Kuwait: NBK Launches Sustainable Financing Framework29.03.2022
National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) launched its Sustainable Financing Framework as it continues to build a market-leading position in sustainable development, enabling and promoting responsible business practices to help steer the economy towards long-term value creation, as well as supporting Kuwait National Adaptation Plan (NAP) addressing climate change.
The framework details the four core components of the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) and Loan Market Association (LMA) principles, namely, Use of Proceeds, Process for Project Evaluation and Selection, Management of Proceeds and Reporting.
It is also aligned with the Green Bond Principles (GBP), Social Bond Principles (SBP) and Sustainability Bond Guidelines (SBG) published in June 2021 by the International Capital Market Association (ICMA).
Under the Sustainable Financing Framework, NBK can issue three types of instruments; First: Green Financing Instruments – the proceeds of which are exclusively allocated to Green Asset Categories. Second: Social Financing Instruments – the proceeds of which are exclusively allocated to Social Asset Categories. Third: Sustainability Financing Instruments – the proceeds of which are allocated to both Green or Social Asset Categories.
S&P Global Ratings provided its opinion on the alignment of NBK’s Sustainable Financing Framework with the components of the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) and the Loan Market Association (LMA), confirming that the “Use of Proceeds” is strongly aligned with the applicable principles. Process for project evaluation and selection, Management of proceeds and reporting were also aligned with relevant principles.
Commenting on this development, Mr. Isam Al-Sager, Group Vice-Chairman and GCEO said: “The aim of establishing our sustainable financing framework is to integrate environmental and social governance standards into all our operations, in addition guides our transitions in support of a more sustainable and low carbon economy , all while supporting Kuwait’s sustainable growth enshrined in New Kuwait Vision 2035.
Emphasizing the importance of the framework, Al-Sager said that NBK’s sustainable financing framework is an important step bringing NBK closer to global capital markets, further strengthening NBK’s leading market position.
Al-Sager highlighted that NBK strives to embed ESG practices into its long-term strategies, in addition to developing approaches to assess climate change risk and integrating sustainability factors into NBK’s business plans.
He also pointed out that NBK has developed internal targets to reduce gross operational emissions by 25% by the year 2025. The Bank is also considering various technologies and R&D opportunities to expand its dependencies on renewable energy beyond 2025 with an aspiration to become net zero operationally by 2035.
Furthermore, NBK headquarters building has been designed and equipped with several environmentally- responsible aspects, “Being a certified LEED gold building, significantly improving all environmental factors that we collect, measure and report, including greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and paper and plastic recycling”, Al-Sager said.
He praised NBK’s significant progress in terms of women’s participation in the labour force, as well as female board representation both in Kuwait, and NBK’s international subsidiaries .
Additional governance measures included the restructuring of NBK Board Committees and the appointment of four independent members in the board of directors who bring with them extensive expertise in ESG practices. The Bank has also updated and published its policies to further enhance transparency, business ethics and integrity.
Al-Sager explained that NBK continues to focus on employee training and development, education, cybersecurity and data protection, in addition to the Bank’s commitment to labor and human rights practices.
NBK has expanded the scope of its sustainability disclosures and its commitment towards the principles of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) as a main framework for reporting, in addition to aligning its reporting to UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Kuwait’s National Development, and Boursa Kuwait’s voluntary sustainability disclosures.
It is worth mentioning that NBK is the first banking institution in Kuwait to issue a sustainability report highlighting the bank’s social, economic, and environmental initiatives and the implementation of corporate governance principles in accordance with the standards of Integrated Reporting (IR) Framework and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The bank’s efforts in this regard over the past years were recognized by inclusion in the FTSE4Good Index and the Refinitiv AFE Low Carbon Select Index in MENA, in which NBK ranked first among regionals banks and Kuwaiti companies in terms of the index’s weight.
Kuwait: NBK Honors its Outstanding Employees Through MVP Program for 202223.03.2023
National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has celebrated its outstanding employees in Kuwait and IBG locations for 2022, reflecting its firm belief that recognizing high achievers and appreciating their efforts is a fundamental part in its strategy focused on human capital, as it drives employees’ performance and innovation.
In this annual recognition, the bank’s executive management presented the “Most Valuable Team Players” (MVP) & “Most Collaborative Team” (MCT) Awards within each group. Through this initiative, NBK aims to increase teamwork, productivity, engagement and responsibility among employees through recognizing their efforts.
The executive management praised the efforts, dedication and commitment of the bank’s employees, who exhibited a positive and supportive attitude towards their teams and group, which is always the main driver of the bank’s success and world-class banking services provided to customers.
The purpose of these awards presented for the 6th year in a row is to recognize employees who have shown an exceptional manner by exemplifying outstanding service through his or her work and encourage them to increase teamwork and productivity in order to further bolster NBK’s leading local and regional position.
This year's awards included, for the first time, IBG branches, including Watani Wealth Management in Saudi Arabia, Geneva, London, Paris, New York, and Singapore, in addition to Bahrain, Iraq, and the UAE.
This recognition also demonstrates NBK’s focus on human capital and endeavors to fully support them, which is reflected on their performance and helps improve the quality of products and services provided to its customers.
Speaking on this, Mr. Emad Al-Ablani, GM – Group Human Resources at National Bank of Kuwait said: “This recognition, which we are keen to hold annually, demonstrates our appreciation of the crucial role played by our employees in NBK’s successive achievements locally, regionally and globally.”
“Improving services quality and introducing new products tailored to customers’ needs and satisfaction is the result of the dedication and commitment of our employees to provide the best services. Therefore, we are keen to appreciate their dedicated efforts, exemplar performance and adherence to high standards of quality and customer service that make NBK stand out from all other competitors,” he continued.
Al-Ablani mentioned that NBK is pursuing its initiatives aiming to motivate its employees in line with its belief that sustaining its long-term excellence is conditioned on having highly-qualified professional human resources.
“Our human capital is instrumental to maintaining our success, and none of our strategic goals can be achieved without their active participation and dedicated efforts to achieve those goals,” he noted.
“Our employees are our most valuable resource, and we are always keen to be closer to them and listen to them. We also seek to motivate them and appreciate their efforts and dedication, which is an integral part of a successful work environment and a sustainable performance culture,” he added.
Al-Ablani affirmed that NBK boasts a unique work environment encouraging continuous career development. To this end, it harnesses all its enormous capabilities towards developing its employees, and always seeks to unlock their creativity to go to the extra mile and achieve excellence, thus paving the way for career growth and taking on leadership positions in the future.
MVP awards offer a unique appreciation mechanism, as employees have the chance to vote for their colleagues from the same divisions/ groups as the “Most Valuable Team Player”. Those employees are rewarded by the executive management, in recognition of their efforts during a number of special celebrations held for each divisions bank-wide.
The results are based on a digital vote, in which each employee can nominate a colleague for the “Most Valuable Team Player” award, based on the following criteria: excellent teamwork spirit and engagement, efficiency, positive and supportive attitude towards their teams and group. The winning staff are awarded a certificate of recognition by top management in an event attended by executive management.
Kuwait: NBK Celebrates Outstanding Employees of 202221.03.2023
As part of its endeavors to encourage and recognize its employees, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) held its Annual Elite Awards Ceremony to honor the outstanding employees of Consumer Banking Group. This annual ceremony aims to recognize employees’ performance throughout the year and to promote them to sustain excellence and accomplishment in a way that helps bolster NBK’s leading position.
There ceremony was held at Odachi SVN and attended by the bank’s executive management headed by Mr. Isam Al-Sager, NBK Group Vice-Chairman and CEO, Mr. Salah Al-Fulaij, CEO of NBK – Kuwait, Mr. Sulaiman Al-Marzouq, Deputy CEO of NBK- Kuwait, Mr. Faisal A. Al-Hamad, Chief Executive Officer - Global Wealth Management at NBK, Mr. Mohammed Al-Othman, GM - Consumer Banking Group, and Mr. Emad Al-Ablani, GM - Group Human Resources at NBK.
During the ceremony, the executive management distributed certificates of appreciation to the CBG outstanding employees, who showed exceptional performance during the year 2022, in recognition of their efforts in providing top-notch products and services that achieved a high level of customer satisfaction.
Speaking on this, Mr. Mohammed Al-Othman, GM-Consumer Banking Group at National Bank of Kuwait said: “The Elite Awards Ceremony is one of the key events organized by NBK annually to honor our employees for their exceptional efforts and performance during the year, in line with our belief that our employees are our most valuable resource.”
“We do our utmost endeavors to develop the skills of our employees at all levels, which reflects positively on the quality of our banking products and services that are tailored to meet our customers’ needs,” he added.
“NBK has a unique work culture and environment that promotes innovation, and offer continuous career development for its employees through training programs that are on par with international standards, in cooperation with the most renowned international educational institutions,” he mentioned.
Al -Othman extended thanks and appreciation to all CBG employees praising their efforts, which are instrumental to NBK’s leadership in providing market-leading banking services in Kuwait.
Over the past year, NBK’s Consumer Banking Group succeeded in developing many top-notch banking products and services that are tailored to customers’ needs. This included launching the new experience of NBK Mobile Banking App, including comprehensive enhancements to enrich customers’ experience and better meet their banking needs in an easier way. This also included launching many of cutting-edge payment solutions, including the "Apple Pay" service, offering the highest security and privacy.
NBK continues to cement its leading position in the banking sector through the largest and ever-expanding domestic banking network in Kuwait, as well as the largest owned-ATM network.
Kuwait: NBK’s AGM Approved All BOD’s Recommendations19.03.2023
National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) held yesterday, Saturday, 18 March 2023, its Annual General Meeting (AGM) for 2022 with a quorum of 71.47%. The AGM approved the Board of Directors’ recommendation to distribute 25% cash dividend to shareholders (25 fils per share) for the second half of the financial year, bringing the total cash dividend distributions to 35% (35 fils per share). Moreover, the AGM also approved the distribution of 5% bonus shares (5 shares for every 100 shares owned).
Mr. Hammad Al-Bahar, NBK Group Chairman, delivered his speech to attendees of the AGM and reported that in 2022, NBK achieved exceptional results thanks to its geographical diversification, digital excellence, and solid financial position. “Our constant revenue growth can be attributed to those essential components and our consistent adherence to prudent policies over the years. This is evident in the exceptional quality of our assets and our strong capitalization.," Al-Bahar said.
Al-Bahar highlighted that NBK's stellar financial results were founded on the Group’s strategies built upon striking a balance between long-term investments and meeting current financial commitments, to overcome today’s challenging economic environment.
“The Board of Directors has recommended the distribution of over half of the Bank's profits for this year. This decision signifies that our commitment extends beyond generating wealth for our shareholders, and demonstrates our desire to reinvest our earnings into various sectors of the economy, maximizing the benefits for a wider range of stakeholders and positively impacting the national economy,” Al-Bahar added.
He explained that these distributions were consistent with the Group’s long standing cash distribution policies. Over the past ten years, NBK distributed KD 1.8 billion in cash dividend, in addition to KD 3.2 billion in bonus shares.
“Over the years, we have increased investments behind NBK brand and sustained our leadership among the top five banking brand names in the region,” Al-Bahar confirmed.
Al-Bahar stated that 2022 marked a transition in the Group’s sustainability journey, re-imagining its focus to proactively embed ESG across all operations. “The Group’s new ESG strategy is designed to reinforce what it means for us to be a trusted leader in this dynamic world,” Al-Bahar said.
“Our strategy focuses on promoting economic prosperity and serving as a model for sustainable development, aligned with the dynamic market conditions and our stakeholders’ expectations,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mr. Isam J. Al-Sager, NBK Group Vice Chairman and CEO, outlined in his speech that in 2022, NBK recorded the highest profits in its 70-year history, owing to strong operational and financial performance, confirming the resilience of its business model and successful strategy in promoting sustainable growth.
“This year, the Group recorded net profits of KD 509.1 million, up 40.5% year-on-year, as we continued to further solidify our financial growth trajectory, with total assets growing by 9.3% year-on-year to reach KD 36.3 billion, thanks to the accelerated growth of our credit and investment portfolios. In the meantime, we maintained the highest asset quality, keeping the Bank’s ratio of non-performing loans to gross loans at 1.42%, while the loan loss coverage ratio stood at 267%, reflecting the conservative provisioning policy of the Group, while maintaining a capital adequacy ratio of 17.4%, way above the minimum regulatory requirements,” Al-Sager said.
Al-Sager pointed out that the global economic scene in 2022 was progressively unwelcoming as economic issues began to emerge. Several shocks have hit a world economy already weakened by the COVID-19 pandemic, including a worse-than-expected slowdown in China, geopolitical tensions caused by the Ukraine war, and higher-than-expected global inflation in the developed world that reached historical highs, unabated by the tight monetary policy stance.
“Despite those challenges, the orderly implementation of NBK's strategic objectives has paved the way for consistent and long-term profitability. Our diversification strategy, balanced business model and our commitment to a disciplined approach to risk management demonstrate our ability to thrive throughout various economic cycles,” Al-Sager stated.
Al-Sager emphasized that among the Bank's most essential strategic objectives is to maintain NBK’s leadership and excellence in providing digital banking services. “We prioritize the integration of digital innovation into all of the Group's business operations to provide the latest banking solutions with utmost flexibility and efficiency,” Al-Sager explained.
Al-Sager also stated that these efforts culminated in the launch of the new and improved NBK Mobile Banking App. In the meantime, Kuwait's first digital bank, "Weyay," is attracting new customers at exceptional rates, while "SmartWealth," launched in partnership with NBK Capital, offers a variety of investment solutions.
