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Kuwait: NBK Celebrates Graduates of its Leadership Development Program, Held in Partnership with Harvard Business School

03.02.2019

The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) celebrated the graduation of participants in its “Leading the Execution of a Strategy in Financial Services” program that was held in partnership with the Harvard Business School and the Institute of Banking Studies. Having taken place between January 26 and 31, 2019, the program was attended by 12 managers of various departments in NBK.

The graduation was attended by Mr. Isam J. Al-Sager, Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Yousef J. Al-Obaid, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait, Mr. Emad Al-Ablani General Manager of Group Human Resources and Dr. Yaqoub Al-Rifai, Director General of the Institute of Banking Studies.

Ensuring the program covered the latest studies and advancements made in the banking and financial sector, Harvard Business School focused on providing a series of real-life situations and interactive activities that aimed at improving the participants’ problem-solving and analytical skills. Participants received a degree from the Harvard Business School at the end of the program.

The program was designed specifically for executive managers of divisions at NBK, and adopts the high educational standards of the Harvard Business School and is based on practical case studies that the School is renowned for.

The program is also one of the development initiatives organized by the Institute of Banking Studies. The principal objective of these initiatives is to develop professionals and executive manager in Kuwaiti banks.

The first of these programs was held in 2010 and participation was limited to the Central Bank of Kuwait and Kuwaiti banks that are members of the Institute. The success of these programs expanded the reach in 2011 to include the GCC countries.

NBK has the largest participation in the program this year. The program is held annually, each year in a GCC country, with Kuwait the most recent one which was attended by manager at the Central Bank of Kuwait, Kuwaiti banks, and other Gulf banks and financial institutions.

Harvard Business School is one of the oldest and most prestigious American universities in the world. The School has graduated leading figures in the American and world’s business community since 1636 and ranks first among the top 100 universities in the world.

NBK is committed to the professional development of its employees and enrolls them in development programs held in partnership with leading international universities and institutions. The Bank also supports and encourages employees to seek self-development through training programs and continued education.



Kuwait: NBK implement a Collective Executive Development Program with INSEAD

21.02.2019

The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) partnered with one of the leading international business schools, INSEAD, in an intensive training program specifically designed for the Bank’s executive management team.

Since the banking industry worldwide is facing significant challenges.  Digital disruption and FinTechs challenge existing banking models. Digital has fundamentally changed our lives. Adapting to the ongoing digitization of the economy, and of society in general, is arguably the most challenging transformation every business is currently facing. Due to competition from local and regional players, strategies are reassessed in various parts of the world (GCC, ASEAN, LATAM, EU).

In this turbulent world, there is an imperative need to assess the situation, to identify key-strategic actions, and to further develop senior banking executives in terms of organizational and personal skills related to related to digital strategy, customer-centric strategies, leadership, strategy execution and management of change.

National Bank of Kuwait - INSEAD program - Creating Value in a Fast Changing Banking World has two main objectives.  First, a discussion of the fast changing banking world, including digital disruption with identification by NBK senior executives of key-strategic actions to undertake. Second, the further development of senior NBK executives to lead the strategy execution and changes, both in terms of personal and organizational skills

During the program, Mr. Isam J. Al-Sager, Group Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Shaikha K. Al-Bahar, Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer and Mr. Salah Y. Al-Fulaij, Chief Executive Officer – Kuwait visited the participants.

Mr. Emad Al-Ablani, said, “This program adds new value in the changing banking industry as it provides essential training led by a prestigious educational institution, INSEAD. The program aims to highlight the challenges facing our industry in a digital transformation era and comes in line with our strategy at NBK to ensure our human capital is well equipped to deliver efficient solutions in our digital transformation journey.”

Mr. Al Ablani added that NBK is proud to provide the best training opportunities for the employees and the executive managers in cooperation with the world's leading institutions and universities, enabling them to acquire new skills and knowledge at par with their global peers.

