual surveys about innovation and profitability for banks and financial institutions worldwide, based on which it selects top performers on the regional and international levels.

Kuwait: NBK Announces the Winners of NBK Mobile Banking App Draw


National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) seeks to promote its customers’ reliance on the bank’s digital channels to make their transactions, and encourage them to use electronic payment solutions. In this context, the bank gives NBK Mobile Banking App users the opportunity to enter a draw and win wonderful prizes, as part of the bank’s keenness to reward its customers all year round, through a variety of campaigns, draws and prizes that are tailored to meet their needs and expectations.

NBK announced the names of the winners of smart watches: Garmin, Fitbit, and Samsung, which can be linked to NBK Credit Cards and used to make all payments, who are as follows:

  • Ahmet Salamah

  • Arwa Behbehani

  • Kawthar Mohammed

  • Hussain Ashkanani

In addition, Sarah Mustafa Sayed Ahmed Almousawi was the lucky winner of the GAC Motor car.

Participants get two chances to the draw when they sign up for NBK Mobile Banking App for the first time, and use NBK Quick Pay, or open a Term Deposit, whereas they get one chance when they use the following services in the app: transfers to local or international beneficiaries, applying for a loan or credit card, increasing credit card limit, or increasing monthly transfer limit.

On this occasion, Hala Al Shoaibi, Head of Digital Service Quality Management, National Bank of Kuwait said: “At NBK, we seek to provide the most advanced digital banking services, and increase our customers’ reliance on these channels to make all their transactions. In this regard, our strategy is seeing great success and growing interest in using our digital channels, especially NBK Mobile Banking.”

Al Shoaibi stressed that NBK is keen on rewarding customers by launching outstanding campaigns all year round, which are tailored to meet their needs and expectations; thus contributing to enrich their banking experience.

She also highlighted NBK's endeavors to promote the use of digital banking services and advanced electronic payment solutions, which the bank is continuously working to develop.

Participants in the campaign expressed their great pleasure with the advanced digital services and solutions provided on NBK Mobile Banking App that help them meet their needs and expectations in view of the rapid changes in their daily lifestyles, especially by enabling them to make all their banking transactions anywhere, 24/7.

They also emphasized their connection with the banking services provided by NBK since their childhood, when they were Zeina Account holders, as their families sought to instill in them the culture of saving at an early age, and being part of a large financial institution like NBK. As they grew up, this connection evolved into a new form, as they opened an account with their first salary, and started to use NBK Digital Channels, mainly NBK Mobile Banking App, and participate in the exceptional draws available for the bank's customers.

It is worth mentioning that over the past period, NBK added many new services and updates to the NBK Mobile Banking App, which contributed to increase customers’ satisfaction, as these updates enabled them to do all their banking quickly and easily. Among the latest services introduced in the app were Bill Splitting, and Push Notifications service that keeps customers notified of all transactions made on their accounts.

Kuwait: Registration in “TAMAKAN” training program continues


The online registration for TAMAKAN” training program for fresh Kuwaiti graduates continues through https://www.creativeconfidence.co/tamakan/  until 14th of January 2021.

For the second year in a row, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) sponsors “TAMAKAN” training program for fresh Kuwaiti graduates, as part of its strategic partnership with “Creative Confidence”.

The program will start on January 18 until 8th of April 2021. TAMAKAN is a full-time commitment program that extends for 11 weeks, 5 days a week, from 8:30pm-3:30 pm.

The program is a full-time commitment. NBK will be hosting the program and providing a real business challenge that participants will work on into the final stages of the training sessions.

Emad Ahmed Al Ablani, NBK General Manager, Group Human Resources, said: “We encourage Kuwaiti nationals who recently graduated from university and are currently unemployed, from all majors to apply”. 

“The program helps participants gain real, relevant experience and develop their skills”, Al Ablani noted. “Participants will get exposed to the latest methods and tools that helps them in designing solutions and shaping ideas in any field. After completing the program, participants can add this experience to their resume.”

As to the process of joining the program, the applicants should fill an online form needs to be and accordingly if the candidate fits the required profile, they will be contacted via email and for an interview. Following all interviews, the candidates will be notified of the results.

NBK believes in the youth of Kuwait and is very keen and committed to support youth development.  Its partnership in this program reflects the bank’s beliefs and effort in offering unique opportunities for the Kuwaiti youth.

Creative confidence is a Kuwaiti based training company that specializes in collaboration, innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship training. They will be running the program in collaboration with NBK .