“In 2022, NBK received 13 digital awards from Global Finance, including five regional designations, in addition to being recognised as the best Financial Innovation Lab, while Weyay received the “Outstanding Innovation in Mobile Banking” Award for 2022,” Al-Sager said.
“We continue to expand our international operations, by targeting continued growth and increasing our share in our core markets. In addition, we have made investments in our wealth management operations to facilitate growth. Our global wealth management platform offers a comprehensive range of solutions designed to achieve long-term investment goals while enriching customer experiences and growing their wealth,” Al-Sager added.
“In line with our leading role in supporting national economy, we aligned our strategic goals with Kuwait National Development Plan (KNDP) and continued to provide the required financing for mega projects. Since the launch of the government’s “Vision 2035”, NBK played a key role in advancing the development agenda, as we continued to lend our diverse expertise to support the State’s strategic directives, particularly in the area of digital transformation,” Al-Sager noted.
Al-Sager also highlighted that the Group’s strategic focus is to maintain its leadership and excellence in providing the latest digital banking services, with the Bank continuing to engrain digital innovation into all of its operations and provide the most up-to-date banking solutions to ensure unparalleled flexibility and efficiency.
“We launched our Sustainable Financing Framework and continued to disclose the environmental impact of our operations through the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), receiving a score of ‘C’, one of the highest scores in the GCC. We are also the only financial institution that submitted this disclosure in Kuwait, further solidifying our commitment to continue improving our environmental performance and accelerating our transition towards a low carbon economy and net zero emissions,” Al-Sager confirmed.
Last year, NBK announced its commitment to become carbon neutral by 2060 to support Kuwait's strategic initiative to drive environmental and socio-economic prosperity.
“Moving forward, we will continue to implement our successful business model, which focuses on maximizing value for all stakeholders. We will continue to prioritize achieving sustainable growth, making strategic investments, enhancing our contributions to the transition to a low-carbon economy, providing innovative products and services, expanding our digital capabilities, promoting equality and community development, and maintaining our leadership role in effectively contributing to the development of Kuwait’s economy,” Al-Sager concluded.
On the sidelines of the AGM, Ms. Shaikha K. Al-Bahar, NBK Deputy Group CEO highlighted that NBK's performance last year reflected the Group’s diverse business model and prudent approach to risk management, as well as the significant progress in executing its customer-centric strategy.
Al-Bahar emphasised that throughout 2022, NBK continued to build positive momentum across various business pillars, including achieving strong levels of capitalization and high credit quality, as well as strengthening the Bank's relationships with its customers, thereby increasing the volume of its operations, adding that these factors will strengthen the Group's performance going into 2023 and will create long-term added value for all shareholders.
“Throughout 2022, NBK prioritized expanding its business activities to cater to a wide range of customers while also improving the quality of its service. Moreover, the Bank placed emphasis on enhancing customers’ experiences, as it is a crucial element in helping customers achieve their financial,” Al-Bahar said.
Al-Bahar indicated that NBK's aims to maintain its commitment to providing an unparalleled banking experience while operating at maximum efficiency. To achieve this goal, the Bank plans to expand its market share by offering customers a wider range of financial alternatives and value-added services.
Al-Bahar explained that during the past year alone, NBK added over 84,000 new customers to its network in Kuwait, including its digital channels.
She also highlighted that to create added value for all stakeholders, NBK has adopted a balanced approach to increasing revenue from various sources. The Group aims to improve its profitability by maintaining its leading position in core business activities while expanding non-core business activities to enhance profitability.
Al-Bahar outlined that in 2022 the International Banking Group (IBG) delivered a robust and flexible performance, as it effectively managed to enhance its balance sheet and optimize profits while maintaining its credit portfolio and financing base diversity.
This approach, according to Al-Bahar, bodes well for NBK's future growth, since international operations and Islamic banking activities contributed significantly to the Group's net operating revenues in 2022, accounting for about 26% and 21%, respectively.
Al-Bahar highlighted that the Group continued to focus on its diversification strategy and strengthened its presence in the global markets through the development of business sectors in the core markets, with a special focus on Egypt and the GCC, stressing that going forward, IBG will focus on cross-selling opportunities to achieve group-wide synergy.
“Our Assets under Management (AUM) continue to grow consistently as a result of the good momentum of our inflows, with our primary growth market, KSA, surpassing USD 1 billion in Assets under Management since inception,” Al-Bahar stated.
Al-Bahar also indicated that NBK has invested in wealth management operations to enhance growth, stating that the global wealth management platform has evolved into a comprehensive set of wealth management solutions to achieve long-term sustainable investment goals through a strategy focused on enriching customer experiences and growing their wealth sustainably.
Al-Bahar affirmed that NBK is committed to enhancing its digital capabilities to deliver an exceptional and unparalleled banking experience to its customers. This involves offering cutting-edge financial solutions, introducing new banking services, and continuously updating the NBK Mobile App, which is regarded as one of the top banking applications in the industry. Moreover, the Bank utilizes data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning in various products and services to optimize customer engagement and provide a personalized experience that surpasses their expectations.
Al-Bahar also pointed out that NBK plans to make significant investments in cultivating its digital culture to enhance operational efficiency, elevate customer experiences, and deliver a cutting-edge digital banking experience. These factors will help maintain the Group's reputation for excellence and its competitive advantage in the dynamic FinTech landscape.
Al-Bahar highlighted that NBK launched NBK RISE—a women-led leadership initiative designed by women for women - to bring together corporate entities and female executives to elevate women in the regional and international workplace. “We have come a long way in promoting women’s empowerment and raising female labor force participation,” Al-Bahar said.
Al-Bahar also highlighted NBK’s efforts to attract and retain female talent. As a result, NBK has achieved a women participation rate of 43.6% and increased the number of women in management to 29.2%. These efforts include various initiatives and advanced training programs to support and empower women.
Following the AGM, Mr. Salah Y. Al-Fulaij, Chief Executive Officer - Kuwait, stated that the business environment in Kuwait has greatly improved as business activities have normalized and post-pandemic pent-up demand has continued to support consumer spending, in addition to higher oil prices, which have boosted business confidence and positively reflected on credit growth.
"NBK maintained its digital dominance over its peers, as evidenced by the rapid growth in NBK Mobile Banking customers, as it accounted for 64% of total NBK Mobile Banking users," Al-Fulaij said, citing the Personal Banking Services Group's success in capitalizing on the momentum of consumer spending and operations throughout the year, as well as following a strategy that takes into account offering ample choice to customers to choose from an array of products and services that suit their needs and lifestyles.
Speaking of Weyay Bank, Kuwait's first and only digital bank, Al-Fulaij noted that it successfully extended its reach to a broad population of youth, with the bank's clients tripling in 2022 compared to earlier forecasts at the time of its inception. He said that "Weyay" is a key pillar in NBK's goal to preserve its digital leadership by offering new solutions that cater to the lifestyles of the younger client base while effectively competing with growing FinTech disruptors.
Al-Fulaij explained that despite challenging market conditions, the Corporate Banking Services Group has remained committed to supporting its clients and enhancing its strategic relationships, with a focus on improving client experiences and leveraging its capabilities to deliver the best financial solutions possible. The Corporate Banking Relationship Model has proven successful in maintaining NBK’s position as Kuwait's leading corporate bank.
“The Group successfully managed to capture new business opportunities in numerous industries, particularly oil and gas, as the industry started to witness some consistent growth toward the end of 2022 on the back of higher oil prices,” Al-Fulaij noted.
“With the persistent supply chain bottlenecks and the unprecedented rise in global inflation, smart management of cash and treasury systems has become more important than ever. The Treasury Group continued to improve its technologies and infrastructure to reduce costs while providing the best services to its customers. Furthermore, the development of the Treasury Group's strong digital foundation has allowed NBK to manage liquidity more efficiently and accurately, as well as hedge against the risks of foreign exchange exposure. As a result of these efforts, the Group was crowned Kuwait's Best Bank for Treasury and Cash Management,” Al-Fulaij added.
A Role Model
The year 2022 was a milestone for CSR excellence, as NBK’s initiatives gained momentum, expanding the number of activities, their nature, and the sectors they cover. This was further reinforced by increasing the value of NBK’s investments, initiatives, and charitable donations during the year, which stood at KD 23 million, up by more than 45% year-on-year. Throughout the year, NBK launched and sponsored various CSR programs with a special focus on health care and education. Last year, NBK generously donated KD 13 million to add a new extension to NBK Children's Hospital. It also launched "Bankee" financial literacy program in schools to support the education system and improve students' academic achievement.
Al-Fulaij expressed appreciation for NBK's employees and their dedication, recognizing them as a key factor in NBK’s success. “NBK's exceptional operational and financial performance would not have been possible without the support and devotion of our highly skilled human capital, which is one of the most significant contributors to our success,” Al-Fulaij said.
The Human Resources Department has continued to establish the groundwork for a positive work environment, paving the way for employees to provide their best work, devote more effort, and increase their innovation. In 2022, the Group spent KD 1.2 million and provided 21,000 hours of training and development to its people. This is a significant increase over last year's average. Despite fierce competition for talent across all sectors of the labor market, we were able to recruit the top national talents and hired around 260 Kuwaiti employees last year.
Dominant Market Share
Al-Fulaij indicated that NBK continued to drive its labor nationalization efforts, which was highly recognized as it received “The Job Replacement and Nationalization Award”, a prestigious regional recognition by the Committee of the GCC Ministers of Social Affairs.
“Looking ahead to 2023, we aim to sustain our dominant position in corporate finance, reinforce our digital capabilities, and transfer our digital knowledge to our international branches. Strengthening our partnerships with strategic allies, particularly in the oil and gas industry, remains a priority as we strive to maintain our reputation as the preferred bank for financing public projects, and as the "house" bank for lending to KPC and its subsidiaries as we continue to maximize the benefits of infrastructure financing in Kuwait. Meanwhile, our focus on retail banking includes defending our market share through exceptional customer experiences and cutting-edge products and services,” Al-Fulaij concluded.
Kuwait: NBK Provides Multi-Currency Cash Delivery Service for Its Customers13.03.2023
Seeking to enrich its customers’ banking experience by providing the best innovative products and services, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has introduced multi-currency cash delivery service to customers’ doorsteps.
The new service is available for Private and Privilege Banking Customers around the clock all week long through concierge service provider Q’go by calling or sending whatsapp @ 1888125. The currency’s that can be provideas a part of the service are:
Speaking on this, Mohammed Akram Hashim, Head of Segments, Consumer Banking Group at National Bank of Kuwait said: “We always aim to be closer to our customers by always keeping in touch with them to identify their needs and expectations and tailor our services accordingly. This helps us offer them a comprehensive and exceptional banking experience that suits their various needs and lifestyles.”
“NBK is always keen to enrich the banking experience of Premium Banking Customers by introducing additional innovative services for their utmost luxury and convenience. This service comes as part of the wide range of services provided under Q’go Concierge including: cash delivery up to KD 10,000, airport transportation and limo service, and airport Meet & Assist in Kuwait,” he added.
Hashim noted that NBK seeks to bolster its leadership as a provider of the latest and most advanced banking products and services, as well as providing various financial solutions to Premium Banking Customers.
Over the past years, NBK was able to maintain the highest level of banking services, and is always working to provide a more innovative banking experience for its customers.
NBK provides Premium Banking Customers with an exclusive array of services, including: a dedicated relationship manager taking care of all customers’ banking needs. It also provides them with access to Premium Banking lounges, diverse investment solutions including: SmartWealth and Watani Brokerage, Premium Banking Teller Services which grants them priority in making their transactions in a quick and easy way, in addition to card home delivery service, and priority status when contacting NBK Call Center on 1801801 available 24/7.
Kuwait: Al-Bahar: Women's Empowerment and Gender Equality are Critical to Ensuring a Prosperous and Inclusive Future13.03.2023
Ms. Shaikha Al-Bahar, Deputy Group CEO of the National Bank of Kuwait, took part in a panel discussion organized in Riyadh on International Women's Day.
The "The Journey of Women to Success " panel discussion brought together influential female executives from a variety of sectors to explore the challenges and opportunities women encounter throughout their careers.
Key issues including gender equality, diversity, and inclusion, as well as women’s role in driving economic growth were also discussed during the event.
Al-Bahar addressed the pressing need of empowering women and promoting equity at the workplace as the key to success, highlighting the necessity for additional programs to further support and encourage women to pursue leadership roles.
“Without a doubt, Vision 2030 provided unprecedented support to Saudi women and promoted their leadership and empowerment. The significant economic impact of this transformative action will spread throughout the GCC and beyond Saudi’s future. As GCC citizens, We consider ourselves KSA’s partners in this forward-thinking objective for economic progress,” Al-Bahar said.
As Al-Bahar explained, empowering women in the Kingdom would lead to promising economic prospects across several booming industries since women empowerment have become a key factor in the sustained growth of the country's human capital.
She also explained that Saudi women are now at the helm of several key industries, creating history, and acting as a source of inspiration to drive Saudi’s growth and prosperity.
Al-Bahar highlighted that NBK launched NBK RISE—a women-led leadership initiative designed by women for women to bring together corporate entities and female executives to elevate women in the workforce. This unique initiative engages numerous partners, with participating companies signing an NBK RISE pledge to increase women’s representation in leadership positions.
Al-Bahar also discussed NBK’s commitment to promoting gender equality and diversity in the workplace, highlighting the Bank's numerous initiatives to support and develop female talents, including training programs, mentorship opportunities, and flexible working arrangements, thus closing the gender gap at NBK, with women's participation rate at 43.6% and women in management at 29.2%.