Mr. Al-Ablani also mentioned: “NBK provides a unique environment for training and developing employees to enhance their skills, foster a culture of self-development and recognize their career growth on the long term.”

INSEAD is one of the world's leading and largest graduate business schools, It offers participants a truly global educational experience. With campuses in Europe (France), Asia (Singapore) and Middle East (Abu Dhabi), In addition, more than 11,000 executives participate in INSEAD's executive education programs each year.



Kuwait: NBK Sponsors Second Annual “ECOH” Conference on Blockchain Technology

20.02.2019

National Bank of Kuwait sponsored the second annual “ECOH” Conference which held discussions about the Blockchain technology and focused on the significance of this emerging technology and its growing use in business sectors.

Organized by East Chain Co., the Conference took place from the 30th to the 31st of January, and hosted professionals and entrepreneurs from around the world. Discussions explored the opportunities and possibilities that are presented by the technology and aimed to educate participants about its latest advancements and challenges. The Business Banking unit at NBK extended an invitation to its customers to take part in the panel discussions.

The Business Banking team was present at the Conference to respond to customers’ queries as part of the Bank’s commitment to supporting small and medium enterprises and Kuwaiti entrepreneurs.

The ECOH Conference also shed light on the Blockchain technology’s ecosystem and how it supports and reimagines financial services. The discussions also tapped into the regulatory framework that is required to help companies prepare to take advantage of the technology.

Speaking of NBK’s participation at the Conference, Mohammed Akram Hashim, Head of Segments, Consumer Banking Group, National Bank of Kuwait, said: “We are delighted to be the sponsor of the second “ECOH” Conference, supporting its goals of raising awareness about Blockchain technology and how it complements various business sectors.

NBK was the first bank in Kuwait to launch the cross-border remittance service using the Ripple solution on the Blockchain technology.”

Hashim added:” Launching NBK Direct Remit Service using RippleNet was a significant achievement as it enabled our customers to make money transfers within seconds, easily and at their convenience anytime of the day. It comes as part of our commitment to responding to the needs of our customers wherever they are around the world.”

Hashim affirmed that NBK ensures its services adopt the latest technological advancements made in the banking sector to provide its customers with convenient and fast services that increase their trust and maintain the highest levels of security and safety.

NBK is committed to supporting conferences, events and knowledge sharing sessions that contribute to increasing awareness about new innovations in the banking sector, thus providing customers access to a superior banking experience.



Kuwait: Global Finance awarded NBK “Best Private Banking Services” in Kuwait

17.02.2019

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has been awarded the “Best Private Banking Services for 2019” in Kuwait for the fifth consecutive year.

Founded in 1987 and headquartered in New York City, Global Finance is one of the leading financial magazines with a mission to publish specialized economic reports and analysis. Its monthly circulation exceeds 50,000 in over 188 countries around the world.

Global Finance’s editorial review board relies on input from industry analysts, corporate executives and technology experts, in addition to entry submissions provided by nominated banks as well as a series of independent research based on measurable indicators and criteria for assessing banks’ performance.

The nominated banks for this year were assessed for their private banking services extended over the period from July 2017 until June 2018.

 “Awarding NBK the title of "Best Private Banking Services" in Kuwait for the fifth consecutive year reflects the constant confidence the customers vest in NBK and their appreciation of the superb quality of its services and products, as well as its ability to rise above all challenges” said Malek Khalife, Deputy CEO – Head of Global Private Banking.

He added: “The excellent, strong and durable relationships NBK has always maintained with its high net-worth customers enabled the bank to assume a unique and leading position in the field of wealth management and private banking on both local and regional markets.

NBK also succeeded in maintaining the highest service quality standards while consistently endeavoring to provide the most innovative spectrum of investment and wealth management products and solutions to satisfy the increasingly changing needs of customers.”

“Thanks to its largest local and international network strategically located in the major world financial centers, NBK has always maintained a dominant and advanced position to provide the best banking and investment solutions that covers a wide range of international markets, taking into consideration the specific profile of each and every customer,” noted Khalife.