“NBK was recognized with a prestigious award as the “Best Bank for Diversity and Inclusion in Kuwait” from Euromoney, a testament to our dedication and continuous efforts to build our culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Al-Bahar stated.
During the panel discussion, Al-Bahar emphasized that leadership qualities are determined by individual experiences and strengths, not gender, noting that both men and women can be great leaders, as effective leadership involves key features including personality, communication skills, the ability to inspire and motivate others, and a clear vision for the future.
She highlighted that KSA is a great example of the potential of making a difference and opening new avenues for women to become successful leaders, entrepreneurs and ambassadors for positive change, adding that they represent a promising future for economic growth and the comprehensive renaissance the country is experiencing.
During the course of the discussion, Al-Bahar urged businesses to foster an open and supportive work environment that promotes diversity and gender equality by ensuring that men and women have equal access to leadership training and development programs.
She also underlined the need of diversity and inclusion training, as well as continuous efforts to raise awareness and promote equality, in combating gender-based stereotyping and discrimination that may impede women's professional advancement.
Women in power, according to Al-Bahar, have added fundamental improvements to the decision-making process since they have a greater tendency to cooperate and take a proactive approach, resulting in more comprehensive and effective decision-making processes and, ultimately, improving business outcome and corporate financial results.
“Women have an insight into comprehending the different points of view and the demands of more than half of the society, which strengthens the value of their perspective. They are also recognized for their strength, flexibility, enthusiasm in learning, and scientific curiosity, as well as their capacity to empathize with people. These are all excellent attributes in leaders," Al-Bahar explained.
To achieve this objective and guarantee a prosperous and inclusive future for all members of the society, Al-Bahar underscored the significance of empowering women and supporting gender equality.
Gender Wage Gap
Speaking of the biggest challenges facing women in the workplace, Al-Bahar said that the gender pay gap is a key barrier to women’s advancement in the corporate world. To combat this issue, businesses should undertake frequent pay reviews to identify and address any gender-based wage discrepancy to level the playing field for female employees.
“NBK takes pride in the fact that there is no gender wage gap. Furthermore, it has made considerable improvements to its female employees' compensation and benefits to achieve greater equality among its employees,” Al-Bahar concluded.
Kuwait: NBK Offers Its Customers an Exclusive Dining Experience at Ava Restaurant12.03.2023
National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) always seeks to enrich its customers’ banking experience through top-notch exclusive offers. In this context, the bank is providing an exclusive dining experience at Ava in Waldorf Astoria Kuwait located in The Avenues Mall for its Private and Privilege Banking Customers.
To enjoy the offer, customers must show their eligible Private or Privilege Debit Cards, and pay using their eligible credit cards.
The offer provides an exclusive NBK menu from Ava including starter, salad, entrée, and a drink at lucrative price.
Commenting on this, Amirah Al-Zayed, Marketing Segment Manager, Consumer Banking Group at National Bank of Kuwait said: “We seek to provide top-notch products and offers that suit the expectations of our customers from different segments, to help offer them an exceptional banking experience.”
“We are keeping close communication with our customers to identify their needs, and we strive to provide exclusive offers and services that help meet those needs and give them a more luxurious banking experience,” she added.
Al-Zayed noted: “NBK is committed to offer more luxury tailored to the lifestyle of Private and Privilege Banking Customers, leveraging our solid ties with the leading institutions across all sectors.”
NBK offers Privilege Banking Customers a wide range of outstanding banking services including a dedicated relationship manager, and top of the line credit cards. Services also feature various investment solutions such as SmartWealth, Global Banking exposure through NBK Network, Premium Concierge Service, and NBK Home Banking with cash delivery at home to customers anywhere. Moreover, NBK is the first bank in Kuwait to offer Premium Family Banking Services.
NBK Visa Credit Cards are the best payment method for the convenience they provide to customers, in addition to the various benefits like eligibility to NBK Rewards Program, NBK Miles Program, Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty, as well as giving the chance to enter NBK’s various draws.
Kuwait: NBK Platinum Sponsor of the 2nd K-Tech Career Fair 2023 Themed “With You Throughout”09.03.2023
Reflecting its belief in the importance of supporting young national talent and qualifying them for the labor market, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) provided sponsorship for the 2nd Kuwait Technical College (K-Tech) Career Fair 2023 themed “With You Throughout”.
NBK’s participation in the Fair comes as part of its consistent endeavors to nurture the Kuwaiti youth and to attract high-caliber national talent and offer them suitable job opportunities in a key sector like the banking and financial sector.
The Fair ran for two days, March 6 and 7, during which NBK’s pavilion attracted a large number of visitors from the participants, as Group Human Resources staff provided answers to all inquiries raised by the students who filled out the job applications for available vacancies. This comes in line with the bank’s keenness to encourage these graduates to joining the banking sector, which plays an instrumental role in the development of the Kuwaiti economy.
NBK sponsors this Fair as it provides a meeting point between private sector companies and potential candidates looking for a career. It also helps graduates navigate their way into the labor market and connect directly with companies and institutions to secure job opportunities.
Commenting on this, Mubarak Al-Enezi, Recruitment Manager at NBK said: “We always seek to solidify our leading role among private sector institutions in attracting, training, upskilling national talent and qualifying them as future leaders in the banking sector. We also do our utmost endeavors to build efficient young national cadres who are able to take on leadership positions in the future and promote a sustainable future for the Kuwaiti economy.”
“NBK annually sponsors many career fairs for the Kuwaiti youth to introduce to them suitable job opportunities that meet their aspirations, reflecting its constant commitment to nurture the young national talent and qualify them for the labor market. We also provide unwavering support to all career fairs that help youth and fresh graduates to find the right job,” he added.
“NBK enjoys a unique work environment culture, providing significant support as well as exceptional career development opportunities to its employees on continuous basis. This includes professional training programs aligned with the highest international standards to help develop their skills and expertise for a thriving and sustainable career,” he noted.
NBK’s recruitment strategy is based on attracting, training and developing the young national cadres through the best-in-class programs to help them build a successful career that qualifies them to taking on future leadership positions in the bank. This makes NBK the private sector employer of choice for the Kuwaiti fresh graduates as it boasts the highest national labor retention rate.
NBK’s efforts in attracting national talent go in line with its development and training plans aimed to invest in national cadres and prepare a promising banking generation. It is also keen to offer a series of training courses and professional academic programs, being one of the leading banking institutions in Kuwait in organizing training programs for the youth
Kuwait: NBK Supports “Let’s Be Aware” Campaign by Warning against Virtual Currencies08.03.2023
Pursuing its endeavors to promote financial culture and raise awareness among different segments of society, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) intensified its endeavors to support the “Let’s Be Aware” banking awareness campaign launched by the Central Bank of Kuwait, in cooperation with Kuwait Banking Association (KBA) and local banks, by raising awareness on the risks of dealing in virtual currencies.
In this context, NBK publishes content and posts on its social media pages as well as all communication channels with the aim of raising the financial culture of customers and followers of these channels, and educating them on the various fraud schemes that they may be exposed to when dealing in virtual currencies and investing in digital assets, and the consequent heavy losses that may be incurred.
These awareness materials included introduction to the nature of these currencies that are not issued by official entities and not controlled by any regulatory authority or approved by the central bank.
NBK highlighted that all virtual currencies issuers and dealers are not controlled or licensed by any regulatory authority, which makes these investments highly risky and exposes users to fraud.
NBK explained that fraudulent websites trick victims using various professional fraud techniques to steal their money, such as convincing them to invest in virtual or cryptocurrencies. The bank warned against responding to such websites, which also include fictitious or worthless shares, unlicensed financial investment activities, and investment opportunities promising exaggeratedly lucrative profits.
Therefore, NBK drew customers’ attention to the necessity of choosing their investments very carefully, paying attention to all details such as the people with whom they invest their money, as well as consulting unrelated parties like licensed brokers or financial advisors before taking the investment decision, to ensure avoiding falling victim to fraud.
It is worth mentioning that NBK makes consistent endeavors to raise awareness among its customers, being a fundamental part of its strategy. To this end, it always uses all communication channels to educate them on the necessity to keep their passwords/PINs and financial and personal information confidential, and not to reveal it to anyone impersonating the bank, including the one-time password (OTP).
NBK is a key supporter and partner in all the initiatives and campaigns of the Central Bank of Kuwait, harnessing its huge capabilities, including all its digital channels, which are the most popular among all Kuwaiti banks to increase the trust of its customers and familiarize them with their rights and the ways to protect their information, accounts and money, through regular posts and competitions.
Kuwait: Al-Mattar: “Tamakan” is a Real Investment into the Future of Kuwait28.02.2023
NBK’s strategic sponsorship, a panel discussion was held, hosting Manal Al Mattar, Head of Group Corporate Communications at NBK, who gave the participants tips on the best ways to do their jobs and build a sustainable career. She also shared with them her experience and the milestones of her professional journey at NBK, Kuwait’s leading banking institution and among the top banks across the region.
NBK’s firm strategy for supporting the youth
During the session, Al-Mattar advised the youth saying: “You have to keep learning new things every day and look for different solutions to get the job done and do not be a limited by the routine and always seek development and innovation, as learning is a non-ending process no matter how high you are in your career, in order to keep up with the rapid technological developments every day in the banking industry.”
“Every step forward in your career will make you have a better perspective for the work system, so you should always look at the picture more deeply, aside from the different points of view with the work team, and initiate ideas to develop the workflow in cooperation with team members,” she added.
Al-Mattar explained that NBK always focuses on acquiring talent, building professional cadre, and extending to them all means of support by providing training courses from day one, and the bank’s continuous motivation policy encourages employees to do their best.
“NBK has a firm commitment to support the youth and help them build their career, considering this as a real investment into the future. NBK always seeks to give youth the priority, as this guarantees building human cadre who are able to achieve a prosperous future for Kuwait,” she emphasized.
Al-Mattar called on the youth to seize the opportunity of the bank’s training initiatives offered to fresh graduates, to develop, upskill and qualify them to navigate their way into the labor market, and emerge as effective workforce to contribute to building a thriving economic future for Kuwait. She noted that “Tamakan” program comes in line with the bank’s strategy to support the youth and pave the way for them to acquire the necessary experience to improve their knowledge and broaden their understanding, which qualifies them to meet the requirements of the labor market.
My team is my second family
Al-Mattar touched on the behind-the-scenes of working with her team in Public Relations, saying: “NBK employees maintain friendly relationships and I regard my team as my second family. I give them advice and directions not orders, and enough space to do their jobs allowing innovation, creativity, development, and finding faster and more advanced solutions to execute their tasks.”
“All the successes we achieved over the past years were attainable through cooperation and the work of the whole team who always do their best to improve the work mechanism within our workplace recognized as Kuwait’s leading banking institution,”
Al-Mattar continued: “There are no barriers between our team, regardless of the different positions, as I consider myself one of the team members and I listen carefully to criticism and different opinions, and we hold discussions that enrich how all the team think, which ultimately positively reflects on the work system.”
“NBK provides exceptional opportunities for continuous career development through top-notch training programs organized in cooperation with the most prestigious international institutions, thus ensuring a sustainable career for its human capital,” she noted.
The secret to success
Al-Mattar mentioned that all NBK departments work like a beehive to serve customers, create added-value for stakeholders and shareholders, and reinforce the bank’s leading position as the top banking institution in Kuwait.
“I am always proud of working in a prestigious institution like NBK, and I thank all my team members for the efforts they have made and the success we have achieved so far in cooperation with all other departments. We also strive to do more to ensure the bank’s excellence and leadership at the local and regional levels,” she concluded.
Kuwait: NBK’s National Days Song Amasses 7 Million Views22.02.2023
National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) is keen to celebrate the National Days every year by presenting an exquisite artistic work to share citizens their celebrations of these days. This year’s song titled “From Generation to Generation, Kuwait’s Beauty is in Our Hearts”. The song is particularly significant, as it coincides with NBK’s celebration of its 70th Anniversary.
Similar to the songs presented by NBK in celebration of the National Days over the past years, this year’s song has amassed over 7 million views on NBK’s YouTube channel within the first days of publishing.
NBK’s song for this year was performed by the songstress Ahlam, in continuation of NBK’s cooperation with prominent artists over many years to present memorable songs celebrating the National Days, including Abdul-Karim Abdul-Qader, Abdullah Al-Ruwaished, Bashar Al-Shatti, Nabil Shuail, and Sulaiman Al-Qassar as well as singer Khaled Al-Mulla, lyricist Bader Bouresli and composer Ghannam Al-Dikan.
Commenting on this, Basma Khaled Al-Hassan, Advertising Manager at National Bank of Kuwait said: “Our celebration of the National Days has become an annual tradition for NBK. Every year, we aim to present a meaningful and engaging artistic work to share the Kuwaiti people their joyful celebrations.”
Al-Hassan expressed her pleasure with the massive interest to watch the song, which reflects people’s keenness to watch NBK’s new TV commercials every year, which have become memorable patriotic artistic works.
It has been the tradition of NBK to actively participate in different occasions and national days, as part of delivering on its CSR commitments. Over the years, the bank launched many initiatives related to the National Days, such as “Watani Al-Kuwait”, “Hatha Hwa lKuweiti”, “Habibityi ya Kuwait” operetta, “Al Sidra” and many other songs that are still engraved in the memory of all Kuwaitis for long years and generations.