“I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to both the trust of NBK clients as well as the invaluable efforts of the Private Banking team at NBK that enabled the bank to win such a prestigious title for the fifth consecutive year,” said Khalife

Global Finance “Best Private Banking Services Award” recognizes private banks that provide excellent services and products to meet high net worth investors’ individual needs through providing tailored products and services to help them maintain and grow their wealth.

For more information relating to the prizes awarded by Global Finance, please visit their website at http://www.gfmag.com/
 



Kuwait: NBK Awarded “Top 10 GCC Businesses Award” by SCCI

11.02.2019

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) National Bank of Kuwait was awarded “Top 10 GCC Businesses Award” by Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI). The award is in recognition of the bank’s efforts, vital role and positive contributions in promoting the private sector investments in the GCC.

NBK – UAE General Manager, Tareq Al-Mudhaf received the award at a ceremony held at the Sharjah Expo Center. The event was attended by a number of dignitaries and members of the diplomatic corps as well as directors of government institutions and private companies.

Launched in 2002, Sharjah Economic Excellence Network Award consists of seven different categories and is based on the model of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM), a comprehensive management model employed by more than 30,000 establishments around the world. Participants are required to submit a comprehensive management framework to be nominated for the award.

The Top 10 GCC Businesses Award is open for the nomination of major private companies based on the number of employees. The award is offered to establishments with the most contributions to support GCC companies in recognition of their efforts to enhance corporate performance and promote business growth.

Receiving such a prestigious award is a testimony to the successful implementation of NBK's strategy aimed at diversifying its business, which extends to its product and service offering and its reach into existing geographies.

In line with  NBK's efforts to develop its regional corporate banking activities, especially within the GCC region, it has recently launched Al Watani Wealth Management Company in Saudi Arabia, which is a key millstone to  strengthen the bank’s leadership position in the region and deliver maximum  added value to its customers through offering  unique banking services and products.

NBK set up in the UAE by opening its first branch in Dubai in 2008 to capture Kuwaiti linkages and service Group relationships locally. The branch offers full commercial banking services across a broad spectrum of areas including trade, contractor, corporate, retail and treasury.

For more information on the Sharjah Economic Excellence Award granted by Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), please refer to their website at: http://www.sharjah.gov.ae/Common/OurServicesMenu?MenuId=10105



Bahrain: NBK-Bahrain reports net profits of BHD 118 million (equivalent to KWD 95.2 million) for 2018, up 26% y-o-y

10.02.2019

National Bank of Kuwait-Bahrain (NBK Bahrain), , reported net profits of BHD 118 million(equivalent to KWD 95.2 million) for the year 2018 compared with BHD  93.5 million(equivalent to KWD 75.3 million) in 2017, a growth of 26% year-on-year.

As of end of 2018, NBK-Bahrain’s total assets increased by 9% y-o-y to BHD 6.3 billion, compared with BHD 5.8 billion in 2017. While total shareholders’ equity increased by 14% y-o-y to BHD 683.3 million.

Customer deposits increased by 7% y-o-y to BHD 3.2 billion
Isam Al-Sager, NBK Group Chief Executive Officer said “The Bank’s strong results affirm the success of NBK Group’s regional expansion strategy that is built on a culture of prudence and strict risk management practices.”
Al-Sager pointed out that the strength of NBK-Bahrain’s profits stems primarily from being operationally.

Al-Sager added: “the strong growth achieved by NBK-Bahrain is a testament to the success of its vision aimed at affirming its position in the Bahraini market, which is one of the main growth markets for NBK Group, given its promising growth opportunities and positive prospects”.

 “Our diversification extends to the product and service offering, growth in existing geographies, our approach to new business opportunities, and our commitment to a digital transformation that will position the Bank for future growth.” Al-Sager added

Ali Fardan, NBK-Bahrain General Manager, said “This strong performance reflects our conservative management as we have consistently focused on our core business and ways to diversify sources of income. We continue to grow our operations locally by developing new products to serve our customers benefiting from the support of NBK Group.”