Kuwait: NBK Launches Its New Mobile Banking App Experience Themed “Tailored for You”20.02.2023
Pursuing its endeavors to provide the latest and most advanced digital services to its customers, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) launched the new NBK Mobile Banking App, enhancing the way NBK Customers fulfill their daily banking needs in a much easier way.
The new NBK Mobile Banking App brings a new more personalized comprehensive experience that includes smart design and experience changes resulting in a host of benefits for customers; including shortcuts to popular transactions, personalization, and a redesigned holistic dashboard.
With the mobile app being NBK Customers’ personal banking companion, the new experience promises to strengthen the connection even further with upgraded features such as quick-action buttons to reach essential services easily, reordering items on the dashboard, faster "NBK Quick Pay" service, a new Rewards Center, and much more.
On this occasion, Mr. Mohammed Al-Othman, GM - Consumer Banking Group at National Bank of Kuwait said: "As part of our digital transformation strategy, the new NBK Mobile Banking App elevates our digital offerings to new heights. This milestone is crucial for NBK’s digital banking ambitions, and is a sign of things to come in our journey to empower customers through digitalization."
"We greatly focus on tailoring our digital services to fit the nature and expectations of each customer individually, as clearly reflected in the customers’ freedom to choose the design and rearrange the dashboard according to their different needs," he added.
"We put customers at the center of the design process; we listened to the feedback faced over the years and built upon that – which meant a number of experience changes were required to create something that overcame their pain-points," he explained.
"The NBK Mobile Banking App is a key part in our digital transformation strategy, as it comes on top of our digital channels, with the largest share representing almost two-thirds of our banking transactions," he noted.
Al-Othman concluded by saying: "With customers at the heart, we are excited to build upon this achievement with many new features to come to better meet all of our customers’ needs."
The NBK Mobile Banking App is now available for download on the App Store, Google Play Store, as well as Huawei App gallery.
For more information about the NBK Mobile Banking App, you can visit the bank’s website: nbk.com
Kuwait: NBK First Bank in Kuwait to Introduce SWIFT g4C Service16.02.2023
National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) always seeks to provide the best and most advanced banking services. In this context, NBK announces introducing the SWIFT g4C service for tracking incoming international payments, which enables customers to know the details of incoming transfers since origination from the sending bank outside Kuwait, through intermediary banks, until reaching NBK.
The new service enables beneficiaries to track international incoming payments for individuals, corporates, and SMEs, by inquiring about them and verify their details before they are deposited to their accounts.
The SWIFT g4C service for tracking incoming international payments will make cross-border payments quicker and easier as well as enhance their security and reduce related risks, in view of the early detection of useful information that helps in making business decisions in the event that an incoming international transfer is validated and details matched.
Customers can also utilize this service to communicate with the bank using the official channels or contacting the account officer for companies and SMEs and sending Transaction Reference to obtain all the details of their incoming payment quickly and easily.
On this occasion, Mr. Mohammed Al-Kharafi, General Manager, Head of Group Operations at National Bank of Kuwait, said: “At NBK, we always seek to provide the most advanced digital services to our customers, in line with our commitment to the continuous development of our digital agenda and our tremendous technological infrastructure gives us the edge and leadership in this regard.”
“The new service allows customers to better manage their liquidity, and helps them to make more accurate decisions regarding their financial transactions,” he noted.
“NBK always strives to be closer to its customers, so the support team will be available around the clock to assist customers in providing the required information and benefitting from this service by contacting the bank using the official channels or contacting the dedicated account officer for companies and SMEs,” Al-Kharafi added.
Commenting on launching the new service, Mr. Abdullah Al-Mutawaa, AGM- Group Operations at NBK said: “NBK puts meeting customers’ needs at the heart of its operations, investing its enormous digital capabilities to provide the best-in-class products and services with the aim of offering customers an exceptional banking experience that is on par with the latest and most advanced international levels.”
“The new service also enhances security by providing capabilities and tools to control payments, and to generate daily reports on the transactions,” he pointed out.
On his part, Mr. Onur Ozan, Head of Middle East, Turkey and Northern Africa at SWIFT said: “The SWIFT g4C service for tracking incoming international payments tracking will enhance liquidity forecasting and reconciliation for NBK’s customers, enabling them to see when a payment is on its way and when it will arrive. This opens up a realm of new opportunities for businesses to cut costs, manage risks and reduce friction.”
NBK is also the first bank to introduce the latest technologies in instant payments and transfers in Kuwait, including (SWIFT gpi) service for tracking payments on its digital channels: NBK Mobile Banking, NBK Online Banking and NBK Online Corporate Banking, enabling customers to check the status of their transfers online in quick and secure way.
Kuwait: NBK Named Best Trade Finance Provider in Kuwait for 202313.02.2023
National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) was named the Best Trade Finance Provider in Kuwait for 2023 by Global Finance. Through its annual survey that includes input from hundreds of industry analysts, corporate executives, and technological experts, Global Finance names the best trade finance providers in the world.
Mr. Waleed Jarjouhi, Head Of Financial Institutions and Trade Finance at National Bank of Kuwait - London, was presented with the award on the sidelines of the ceremony held in London, England.
Global Finance selects the winners base on a rigorous criteria including transaction volume, the scope of global coverage, customer service, competitive pricing, and innovative technologies.
NBK was recognized as one of the best banks in the world and MENA region for providing trade finance services in Global Finance's 23rd annual survey naming the best financial institutions in more than 100 countries around the world.
This distinguished award acknowledges NBK's dominating position and share of the trade finance industry, as well as its crucial role in mega deals across a wide range of vital industries, owing to its superior customer service and added value. These efforts are further supported by its vast regional and international reach and its professional and knowledgeable team.
The award also recognizes NBK's exceptional capability to maintain strong and sustainable relationships with its customers, firmly positioning the Bank to participate in some of the most important financing transactions while strengthening its leading and dominating position in the local and regional markets.
Global Finance, founded in 1987 and headquartered in New York, is one of the most reputable finance and economics magazines. It has a circulation of 50,000 readers in 193 countries worldwide, including senior corporate executives and financial officers making investment and strategic decisions at multinational companies and financial institutions.
The magazine recognizes the best international and regional banks and financial institutions based on the results of several yearly surveys that measure their creativity and profitability.
Kuwait: Al-Bahar: Women in Kuwait Have Long Been Acknowledged as Pioneers, But There is Much Progress to Be Made12.02.2023
Forbes Middle East has unveiled its annual list of the region’s Most Powerful Businesswomen – 2023. Ms. Shaikha Al-Bahar, Group Deputy CEO at National Bank of Kuwait topped the list of the most powerful businesswomen in Kuwait and ranked 4 in the Middle East for 2023, owing to her outstanding career in the banking industry and her leading role in promoting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
In a recent interview with the magazine, Shaikha Al-Bahar talked about the fundamental pillars driving NBK’s growth and detailed some of the CSR efforts she manages, as well as offering a glimpse into her successful professional path.
Commenting on NBK’s solid financial results in 2022 and her outlook on future performance, Al-Bahar said that NBK is optimistic that the positive trend will continue in its financials, driven by diversification and digitization, an improving operational environment, higher oil prices, and a lower cost of risk.
When asked about future expansions, Al-Bahar responded that NBK is present in 13 countries and has no current plans to expand geographically, adding: “Currently, the focus is on our existing markets, but we are open to any opportunity, and inorganic growth is still on the table if an opportunity having synergy with our strategy arise”.
Al-Bahar also talked about NBK’s digital transformation, saying that the Bank’s headquarters house a digital lab focused on conducting market research and scouting the global Fintech market for new ideas as well as developing its own product solutions. The Bank uses data analytics, RPA, and machine learning in its operations.
As for Kuwait Development Plan, Al-Bahar sees that “The focus was on Vision 2035, so the core of it is to have the government as regulator, policy-maker, and allow the private sector to handle operations. They are building bridges, establishing companies, creating jobs, but they have to go to the private sector to build more efficiency.”
“We learned from experience that disruption is bound to happen, so we decided to lead the change. We started from scratch and built from the ground up. We delivered the digital bank in just 12 months. We will, of course, be eager to have this digital bank contributing to the bottom line,” Al-Bahar said.
Al-Bahar also described Bankee education program saying that it gives the participants the culture of how to save rather than keep spending.
On the asset and wealth management front, Al-Bahar said: “Most banks focus on pushing clients to spending, spending, spending, and banks keep lending, lending, lending, but our Smart Wealth is giving clients the opportunity to start saving. This is really a very ambitious plan for digital banking, and we are really happy with the outcomes.”
“NBK has embedded its mobile banking options with its investment arm, Smart Wealth, which enables customers to also access investment services in-app, such as transferring funds and viewing their portfolios,” Al-Bahar added.
Al-Bahar highlighted that NBK established NBK RISE—a women-led leadership initiative designed by women for women to bring together corporate entities and female executives to elevate women in the workforce. Participant companies signed an NBK RISE Pledge to increase women’s representation in leadership positions.
“Female executives provide a greater degree of creative thinking, and companies with more female representation engage more with social causes. Companies with a greater proportion of female executives and board members have been shown to score higher at social responsibility, corporate governance, and transparency,” Al-Bahar confirmed.
“I always take things very passionately. Women in Kuwait have long been acknowledged as pioneers, it’s not just recently, but there is much progress to be made. In my opinion, the two most glaring challenges are the proportion of women in leadership roles within the financial industry and closing the gender gap, mainly in wages,” Al-Bahar noted.
A New Approach to Greatness
Forbes demonstrated the magnitude of Ms. Sheikha Al-Bahar's hard work and sacrifices throughout her professional journey. As she was building her career, Al-Bahar worked very hard with full dedications & passion, 24/7and getting herself outside her comfort zone. This helped her a lot in differentiating herself. Working for late hours. Working on one of Kuwait’s first BOT projects—she was in the office until 5 am to close the deal. Al-Bahar described working on that project, saying: “I went home, I got orange juice, I took a bath, and I went back to the office at 6:30 a.m.”
“I love to put myself under pressure; I am a workaholic,” Al-Bahar added.
“I was very curious and eager to learn. I wasn’t going to settle for a routine job. I continued to ask questions, learn, and grow, never accepting any limitations to what I could do, and this opened the sky for me,”
Describing her unique professional path, Al-Bahar said: “Each success story has its own unique twists and turns, but there are thematic necessities to success. Cultivating a positive attitude, honoring my values, and playing to my strengths have propelled my career”.
“Now I spend more time on strategy, building teams, succession planning and investing in people. This will give me time to deliver the Group’s strong aspiration of growth and not doing the nitty gritty; however meeting with groups and leaders to discuss the performance as per the plan,” Al-Bahar said, describing her main focus at this junction of her professional path.
“A career in our field is not a smooth upward trajectory. I chose to have a different approach where I had to double the work to prove myself,” Al-Bahar added.
“My dream is to be part of a non-profit organization to help the community, with a focus on education. This is really my dream. I want to be part of the change,” Al-Bahar concluded.
Kuwait: NBK Joins the United Nations Global Compact09.02.2023
National Bank of Kuwait announced that it has joined the United Nations Global Compact, the world's largest corporate initiative advancing sustainable and socially responsible business practices, as the Bank continues to lead responsible practices that drive Kuwait’s sustainable economic development.
Launched in 2000, the UN Global Compact was initiated to encourage businesses to adopt a responsible approach and align their strategies and operations with the most significant global challenges by upholding the Ten Principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment, and anti-corruption.
“Joining the United Nations Global Compact demonstrates NBK’s commitment to delivering long-term added value to all stakeholders, the society and future generations,” said Isam Al-Sager, Vice Chairman and Group CEO.
“NBK firmly believes that businesses can shape a better future. By joining the initiative, we demonstrate our commitment to responsible and sustainable business practices,” Al-Sager added.
Al-Sager emphasized that as a leading bank, NBK recognizes the importance of demonstrating responsible leadership to drive sustainable growth.
Furthermore, Al-Sager pointed out that within the UN Global Compact framework, NBK would disclose its progress in implementing the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact and engage in a dialogue with its stakeholders on topics pertaining to sustainability and responsible business practices. The Compact presents a great opportunity for companies and organizations that have a similar vision to collaborate, exchange ideas, and promote best practices in order to positively impact their societies and the environment.
"We are proud of the progress we have made in our journey to engrain the foundation of sustainability in our operations and corporate culture through numerous initiatives, including our pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 and reduce operational emissions by 25% by 2025. We also launched our Sustainable Financing Framework and continued to disclose the environmental impact of our operations through the Carbon Disclosure Project" (CDP)”.
"NBK has made substantial progress in terms of women's representation in the workforce and their participation in various boards and committees throughout the Group,” Al-Sager concluded.
Highlights of NBK’s key milestones in its journey to sustainable growth
• Committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2060.
• Joined the United Nations Global Compact.
• Set targets to reduce operational emissions by 25% by 2025.
• Launched its Sustainable Financing Framework.
• Achieved significant progress in women's participation in the workforce, as well as their representation on various boards.
• Continued to disclose the environmental impact of its operations through the CDP.
“We encourage you to visit our profile on the UN Global Compact website and learn more about our latest sustainability work. National Bank of Kuwait | UN Global Compact “
Kuwait: NBK Donates KD 1 Million to Support KRCS’ Relief of Quake-affected People in Turkey and Syria08.02.2023
Reflecting its consistent support of civil society’s endeavors to provide relief and humanitarian aid to the fraternal peoples, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) donated KD 1 million to the Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS), to support its efforts to extend urgent aid to those affected by the earthquake that has struck Turkey and Syria.
NBK’s donation will be directed to support the KRCS’ efforts to secure the urgent needs of those affected in the earthquake-stricken areas in Turkey and Syria.
The donation comes in line with NBK’s CSR commitment to supporting all humanitarian initiatives, civil society efforts and relief activities.
Following the crisis, NBK promptly contacted the KRCS to provide the necessary support for their relief efforts to alleviate the suffering of those affected in the earthquake-stricken areas.
NBK’s donation to the KRCS comes in continuation of its support of all civil society’s initiatives, inside and outside Kuwait, which reflect the civilized, humanitarian image of Kuwait, and demonstrate the spirit of human solidarity of the Kuwaiti people.
In this context, NBK praises the KRCS’ relief efforts extended to people affected by crises and disasters, and its outstanding humanitarian contributions around the world, especially in countries suffering from emergency crises requiring urgent aid, as well as areas where refugees suffer the scourge of wars and conflicts.
NBK is proud and supportive of the relentless efforts of the KRCS, being one of the oldest societies in the humanitarian and charitable field, in addition to its contributions in providing relief in many countries around the world.
It is worth mentioning that National Bank of Kuwait is a strategic partner of the Kuwait Red Crescent Society in a large number of charitable campaigns and initiatives inside Kuwait, including winter supplies campaign, annual education campaign for the most vulnerable students, as well as child-focused social welfare programs.
NBK continues collaboration with charitable societies and cooperation with many civil society players, as well as commitment to support purposeful CSR programs in the areas healthcare, childcare, in addition to social, environmental, sports and awareness, cementing its leading position as the largest CSR contributor in Kuwait.
Kuwait: NBK Opens New Branch in Al-Siddiq Area07.02.2023
Seeking to provide top-notch advanced banking services to all customers, wherever they are, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has recently opened its new branch in Al-Siddiq Area. This comes as part of the bank’s endeavors to cement its leading position in the local market through its branch network, which the largest in Kuwait both in terms of number and breadth.
The opening ceremony was attended by Mr. Ali Al-Asfar, Hawally Governor and Acting Capital Governor, Mr. Salah Al-Fulaij, CEO of NBK - Kuwait, Mr. Mohammed Al-Othman, GM - Consumer Banking Group at NBK, as well as a number of the executives of Consumer Banking Group.
The opening of the new Al-Siddiq Branch serves NBK’s strategy to be closer to its customers, meet their needs and expectations, and ensure offering them an integrated, superior banking experience throughout all the areas of Kuwait.
On this occasion, Mr. Ali Al-Mulla, AGM, Head of Domestic Branches at National Bank of Kuwait said: “NBK always seeks to offer its customers the highest service level, thanks to its broad branch, ATM/ITM network covering all areas of Kuwait. These banking networks integrate with its multiple highly advanced digital channels to make NBK always closer to its customers.”
“We are constantly seeking to enrich our customers’ banking experience by offering banking solutions and services that make all transactions faster and easier. This helps save time and effort and ensure a unique banking experience that reflects NBK’s leading position and enormous capabilities,” he added.
“NBK’s strategy to meet customers’ needs is focused on maintaining close communication with all their segments to carefully identify their needs through different digital channels, using advanced analytical methods, based on the latest artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics technologies,” he noted.
It is worth mentioning that NBK’s new branches are on par with international standards, reflecting the radical changes the bank is making to the traditional branches concept, starting with the design, interactive services and advanced banking solutions provided by the branch, to keep pace with the rapid developments in the banking industry. These changes reflect the expectations of NBK Customers with whom the bank is always in touch to know about their needs and expectations, and ensure providing the same when they visit the branches.
NBK boasts the largest domestic banking network with 67 branches covering all areas of Kuwait, as well as the largest owned ATM network including 450 onsite and offsite ATMs/CDMs.
Kuwait: NBK Provides Its Customers Exclusive Discounts on Eco-friendly Products from Eureka06.02.2023
Reflecting its consistent endeavors to provide customers with unique offers, concurrently with advancing its sustainability initiatives, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) is providing 2% discount, in addition to 10% NBK KWT Points, on customers’ purchases of eco-friendly products from Eureka, when using the NBK KWT Visa Infinite Credit Card for payment.
Customers can choose from a variety of eco-friendly appliances and gadgets for in-store shopping at Eureka using the NBK KWT Visa Infinite Credit Card.
On this occasion, Mr. Hisham Al-Nusif, Deputy General Manager of Consumer Banking Group, National Bank of Kuwait, said: “NBK strives to embed ESG standards into all its activities and businesses, including the banking products and services provided to customers, as well as the exclusive offers and rewards that are tailored to meet their needs and expectations.”
Al-Nusif stressed that NBK Consumer Banking Group plays a leading role in this regard, with its initiatives, most notably the endeavors to transform all branches to be eco-friendly.
“We constantly strive to maintain our leading position in the banking sector when it comes to adhering to our responsibilities towards society, as we place promoting sustainability as a key consideration placed at the heart of our strategy and all our products and services,” he added.
“NBK is committed to supporting the government’s agenda, especially in its endeavors to achieve net-zero emissions, in a step to promote environmental, social and economic prosperity, which comes in line with the Country’s recent pledge to become carbon neutral by 2060,” he concluded
NBK KWT Visa Infinite Credit Card combines an exclusive package of exceptional rewards with a design inspiring national pride, making it a card like no other. In addition, it gives its holders a unique lifestyle thanks to the benefits and offers it provides which are tailored to fit their needs and expectations.
It is worth mentioning that NBK plays a leading role in actively contributing to the transition to a sustainable and low-carbon economy. In this context, it recently announced transforming its branch network to be eco-friendly by installing solar panels as a supplemental source of energy in its local branches in Kuwait, which will immensely contribute to its efforts to effectively reduce carbon emissions. This initiative underscores the bank’s fast-paced strides to achieve sustainable growth enshrined in New Kuwait Vision 2035 and the National Development Plan.
NBK has gone a long way in transitioning to supporting the initiatives to combat climate change and adopting sustainability practices across all its operations by taking several initiatives aimed at reducing energy consumption, including energy optimization, auto switch off technologies, heating and cooling auto savings technologies, highly efficient (LED) fixtures, and the Tarsheed annual campaign for reduction of electricity and water consumption.
Kuwait: Faisal Al-Hamad: NBK Provides a Great Working Environment that Rates Among the Best in the World05.02.2023
As part of its ongoing support and sponsorship of "TAMAKAN" program and its strategic collaboration with Creative Confidence, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) hosted another panel discussion for the participants of the program with the Bank’s executives. Mr. Faisal Al-Hamad, CEO - Global Wealth Management at National Bank of Kuwait, participated in the latest panel discussion to share his insights.
Sharing his professional journey from college graduation to senior positions at the largest financial institution in Kuwait and one of the most renowned banks in the region, Al-Hamad gave this year's TAMAKAN participants a glimpse into his path in the corporate world by sharing his wealth of experience, perspectives, and expertise.
NBK Offers an Ideal Work Environment
“National Bank of Kuwait is one of the few financial institutions in Kuwait that has a unique and ideal work environment that is on par with the finest organizations in the world. By working closely with some of the world's most prestigious and top educational institutions, NBK provides its employees, new recruits, and recent college graduates with unparalleled access to the best training and development programs available. This method ensures that every employee has a sustainable and rewarding professional future”. Al-Hamad said.
Al-Hamad emphasized the significance of a positive work environment in terms of employee engagement, productivity, and overall performance. He discussed how corporate culture and values contribute to creating an extraordinary work environment and adopting measures that enhance professional growth possibilities.
“Employees with a relentless passion for learning, development, and knowledge, as well as a constant drive to improve their skills, are the best. "TAMAKAN" program provides an outstanding opportunity for new grads who are in need of this type of intensive practical experience, rich in challenges that they require to become powerful professionals”. Al-Hamad added.
As part of his advice, Al-Hamad pointed out that there is no limit to learning since it is a constant process that does not end at a certain position or by reaching a level of experience, adding that there are always new things that can be learned, regardless of how far along in a person's career they are and urging that, especially at the outset of their careers, people shouldn't pass up training opportunities.
Asset Management was the Steppingstone
Sharing how he started his professional journey, Al-Hamad said: “When I graduated from university in the United States, I intended to continue living and working there. However, after lengthy discussions with my father and older brother, I started working in asset management for four years; then, I earned my master’s degree. By the time I returned to Kuwait, I had seven years of professional experience, in addition to the two years I had spent working on my master's degree.
Al-Hamad further stated that he joined NBK Capital in 2007 when it was a small team of 25 people. Nonetheless, NBK corporate culture reflected on the company and provided him with enthusiasm, passion, and constant development, in addition to his relentless drive to continue learning and developing.
Al-Hamad urged the youth to prepare ahead of time for every step, from the decision to attend university to reaching the top of the organizational ladder.
According to Al-Hamad, one of the secrets to success is graduating from a reputable university since it refines the personality and adds invaluable skills such as critical thinking, arranging thoughts, and making the right decisions. He went on to say that acquiring a master's degree after years of experience is more beneficial in practice, suggesting that committed employees aspire to continually develop their skills and advance their careers without factoring in the time.
Al-Hamad revealed that working at NBK necessitates a certain set of qualities, most notably ethics, professionalism, willingness to learn, a team spirit, and maintaining work confidentiality. Another key quality is representing NBK’s values and maintaining its sterling reputation. Following those standards will always lead to continuous success.
“NBK regards its people as its most valuable asset, as a result, a key component of NBK's strategy is to invest in human capital, including providing the greatest training and educational opportunities,” Al-Hamad said.
NBK is committed to fulfilling its national duty and social responsibility goals by establishing new initiatives year-round that are centered on the youth of Kuwait. These programs include strengthening their professional abilities and promoting a culture of financial awareness so that they may save and invest their money, as well as manage their funds in line with the most effective methods and strategies,” Al-Hamad added.
My Father… My Inspiration
Talking about people who had the greatest influence on his career, Al-Hamad said: "My father deserves the most credit for the successful career I've had thus far. Most of my professional accomplishments can be traced back to him. His guidance illuminated the road to my success and played a significant role in my decision-making."
“Aside from constantly gaining experience, I also sought to learn from my experienced and skilled coworkers. I also concentrated on being patient and willing to learn. Neither the time it would take, nor the timing of my next promotion was on my mind. I knew that everything would fall into place at the perfect time; I just had to be prepared to take on the responsibilities to strengthen my managers' faith in my abilities." Al-Hamad added.
When a participant inquired about investing in digital currencies, Al-Hamad responded, "Certain investment categories, such as digital currencies, may not be appropriate for our customer base owing to the risks they entail. We do not advise clients to invest in areas where we do not have extensive expertise."
"Technical analysis is an effective instrument in a powerful and deep market full of vast data," Al-Hamad said when asked about the significance of technical analysis.
Al-Hamad explained that various investments based on solid financial foundations are safe and protected from sharp market fluctuations, citing the Covid-19 pandemic and the havoc it unleashed on the global economy as a valuable lesson in how to be effective in implementing and diversifying long-term investments to stand on solid ground capable of withstanding such crises.
He emphasized that customer satisfaction is the key to NBK’s success, as the Bank strives to build their trust, increase their savings, and provide added value to all stakeholders.
The young graduates benefited greatly from this event, as they were able to hear from the CEO of Group Wealth Management about what it's like to enter the workforce and how to advance professionally. Participants heard Al- Hamad's recommendations on how to improve their future careers.
Al-Hamad also discussed the difficulties that new graduates may encounter in their professional lives, as well as strategies for overcoming these difficulties. He emphasized the value of seeking advice from more experienced colleagues and mentors when necessary, as well as keeping an open mind and willingness to learn at all times.
Gold Nuggets of Advice
Al-Hamad shared some words of wisdom with the newly graduated college students. He emphasized the value of being an active participant in one's own development by seeking out new challenges, establishing meaningful connections with colleagues, and finding out ways to contribute. In addition, he advised the trainees on how to have a successful career by maintaining a positive outlook, working well with others, and being flexible in the face of change. Some of the most important pieces of advice Al-Hamad gave were:
• No matter how far along in your profession you are, there is always room for improvement and growth.
• Seize valuable training opportunities in the prime of your life.
• Having a strategy in place before taking any action increases the likelihood of making wise choices.
• The most significant factors in achieving one's goals are work ethics, confidentiality, and reputation.
• Don't strive to rise up the ranks too quickly, but instead focus on steadily gaining experience.
Kuwait: NBK Participates in the “Employment after Completion of Military Service” Career Fair04.02.2023
Reflecting its belief in the importance of supporting the youth and providing them with suitable job opportunities in the banking and financial sectors, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) participated in the “Employment after Completion of Military Service” Career Fair, which was organized by the National Military Service Authority of the Ministry of Defense, to help the youth who have completed their military service to start their career.
The fair was held for one day, where many agencies introduced their vacancies to the graduates from the military conscripts who enjoy responsibility, discipline, skills and high values that were instilled in them during performing their national service.
On this occasion, Mr. Emad Al-Ablani, GM – Group Human Resources at National Bank of Kuwait said: “We are pleased to participate in this important career fair, which aims to open the way for our youth who have completed their military service by providing them with the best job opportunities to start a thriving career that serves the Country in all economic fields.”
Al-Ablani indicated that the fair represents a genuine tool to enhance the participation of national talent in various work sectors and fields, in line with the strategic and comprehensive framework for the employment of Kuwaitis, as enshrined in Kuwait Vision 2035.
“As the largest financial institution in Kuwait, NBK continues to reinforce its leading position among all private sector institutions in employing national manpower, as the bank is always seeking to attract human capital, provide them with training, upskilling and qualifying them for banking work,” he added.