NBK has been present in Bahrain since 1977 and enjoys strong and historical relationships with the major Bahraini and international companies. Al Fardan added.

NBK continues to enjoy collectively one of the highest ratings among all banks in the Middle East from the three international rating agencies Moody’s, Fitch Ratings and Standard and Poor’s.

The Bank’s ratings are supported by its high capitalization, prudent lending policies, and its disciplined approach to risk management, in addition to its highly recognized and very stable management team.

NBK was also named among Global Finance’s list of the 50 safest banks in the world for the twelve consecutive times and was awarded as the Best Bank in Kuwait in 2017 by the Banker, Euromoney and Global Finance.
NBK enjoys the widest banking presence with a local and international network reaching 4 continents. NBK’s international presence spans many of the world’s leading financial centers including New York, Europe, GCC, Middle East, Singapore as well as China (Shanghai).
 



Kuwait: NBK Engages Customers in Latest Digital Services at Ongoing Activation held at The Avenues

07.02.2019

As part of its ongoing investments in providing advanced and safe technologies and services, the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) is engaging with customers in an activation held at The Avenues Phase 2 until Saturday, February 9, during which the Bank focuses on presenting the latest digital banking services it has designed to serve the various needs of its customers.

First launched on Wednesday, February 6, in the presence of members of the press and NBK’s management, the ongoing activation provides customers with a live presentation of the services that benefit their lifestyles. A draw will be held on Saturday for customers of NBK who took part of the activation for a chance to win one of two smartwatches.

 

Speaking of the activation and the services of the Bank, Mohammed Al Othman, General Manager of the Consumer Banking Group, said: “NBK is committed to offering technologically-advanced services that are safe for our customers. These services are constantly introduced and updated on the NBK Mobile Banking App aimed at providing convenient and secure services that enable customers to complete their banking transactions quickly and easily without the need to visit their nearest branch or during their travels.”

 

Al Othman added: “We wanted to present these services on a one-to-one basis to allow customers to test these services and be familiarized with them. Of course, we took the opportunity to also reward our customers, giving them the chance to win a smartwatch by visiting our booth until Saturday, February 9, where they can inquire about how to enter the draw. 

 

Al Othman further expanded on the services saying: “We gave customers an introduction to new services and enhancements made to our NBK Mobile Banking App, ATMs and CDMs. Customers can take advantage of services such as cardless withdrawals thanks to the NBK Tap & Pay Debit Card or any other card that provides the feature, all to ensure an easy and enjoyable banking experience.”

 

One of the enhancements is the NBK Swift Tracking service through which customers can track their money transfers conveniently anytime, anywhere by simply logging in to the NBK Mobile Banking App and clicking on the account statement history to view the status of their transfer.

 

NBK also launched the standing orders service through the NBK Mobile Banking App that will allow customers to establish a monthly standing order through the App to make automatic recurring transfers, in addition to making amendments or deleting these standing orders.

 

The NBK Mobile Banking App also features the e-Payments Service to make electronic payments for purchases at a large number of local and international companies such as telecoms, retail facilities, entertainment and more.

 

As for the NBK Quick Pay, NBK provides its customers with an easy way to receive or transfer amounts from and to friends, or make payments for bills immediately even on weekends or public holidays.

 

And for the first time in Kuwait, NBK lets its customers activate their dormant accounts instantly and at their convenience. This is done by logging in to the NBK Mobile Banking App and selecting the “Dormant Account Activation” feature under “Self Services”.

 

Customers can also update their phone number or email address through the NBK Mobile Banking App saving the trip to the branch.

 

The NBK Mobile Banking App is a safe method to manage accounts. Customers can conveniently open a new account, view transactions made on accounts and credit cards, check their NBK Miles Points and NBK Rewards Program Points, pay outstanding credit cards receivables, pay bills online, find the nearest branch, ATMs or CDMs in Kuwait, as well as submit an account statement request, checkbook and other requests.