Al-Ablani stressed that NBK’s recruitment strategy is based on diversity and equal opportunities, attracting the best talent, training them and developing their abilities and skills with the best programs, so that they can build a successful career that will help them take leading positions within the bank in the future. This makes NBK the employer of choice in the private sector for Kuwaiti fresh graduates, in addition to being the bank with the highest retention rates for Kuwaiti employees.
“NBK does not only provide job opportunities, but also a promising career path and future, thanks to the bank's professional training resources and programs that are on par with international standards in a way that helps enhance the skills and competencies of the youth,” he explained.
NBK participates in career fairs as they serve as a meeting point between private sector companies and potential candidates looking for a career. It will also help graduates navigate their way into the labor market, in supports of the bank’s endeavors to promote the culture of working in the private sector among the Kuwaiti youth and attract high-caliber talent to the banking sector.
NBK is committed to provide training programs for young Kuwaiti fresh graduates and students, to equip them with the expertise, professional knowledge, and on-job training, as professional preparation for them to navigate the labor market, manifesting NBK’s role as one of the leading local private sector institutions in supporting the youth.
NBK’s endeavors to acquire national talent go in line with its development and training plans aimed to invest in national cadres and prepare a promising banking generation. The bank also seeks to provide a series of professional training courses and academic programs, given its leadership among all banking institutions in Kuwait in organizing training programs for the youth.
Kuwait: NBK Contributes KD 3 Million for the Development of Shuwaikh Waterfront02.02.2023
In line with the National Bank of Kuwait's commitment to driving Kuwait's sustainable economic growth, supporting the country's climate action plan, and protecting the environment, as well as implementing the Group's strategy to embed ESG practices as an integral part of all its activities and operations and maximizing the added value for all stakeholders, NBK donated KD 3 million to the Municipal Council to participate in covering the costs of the 1.7 KM Shuwaikh Waterfront Development Project. The Municipal Council is currently seeking approval from the Council of Ministers to direct the donation to the project.
Keeping sustainability at the core of all its operations, NBK recommended that the project be restructured such that the design, implementation, and materials utilized are consistent with its sustainability standards. Given the size of the project's coverage area, the design and construction phase is anticipated to last two years.
NBK continues to launch, and sponsor targeted CSR programs addressing health, childcare, social, environmental, sports, and awareness-raising aspects, devoting its leading position as the largest contributor to social responsibility in Kuwait, as it aligns its sustainable development goals with Kuwait's National Development Plan (KNDP). Last year, NBK's efforts to make its services, contributions, and initiatives sustainable, particularly those relating to the environment, society, education, and sports, were a great success.
Along its broad coastline, all the walkway's designs take into account the abundance of green spaces that dominate the terrain and cover the majority of the area, in addition to incorporating designated walking, running, and cycling sections. These extensive paths are lined with trees that provide shaded areas.
In addition to the large grassy spaces where beachgoers may have picnics, the design also takes into account the availability of several sports playgrounds and recreational areas for children. Alongside the fully serviced beach, there are also locations with wooden seats designated for sitting and relaxation.
NBK is committed to supporting Kuwait's national initiative to promote environmental and socio-economic development, in line with Kuwait's recent pledge to be carbon neutral by 2060, by making progress toward achieving its environmental goals and contributing to the country's banking sector's efforts to accelerate the transition to a carbon-free economy.
In this context, NBK envisions initiating a wide range of programs and getting access to cutting-edge technologies to enhance reliance on renewable energy.
NBK further reiterates its commitment to continuing to fulfil its role as a leading financial institution in supporting sustainable economic growth and advancing the path to a sustainable economy.
As part of its efforts to reduce carbon emissions and attain carbon neutrality by 2060, NBK aims for all project designs and materials to be environmentally friendly. All additional poles along the beach are scheduled to be outfitted with solar energy cells, eliminating the need for a power source.
To reduce the project's negative environmental impacts and position it as a model for sustainable development in Kuwait, NBK also emphasized the importance of sourcing a significant proportion of the raw materials used in the project from recycled materials and recycling the majority of the project's outputs.
NBK recently announced its plans to become carbon neutral by 2060 to support Kuwait's strategic initiative to drive environmental and socio-economic prosperity. This commitment aligns with the State of Kuwait's recent pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.
This year, CDP acknowledged NBK’s progress toward its environmental objectives in the Financial Services Sector’s Climate Change and Forests Categories. The CDP score affirms the Group’s commitment to continuously improve its environmental performance while contributing to the industry’s efforts to accelerate the transition to a net-zero economy. Furthermore, NBK launched its Sustainable Financing Framework as part of its pioneering activities that serve as a model for the financial sector in Kuwait and strengthen NBK’s dominant presence, both locally and regionally.
Kuwait: Al-Bahar: Our Solid Financial Position and Diverse Revenue Streams Enable us to Maintain Significant Earnings in 202301.02.2023
Shaikha Al-Bahar, Deputy Group CEO at National Bank of Kuwait, commented on NBK's announcement of record profits for the financial year 2022, stating that the Group had a stellar performance in the fourth quarter of 2022, capping off yet another strong year.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Al-Bahar highlighted that NBK had strengthened its balance sheet both domestically and internationally and across different business segments; corporate, retail, and Islamic, maintaining market leadership.
“We continue to focus on maintaining exceptional credit quality and capitalization ratios, thus lowering the cost of risk, and increasing profitability. Moreover, we capitalized on higher interest rates as franchise deposits played a key role in helping achieve margin expansion”, Al-Bahar said.
Discussing the Group's strategies, Al-Bahar underlined that NBK remained committed to advancing its diversification and digitization agendas while the wealth management offerings strengthened their footholds in various markets.
Catalysts of Profitability
Al-Bahar attributed the strong bottom line growth achieved in 2022 to stronger core banking income and a lower risk cost.
“The Group continued to grow its balance sheet, leverage its leading position in the market, and grow both the net interest income as well as fee income leading to total revenues growth of 12.2% year on year”, Al-Bahar confirmed.
Positivity and Optimism
Al-Bahar shared her forecast for 2023, confirming a positive outlook as several of today’s uncertainties will unfold mainly around the global macroeconomic outlook.
“Oil prices are expected to remain relatively stable around current levels leaving the GCC markets with a positive sentiment, which means stronger business volumes. Meanwhile, with the higher rate environment, our solid financial and risk positions, and the diversified revenue streams, we should also continue to see healthy bottom-line growth in 2023”. Al-Bahar noted.
Al-Bahar highlighted that the focus of the Group’s geographical footprint is to expand its presence in some key growth markets, with particular emphasis on GCC and Egypt.
“Our top priority market is Saudi Arabia, as we are approaching it on all fronts. The developments we see in the Saudi market fully align with the Group’s key strategic initiatives,” Al-Bahar stated.
“We are using our digital transformation strategy and the success we made in launching a digital bank experience in Kuwait as a foundation for regional growth and expansion, with a special focus on young demographics and retail businesses, especially in KSA and Egypt,” Al-Bahr said, adding that the Saudi market is also quite lucrative for wealth management activity and that is another cornerstone in our growth strategy.
“Under our newly launched Global Wealth Management platform, we have been active in the Saudi market, and the NBK franchise is playing an important role in our AUM growth in KSA,” Al-Bahar explained.
She also pointed out that the Group continues to focus on cross-selling in other developed markets, integrating its various offerings to maximize business opportunities and increase bottom-line contributions.
Higher Interest Rates
When asked about the higher interest rates scenario, Al-Bahar responded that NBK is a very strong franchise bank. Generally speaking, higher rates should be positive for its margins and profitability, adding that CASA or franchise deposits are not rate sensitive and accordingly allows for margin expansion.
The EGP Devaluation Challenges
Commenting on the ongoing currency weakness and its repercussions on the Group, Al-Bahar said: “Egypt is a strategic market for us, and we always referred to it as our second home market.”
She indicated that although the recent currency devaluation moves are creating short-term shocks to the economy and leading to inflationary pressures, it is a move in the right direction, adding that this devaluation move has been expected for a long period of time. That uncertainty stalled a lot of activity that could generate foreign currency, including FDIs and other capital flows.
“Now that a more flexible currency regime exists, we expect a better outlook for the foreign currency squeeze. We have already started seeing some stability in EGP movements in recent days,” Al-Bahar predicted.
“Egypt is one of our key markets, but it is quite small in the Group context. The impact on the Group’s financials is mainly reflected in lower contribution when consolidating the Egyptian subsidiary because of the devaluation. Still, it is not material because of the size of Egypt’s operations in a Group context”, Al-Bahar said.
Al-Bahar shared her view on the current political situation in Kuwait and its potential impact on the business outlook, confirming that it continues to be volatile, given the government’s recent resignation. “This situation poses some challenges to the business environment and, most importantly, to the government’s infrastructure development program,” Al-Bahar explained.
“We view this as a lost opportunity especially considering Kuwait’s solid fiscal position and the financial capacity to accelerate the country’s Capex program to upgrade its infrastructure,” Al-Bahar added.
Kuwait: Dr. Mulla Ali: NBK’s Generous Donation Gave the Go-Ahead for the New Hospital Expansion31.01.2023
National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) continues to present a role model for leading corporations in fulfilling corporate social responsibility, taking new remarkable steps in the way of its consistent contributions at all levels, especially the improvement of healthcare. In this context, the bank is making significant strides, culminated in NBK Children’s Hospital, which is preparing for opening a new building, whose cost is fully provided by NBK.
In this regard, Dr. Ali Mulla Ali, Consultant Pediatric Hematology and Oncology and Director of NBK Hospital, highlighted the latest developments in the hospital, future expansion plans, NBK’s contributions to the continuous development of the hospital, and its generous donation.
Dr. Mulla Ali said: “NBK gives a role model in delivering on CSR commitments, as clearly demonstrated in its great edifice NBK Children’s Hospital.”
“The growing need to provide healthcare for clinical cases in line with the highest medical standards, necessitated to expand the hospital. As usual, NBK, which is leading the way in fulfilling CSR commitments, especially related to healthcare, made a generous donation of KD 13 million, giving the go-ahead to start planning for the third Building (C) on an area of 8,000 sqm,” he added.
Dr. Mulla Ali reviewed all the details related to NBK Children’s Hospital as well as the services it provides, explaining that the hospital currently consists of two integrated buildings; the first Building (A) was opened 20 years ago and includes 3 wards, patient beds, and an accident and emergency unit working around the clock for patients registered in the hospital, in addition to a pharmacy, specialized labs, and a branch of the radiology department.
The second Building (B), it was built in 2017 and includes outpatient clinics, the main pharmacy, a stem cell lab, a stem cell transplant ward, and a day care clinic open 24 hours for the hospital’s patients receiving medication doses or blood transfusions and other services, in addition to administration offices.
As for the third Building (C), which is the planning and design phase, it is scheduled that all wards will be moved to it after construction, and there are other details that will be discussed later, such as the number of beds in the new building. These bed will be sufficient according to the available statistics and the expected increase in the number of new patients over the coming years, to provide all patients with high-quality healthcare, while all administrative departments will be moved later to Building (A).
The hospital includes around 68 beds for patients distributed into public rooms and private rooms for patients who need long hospitalization separately. It also includes the nursing, pharmacy, physiotherapy, medical records and medical devices departments, in addition to the administrative departments that regulate workflow such as public relations, administration, stores and hotel services.
Medical and technical staff
Dr. Mulla Ali talked about the hospital’s medical staff, noting that the hospital is considered small compared to other hospitals in Kuwait in terms of the workforce, as the number of doctors is around 34 doctors, whereas the number of the nursing staff ranges between 140 to 150 nurses, and as a specialized hospital, the working staff is sufficient to provide due care to all patients.
“NBK Children’s Hospital receives all cases of leukemia and cancerous tumors from all hospitals and areas of Kuwait, as it is the only center that receives these cases, in addition to including a stem cell transplantation center for children under the age of 16,” he explained.
Stem Cell Unit
Dr. Mulla Ali said: “The idea of the Stem Cell Unit came as a result of planning and work over many years, as the hematology and oncology unit was affiliated to the children’s department in Al-Sabah Hospital, which the former Minister of Health, Dr. Hilal Al-Sayer, separated to become a specialized department within the hospital.
After NBK’s donation, preparations began for Building (B) of NBK Hospital, allocating part of it to the stem cell unit, and a joint work team was formed from NBK, Engineering Affairs and the Ministry of Health to prepare and plan the new building until it was equipped and opened in 2017. The hematology and oncology department was completely separated from Al-Sabah Hospital technically and administratively, assigning a management team to the hospital and its affiliated technical and administrative departments until it took its final form, which is now known as NBK Specialized Children’s Hospital, Building A and Building B.
Dr. Mulla Ali reported that the stem cell unit receives all patients living in Kuwait, and has so far made transplantation operations for 33 cases since opening in October 2020.
Touching on the details of the work and services provided by the hospital, Dr. Mulla Ali said: “The role of the hospital is not limited to diagnosis, but extends to rehabilitation, especially since cancer patients need long periods of treatment which differ according to the condition of each patient, and they also need special and accurate care and treatment, as well as their families.”
Dr. Mulla Ali added: “One of the most difficult situations for doctors is when they inform the family that their child has cancer, so we prepare for such an interview carefully, where we sit with the parents and explain to them all the details of the treatment plan, because there are cases that need to be treated for months and others that require years, and other cases which require hospitalization for one or two months, then they are discharged and visit the hospital for separate treatment sessions.”
“The hospital’s nursing staff are highly experienced in dealing with children with cancer and their families. We also engage with a team from Bayt Abdullah for the Care of Children in Hospice (BACCH), and Kuwait Association for the Care of Children in Hospital (KACCH) to deal with children and their families, rehabilitate them, and inform them of future steps and how the child can be prepared to repeated medications and long periods of hospitalization, and how to spend their time, in addition to the rooms for games and entertainment facilities,” he continued.
Dr. Mulla Ali explained that NBK Hospital resulted in a reduction in the cases of treatment abroad, after patients found treatment protocols and medical care that are on par with the highest international standards, stressing that the protocols are updated periodically, and yet there may be incurable cases, which need to travel abroad for treatment.
Mulla Ali revealed that the hospital has built an advanced database including annual statistics showing the number of cases of cancer and their types, which helps in processing and expanding to accommodate future cases. The new building is being planned according to the available statistics.
Regarding the treatment protocol used, Dr. Mulla Ali stressed that NBk Children’s Hospital follows the British Protocol for Leukemia, which is updated periodically in accordance with what is in force in the United Kingdom, pointing out that the hospital’s management is committed to adhering to the highest international standards in providing medical care for the patients and their families.
He also stressed the importance of prevention and informing the public of the symptoms that require medical examinations and consultation, noting that the hospital always strives to provide the utmost caring for the patient children as well as psychological support to their families.
NBK contributes to supporting the hospital by continuing to invest in developing all its units and sponsoring all its activities that go beyond treatment services to include various activities aiming to alleviate the suffering of patients and their families.
NBK had provided a donation to establish a stem cell therapy unit for children under the age of 16, in an initiative that is the largest all over the local private sector. Throughout that period, the unit continued to provide its services for free, which contributed to strengthening the hospital’s role in the field of treating patients, applying safety standards, developing research, and providing the best international standards of care for patients and their families.
Kuwait: NBK Reports KD 509.1 Million in Net Profits for the Year 202230.01.2023
National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) released its results for the twelve months period ended December 31, 2022. The Bank recorded a net profit of KD 509.1 million (USD 1.7 billion), up 40.5% year-on-year from KD 362.2 million (USD 1.2 billion) in the corresponding period of 2021.
As of the end of December 2022, total assets grew by 9.3% year-on-year to reach KD 36.3 billion (USD 118.6 billion), whereas customer deposits surged by 10.4% to reach KD 20.2 billion (USD 65.9 billion). Meanwhile, total loans and advances stood at KD 21.0 billion (USD 68.6 billion), up by 6.5% year-on-year, while shareholders’ equity reached KD 3.4 billion (USD 11.2 billion), growing by 3.3% year-on-year.
In terms of distributions, the Board of Directors proposed a cash dividend of 25 fils per share for the second half of 2022, bringing the total cash dividends for the year to 35 fils, representing 52% of profits attributable. The Board of Directors also proposed the distribution of 5% bonus shares (5 shares for every 100 shares owned). The proposed cash dividend distribution and bonus shares are subject to approval by the Annual General Assembly, which will be scheduled during March 2023.
Earnings per share (EPS) stood at 65 fils per share at the end of the year, compared to 45 fils at the end of 2021.
Mr. Hamad Al-Bahar, Group Chairman commented on the financial results: “In a milestone year marking our seventieth anniversary, NBK reported historical results in 2022. As Kuwait’s first national bank, we established a solid foundation since inception and pioneered in promoting national economic development. NBK played a key role in empowering businesses across all sectors while also serving as an industry leader in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)”.
“We are proud to have achieved the highest annual profits in the Bank's history; driven by solid operational performance across all business segments, reflecting the soundness of our prudent strategy and solid financial position”, Al-Bahar continued.
NBK record earnings enable the bank’s efforts to support the economy, employ local talents, and boost community investments.
“Over the course of the year, new challenges emerged, including geopolitical tensions in Europe in the wake of the war in Ukraine, as well as tightened monetary policies pursued by most central banks around the world in a bid to curb high inflation, which threatens a global economic slowdown in 2023. Nonetheless, NBK rose above those challenges, thanks to its prudent risk management approach and diversification strategy” Al-Bahar highlighted.
The Board of Directors' recommendation to distribute more than half of the Bank’s profits reflects the bank’s internal capital generation capacity allowing it to maintain a lucrative dividend policy creating shareholders’ value, while preserving healthy capital buffers. Total cash dividends distributed over the past ten years reached KD 1.8 billion in addition to KD 3.2 billion worth of bonus shares (based on NBK closing share price as of 31 December 2022)" Al-Bahar explained.
"Our commitment extends beyond creating value to our shareholders. We offer cutting edge services to our customers, invest in the development of local talents, and expand our reliance on local suppliers."
Al-Bahar confirmed that 2022 was a year of responsible growth, as the Bank executed remarkable strategies that marked a turning point in its efforts to enhance ESG practices. Moreover, in the early days of 2023, NBK announced its commitment to become carbon neutral by 2060 to support Kuwait's strategic initiative to drive environmental and socio-economic prosperity and the state’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2060. As part of this commitment, the Bank has set interim goals to reduce its gross operational emissions by 25% by 2025. NBK is well-positioned to take the lead in addressing environmental concerns and climate change issues, as well as increasing its contributions to building an equitable and more diversified society.
“As we enter a new decade in NBK's journey, we remain committed to driving sustainable growth, supporting economic development, and creating the greatest possible added-value for all stakeholders; in the course of establishing the highest and best standard of banking services in Kuwait and the region." Al-Bahar concluded.
Meanwhile, Mr. Isam Al-Sager, Vice Chairman and Group CEO, said: “We are extremely pleased to report record results for 2022, given a challenging global operating environment. This stellar performance is a testament to the resilience of our business model and our ability to capture opportunities while it also reflects positively on our solid foundation that we continue to nurture to overcome challenges and drive sustainable growth.”
Al-Sager highlighted that the growth in profits is driven by stronger operational performance; with net operating income exceeding KD 1 billion, up 12.2% year on year. Furthermore, a gradual improvement in the operating environment following a return to business as usual continued to weigh positively on improving cost of risk; affirming NBK's success with its proactive risk management approach over the years.
Al-Sager also stated that the Group's international operations, as well as its Islamic subsidiary, Boubyan Bank, continue to contribute significantly to earnings growth. This asserts the diversification strategy's continued success, particularly with the Group's concentration on growth markets. In 2022, international operations accounted for approximately 26% of overall Group profits, with Islamic banking operations accounting for more than 10%.
"The Group continues to enjoy a healthy financial position, which was further strengthened in 2022 by the growth of our loan portfolio, customer deposits, and total assets, while maintaining high asset quality ratios”, Al-Sager confirmed.
"NBK was very successful in achieving a solid performance in its core banking activities, as the Bank continues to deliver tailored banking products and services to its customers, particularly digital offerings. Furthermore, the Bank was able to maintain its dominant market share in corporate banking and trade finance, as well as enhance the competitiveness of its wealth management platform, through the development of its human capital, operational model, and increasing synergies among the platform's services".
"These services and products empower the business sector and its ability to continue adding economic value, creating jobs, and advancing community development efforts, in addition to our pioneering role as the largest financier of development projects supporting the national economy”, Al-Sager added.
“Our activities and services serve all parts of society due to our dedication to meeting our social responsibilities and our emphasis on strengthening the human element, particularly young local talent, which accounted for 80% of the bank's 325 new recruits this year. The Bank will continue to focus on mentoring and developing the skills of these cadres through different training programs, specifically tailored to accelerate their learning curve. In addition to our efforts to promote school students' financial awareness through the launch of "Bankee" program, NBK Academy recently welcomed the twenty-seventh cohort of university graduates”.
“Meanwhile, we continued to enrich our customers' digital banking experience with a suite of the most innovative services and payment solutions. As the first digital bank in Kuwait, “Weyay” exceeded its customer acquisition targets within the first few months of its launch, as it caters to the financial needs and lifestyle of younger digitally savvy customers”, Al-Sager indicated.
“The year 2022 marks a turning point in our sustainability journey. To reinforce our commitment, we transformed our sustainability strategy in 2022 and launched our new ESG strategy to re-envision our focus on embedding ESG across all our operations and business. During the year, we introduced our Sustainable Financing Framework and increased our transparency by disclosing the environmental impact of our activities through CDP as part of a series of measures aimed at integrating ESG principles in all the Group’s operations. Recognizing our role at the forefront of enabling sustainable economic development, we are also committed to the transition to a low-carbon, sustainable economy and support the New Kuwait Vision 2035."
“In 2023, we will continue to build on the solid foundations we've established over the past 70 years, providing sustained growth in our revenues and investments to expand our digital capabilities, driving equitable economic development and maintaining our position as a market leader with a notable impact in promoting economic growth.” Al-Sager concluded.
Kuwait: NBK Celebrates the 7th Cohort of Graduates of “NBK High Fliers”24.01.2023
National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) celebrated the graduation of the 7th cohort of its leadership development program “NBK High Fliers” which is held in collaboration with IE Business School, Madrid.
The closing ceremony was attended by Mr. Isam Al-Sager, NBK Group Vice-Chairman and CEO, Mrs. Shaikha Al-Bahar, NBK Group Deputy CEO, Mr. Salah Al-Fulaij, CEO of NBK – Kuwait, Mr. Sulaiman Al-Marzouq, Deputy CEO of NBK- Kuwait, and Mr. Emad Al-Ablani, GM - Group Human Resources at NBK, as well as other members of the Executive Management at NBK and representatives of IE Business School, Madrid.
This cohort of the program extended over a period of 6 months and engaged International Branches staff. It covered a variety of topics including developing new and unconventional thinking, building a culture of excellence, managing change and innovation, measuring and managing performance, effective communication, high performance teamwork, customer centricity, design thinking, and effective guidance and training and many more.
The five contesting teams presented their innovative themes and solutions; and the panel, which consisted of the NBK’s Executive Management as well as the representatives of IE Business School, Madrid, selected the winning project, which will be implemented in line with NBK’s applicable terms and criteria.
On this occasion, Mr. Emad Al-Ablani, GM - Group Human Resources at National Bank of Kuwait said: “NBK continues this unique program that aims to prepare young banking leaders capable of maintaining the course of the bank’s success, reflecting our vision in placing sustainable development of human capital as a top priority.”
“NBK places the development of its people as a top priority, harnessing all its capabilities to contribute to their career progression by providing training and development programs held in partnership with globally renowned educational institutions, in order to keep pace with the key changes in the banking business,” he added.
Al-Ablani noted that NBK firmly believes that investing in human capital ensures sustainable growth of its business in the future at all levels. Therefore, the initiatives for learning, training, and upskilling the youth is a key priority placed at the heart of the bank’s strategic plans.
NBK has a unique work environment culture, in which it harnesses all capabilities to develop its employees by providing them with training and development programs in partnership with the most reputable educational institutions worldwide, in order to keep pace with the key development in the banking industry.
Founded in 1973, IE Business School, Madrid is one of the top leading business schools in the world. It is consistently recognized as one of the world’s top centers of learning by international magazines and publications including Forbes, the Economist, The Financial Times and Bloomberg.
Kuwait: NBK Celebrates With NBK KWT Visa Infinite Credit Cardholders23.01.2023
Underscoring its endeavors to be closer to its customers, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) organized a special event at Al-Waha Walkway- Mishref to celebrate the 1st anniversary of NBK KWT Visa Infinite Credit Card, which witnessed large attendance and interaction from customers.
The event featured a variety of entertainment segments including many activities, games with prizes for the winners, which were highly engaging for the audience. The event also hosted food and coffee stations.
During the event, NBK KWT Visa Infinite Credit Cardholders enjoyed participating in various games in this special entertainment day reflecting NBK’s commitment to reward its customers with the best offers and exclusive benefits.
On this occasion, Mr. Hisham Al-Nusif, Deputy General Manager of Consumer Banking Group, National Bank of Kuwait, said: “We seek to provide a comprehensive and exceptional banking experience that suits all customer segment. This comes in line with NBK’s strategy to reward customers with a variety of draws and prizes that reflect its leadership as a provider of innovative, top-notch products and services.”
“NBK KWT Visa Infinite Credit Card gives its holders a unique lifestyle thanks to the benefits and offers it provides which are tailored to fit their needs and expectations,” he added.
Al-Nusif emphasized that NBK strives to stay closer to its customers, identify their needs and actively communicate with them through all channels to monitor their changing needs and develop products services accordingly.
“NBK KWT Visa Infinite Credit Card combines an exclusive package of exceptional rewards with a design inspiring national pride, making it a card like no other,” he noted.
NBK KWT Visa Infinite Credit Card gives customers the flexibility to choose the way they want to earn rewards based on their lifestyle; either the “Spends Tier” or “Merchant Category” option. Customer can earn NBK KWT Points on all their spends made using the card when choosing the “Spends Tier” earning option, based on their monthly spends, with up to 5% on digital payments, up to 5% on international POS and up to 3% on all other spends.
When choosing the “Merchant Category”, customers can earn NBK KWT Points on all payments made using NBK KWT Visa Infinite Credit Card at the selected categories, with 10% on dining and telecom, 5% on fitness and beauty and 3% on clothing, grocery and education.
In addition, customers can enjoy 10% NBK KWT Points when using their card at Ikea, Eureka, Farfetch, and booking.com.
The earned NBK KWT Points can be redeemed through NBK Online or Mobile Banking whether as cashback directly to the card, travel booking at more than 800 airlines and 150,000 hotels, e-vouchers from over 190 merchants, or points exchange with most preferred airlines.
Customers can redeem NBK KWT Points up to KD 1,000 per month. In addition, NBK KWT Visa Infinite Credit Cardholders can earn NBK Rewards Points at over 900 participating outlets.
Kuwait: NBK Embraces Environmental Transparency by Disclosing through CDP18.01.2023
National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) today announced that it has received a score of ‘C’ from CDP, a global non-profit that runs the world’s leading environmental disclosure platform, for its Climate Change and Forests 2022 Categories. This score is consistent with our roadmap to build environmental and socio-economic resilience. NBK furthered its commitment to environmental transparency by disclosing its environmental impact through CDP. NBK initially disclosed through CDP since 2021, and in June 2022 completed its first CDP’s Climate Change and Forests questionnaires.
Disclosing data around environmental impact is now a business norm. More than 680 financial institutions with US$130 trillion in assets and 280 purchasing organizations representing US$6.4 trillion in procurement spend requested environmental data from companies through CDP. A record 18,700+ companies responded in 2022.
NBK has one of the highest score of CDP disclosures among all financial institutions in the GCC and is the only financial institution who submitted this disclosure in Kuwait.
By disclosing through CDP, National Bank of Kuwait is prepared to respond to the increasing demand for environmental transparency from financial institutions, customers, and policymakers. In its disclosure, NBK shared the results of returning to more normal working patterns as employees moved into its new LEED GOLD HQ building and used 2021 as its new environmental performance baseline, to which we will compare our improvements in the coming years. We also shared our continued long-standing practice of annually assessing and reporting our environmental performance, including our energy and water consumption, waste and resource use, and greenhouse gas GHG emissions. Moreover, NBK highlighted how climate change presents risk and opportunities for the organization by examining in detail the best role for the bank to play in supporting our environmental and societal efforts to overcome this challenge and to grow the bank in the wisest pursuit of specific opportunities. NBK’s primary role will be its financing efforts to effectively respond to this challenge and increase its focus on climate change in our risk management processes. Additionally, in its disclosure, NBK transparently covered environmental commitments as a result of its publicly available Sustainable Financing Framework. These assurances included developing internal targets to reduce our gross operational emissions by 25% by the year 2025 and NBK’s ambition to integrate critical ESG issues into the business, culture and operations, thereby advancing the transition to a sustainable and low carbon economy and contributing to achieve Kuwait’s sustainability vision.
On this occasion, Mr. Isam Al-Sager, NBK Group Vice-Chairman and CEO Group, said: “Today, we are witnessing a new milestone in embracing sustainability that we started years back by being listed among the institutions disclosing the environmental impact of their operations through CDP, the world’s leading environmental disclosure platform.”
“This listing furthers NBK’s commitment to adopting greater transparency in disclosing the environmental impact of all its operations. This comes in line with focusing on embedding ESG standards into all its activities and reinforcing its contribution to supporting the transition towards a sustainable, low-carbon economy,” he indicated.
Al-Sager added: “Our listing in the CDP, coupled with the recent launch of our Sustainable Financing Framework, will further strengthen NBK’s accessibility to global capital markets, where it is already highly trusted and respected.”
“We are adamant to continue progressing towards advancing sustainable finance and responsible banking practices at the core of our operations and currently exploring technologies to support our aspiration to become net zero operationally by 2035,” Al-Sager continued.
“We continue to be committed to playing a responsible role in supporting global efforts to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate climate change risks. To this end, we have set specific measurable and reportable targets, in line with our endeavors to integrate climate-related considerations in our future business model,” he noted.
On his part, Dexter Galvin, Global Director of Corporations and Supply Chains at CDP, commented, “Another year of extreme weather, including floods, droughts and record temperatures, has shown us that climate change is already posing a real and increasing risk to companies and their supply chains. Companies have a fundamental role to play in securing a sustainable net-zero, deforestation-free and water-secure world. It is only through measuring their environmental impact, risks and opportunities that they can manage them and prepare for the future. By disclosing through CDP, National Bank of Kuwait has taken a vital first step. I look forward to their continued dedication to transparency and action for the benefit of all people and the planet.”
It is worth mentioning that National Bank of Kuwait is one of the leading financial institutions in the region in terms of embracing sustainability practices, with major contributions appreciated by international institutions. This includes receiving the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certificate for its new Headquarters, recognizing the improvement achieved in all measured and reported environmental metrics including reducing GHG emissions, and increasing recycled paper and plastic. NBK was also listed on Refinitiv AFE Low Carbon Select Index in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Furthermore, National Bank of Kuwait is the largest financial institution in Kuwait and has actual predominance in the commercial banking sector. The bank enjoys one of the highest credit ratings among all banks in the region, collectively from global rating agencies: Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch.
CDP is a global non-profit that runs the world’s environmental disclosure system for companies, cities, states and regions. Founded in 2000 and working with more than 680 financial institutions with over $130 trillion in assets, CDP pioneered using capital markets and corporate procurement to motivate companies to disclose their environmental impacts, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard water resources and protect forests. Nearly 20,000 organizations around the world disclosed data through CDP in 2022, including more than 18,700 companies worth half of global market capitalization, and over 1,100 cities, states and regions.
The full list of companies disclosing through CDP can be accessed here:
Kuwait: NBK Introduces New Designs for All Its Cards12.01.2023
NBK is always keen to extend its commitment in providing customers with solutions that meets their needs and preferences. In this context, the bank is working on the redesign of its cards design based on extensive yearlong customer research.
NBK has embedded the Japanese concept of poka-yoke (fool-proofing) to card design, with design themes provide clear differentiation between Credit, Debit and Prepaid cards.
As part of social responsibility, the bank is introducing many new features especially designed for visually impaired.
Customers can distinguish the card they want to use even in the dark, customers with special needs will be able to distinguish the card by touch and feel through a special card feature.
In addition, customers will be able to choose and pull the card they want to use out of the wallet without the need for the card to be fully visible, through a special feature. Ergonomically designed for ease of use on ATM, POS, and e-wallet, the customer will not enter the card in a wrong way on the ATM anymore. The new cards also include better security features to prevent card fraud.
The bank also carried out a semiotic research on the card color preference to identify color schemes as per customer life styles. This new design will help customers choose the card they want to use and reduce mistakes which makes customers satisfied and reduce complaints.
On this occasion, Mr. Mohamed Al-Othman, GM - Consumer Banking Group at National Bank of Kuwait said: “The redesign of the cards with new colors and features aims to meet customers’ needs, the new card design is based on research on customers preference, as we always work on providing customers with the best products and services.”
The new design also demonstrates NBK’s responsibility towards all segments of society, as Al-Othman commented: “In NBK, we always dedicated services and features for special needs customers whom we always think about tailor services and products to meet their needs. Today we wanted to give the visually impaired customers the easiness and accessibility of differentiating the cards they want to use, underscoring our unwavering social responsibility commitments.”
“The new card design is based on extensive research on customers’ preference and within the constant communication with them in line with NBK’s keenness to be always closer to its customers,” he noted.
“As NBK is always pioneering the introduction of all-new banking solutions in the market, we are setting new designs standards for card in Kuwait. The new design comes with many new enhancement and features that will make selecting the card to use much easier for customers,” he added.
On his part, Majed Ghorbal, Head of Insight at National Bank of Kuwait said: “The voice of our customers was injected at the different stages of the design of the new cards. In fact, extensive researches were conducted by NBK Research Team using advanced research techniques in order to understand each segment’s needs and preferences in terms of card’s features, colors, look and feel.”
“In total, more than 1,000 customers participated to the Qualitative Research that took place prior to the design phase and to the User Testing that was conducted once the design options were ready. Therefore, we are strongly confident that the final design is fully in line with our customers inclinations,” he mentioned.
Kuwait: NBK Concludes Its Participation in the Largest Private Sector Career Fair in Kuwait08.01.2023
National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) concluded its participation in the Watheefti Career Fair, the largest career fair organized by the private sector in Kuwait, which was held over 3 days from 5 to 7 January 2023 at The Arena - 360 Mall.
This participation underscores NBK’s consistent commitment to support young national cadres and its endeavors to acquire high-caliber Kuwaiti talent in the banking sector.
The Watheefti Career Fair organized by Kuwait Zones aimed to provide a meeting point between private sector companies and potential candidates looking for a career. It will also help graduates navigate their way into the labor market and connect directly with companies and institutions to secure job opportunities.
NBK’s booth at the Fair witnessed a noticeable turnout from the visitors, as Group Human Resources staff responded to all inquiries raised by the visitors who filled out the job applications for available vacancies. This comes in line with the bank’s endeavors to encourage those graduates to join the banking sector, which plays an instrumental role in developing the Kuwaiti economy.
On this occasion, Mr. Emad Al-Ablani, GM – Group Human Resources at National Bank of Kuwait said: “We are pleased with our participation in this fair, which reflects NBK’s keenness to be an active participant in the different professional and career fairs. By this, we seek to promote sustainability, especially in terms of social responsibility, by increasing the job nationalization “Kuwaitization” in the banking sector.”
“Reflecting its role as one of the biggest supporters of young national talent and qualifying them for the labor market, NBK provides educational and awareness services during career fairs to help the youth looking for job opportunities in the private sector make the right decision about their career,” Al-Ablani noted.
“NBK firmly believes that talent acquisition and retention is one of the key drivers of achieving responsible growth, starting from our approach to hiring new recruits, to the many ways through which we support their professional development and career growth,” he added.
Al-Ablani explained that NBK not only provides job opportunities in the largest financial institution in Kuwait and the region, but also promising career path and prospects, thanks to its world-class professional training resources and programs, which help upskill the youth and increase their efficiency.
“NBK follows a unique approach to ensure equal opportunities, by offering equal opportunities to all employees, with no exception, to keep them dedicated and motivated to innovate. We are also committed to provide job opportunities to special needs nationals, regarding this as part of our national duties and social responsibility, as workforce diversity gives a special edge to NBK’s business spanning 4 continents and 15 countries worldwide,” he emphasized.
It is worth mentioning that during 2022, NBK hired 369 new recruits, 80% of them are Kuwaitis, making up 75.2% of total workforce by end of Q3 2022.
Recognizing its efforts in this regard, NBK was awarded “The Job Replacement and Nationalization Award” on GCC level by the Committee of the GCC Ministers of Social Affairs of GCC Countries.
On this occasion, Gadeer Al-Kooheji, Talent Acquisition Manager - Group Human Resources at National Bank of Kuwait said: “NBK’s constant participation and presence at the different annual professional and career fairs organized by many entities reflects its strategy to promote sustainability practices, especially in the CSR area. This also aligns with serving the goals of the New Kuwait Vision 2035, increasing national labor ratio in the banking sector and supporting the national economy. ”
“NBK regards career fairs as important platforms to select and acquire national talent, while, at the same time, offering fresh graduates an opportunity to explore the job and training opportunities available at the bank. In addition, this supports the bank’s endeavors to promote the culture of private sector employment among the Kuwaiti youth, and acquire well-qualified candidates to join the banking sector. ” she noted.
NBK’s recruitment strategy is based on acquiring, training and developing the young national cadres through the best-in-class programs to help them build a successful career that qualifies them to taking on future leadership positions in the bank. This makes NBK the private sector employer of choice for the Kuwaiti fresh graduates as it boasts the highest Kuwaiti employee retention rate.
The bank’s endeavors to acquire national talent go in line with its development and training plans to invest in national cadres and prepare a promising banking generation. The bank also offers a wide range of training courses and professional academic programs, being one of the leading banking institutions in Kuwait in organizing training programs for the youth.
Kuwait: NBK Organizes a Lecture Titled “Conditions for Success” for Its Employees04.01.2023
National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) makes consistent endeavors to increase employees’ efficiency through the best-in-class training and development programs and workshops to keep pace with the latest changes in the banking industry. In this context, the bank organized a lecture titled “Conditions for Success” by Professor Mark Fritz, the prominent leadership speaker, author and international consultant on personal and leadership effectiveness, and professor at IE University - Business School Madrid.
The lecture, which was attended by 50 managers from different groups and departments across the bank, discussed ways to manage long-term success and enable work teams to make greater achievement on their own.
The lecture aimed to define the conditions for success for managers and companies at various job levels by adopting a set of important factors including: Clarity, Business Judgment by trusting judgment to keep delegating decisions, as well as Influencing Skills through more effective cooperation among team members.
The lecture shed light on the conditions for a successful teamwork environment, as well as the cooperation skills that are the main characteristics that successful managers look for in their employees.
Commenting on this intervention, Najla Al-Sager, Head of Talent Management, Group Human Resources at National Bank of Kuwait, said: “NBK believes that leaders are the critical factor to create the environment and culture we strive for, a culture that allows our employees to unlock their full potential and thrive.”
“The Talent Management Department’s offerings are constantly evolving, by introducing new educational opportunities that promote an open work culture. This includes an offering designed to empower leaders to create an environment driving employees’ innovation and creativity,” Al-Sager added.
“NBK provides the training programs and the essentials required for future leaders to be able to adapt, as well as stimulate and empower others, and be decisive in the times of uncertainty,” she mentioned.
Al-Sager noted that managers development programs have always been a key focus for NBK, stemming from a consistent vision of how we understand leadership and what we expect from leaders. It also reflects the unique needs of leaders and is supported by rigorous scientific research to identify the knowledge and skills that form the core of effective and comprehensive leadership to meet staff training needs.
It is worth mentioning that organizing such events comes in line with NBK’s commitment towards the continuous development of its employees. The bank regards training and development as valuable essential investments for the mutual benefit of employees and the bank, which are ultimately translated into better customer service.