 

In addition to these features, NBK Mobile Banking is a great companion while travelling as it allows customers to manage their cards, increase their monthly transfer limit, and update their contact details.

 

NBK strives to provide integrated and advanced banking solutions to its customers, and continues to expand its product and service offering and provides easy and secure payment solutions that meet the needs and requirements of customers.

NBK continues to introduce innovative and the newest technology solutions to meet the needs of customers, having partnered with RippleNet to offer customers a fast, safe and convenient cross border payments service, and making NBK the first bank in Kuwait to join the growing network of RippleNet globally.



Kuwait: NBK Celebrates the Graduation of 5 Cohorts of “Moody’s Credit Curriculum Program”

26.01.2019

The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) celebrated the graduation of 5 Cohorts of the “Moody's Credit Curriculum Program”, which was designed and organized in partnership with the international credit rating agency, Moody's Analytics.

The ceremony was attended by Mr. Salah Y. Al-Fulaij, Chief Executive Officer – Kuwait, Mr. Sulaiman Al-Marzouq, Deputy CEO - Kuwait, Mr. Emad Al-Ablani General Manager of Group Human Resources and senior representatives from the Bank.

The Moody's Credit Curriculum program extended over a year and a half, and introduced an array of topics including banking services, financial analysis, risk management, structure risk, credit challenges, financing, and problem credits.

Congratulating the newly certified employees, Emad Al-Ablani said: “NBK has adopted a strategy that aims to invest in its employees’ skillset and capitalize on their potential in order to reach the highest levels of professionalism in the industry. Our ultimate goal is to provide them with the best employee value proposition and corporate experience. Indeed, the Bank aims to maintain its position as a leader in the market and our human capital is the main pillar and driver of our success”.


Moody's is one of the best and oldest financial corporations specializing in economic research, financial analysis and evaluation of private and government institutions in terms of strength, financial position and creditworthiness.



Kuwait: NBK reports FY net profit of KD 370.7 million, growing by 15% in 2018

17.01.2019

The National Bank of Kuwait (“NBK”, the “Bank” or the “Group”) has announced its financial results for the 12-month period ended 31 December 2018.

NBK reported a net profit of KD 370.7 million (USD 1.2 billion), which increased by 15.0% on 2017, with total assets increasing by 5.4% to reach KD 27.4 billion (USD 90.4 billion). Customer loans and advances increased by 6.9% to KD 15.5 billion (USD 51.1 billion), while customer deposits increased by 4.4% to reach KD 14.4 billion (USD 47.4 billion). The Group’s Board of Directors has proposed a cash dividend distribution of 35 fils per share, representing 35.0% of the nominal share value in addition to 5% bonus shares, all subject to approval by shareholders at the AGM.

NBK maintained a conservative approach to risk, reflected in the confirmation of strong long-term credit ratings. The Bank’s robust asset quality metrics held steady, with the NPL/gross loans ratio at 1.38% and an NPL coverage ratio of 228.1%. The Group maintained a high level of capitalization, with a capital adequacy ratio of 17.2%, comfortably in excess of the Central Bank of Kuwait’s requirement.

Commenting on the results, NBK Group Chairman, Nasser Al-Sayer, said:
“We are pleased to report another year of solid performance. The Bank has continued to benefit from Kuwait’s strong fiscal position, which largely protected the country from regional economic volatility during the year. GDP growth is projected to reach 2.2%, and the pipeline of scheduled project awards remains strong.

The role that NBK will play in supporting economic growth and the agenda of ‘New Kuwait 2035’ is assured, as it remains the bank of choice for financing public and private projects.

Having increased the scale and contribution of our international operations, while consolidating our leadership position in Kuwait, we achieved considerable progress in pursuit of our diversification strategy.

Our diversification extends to the product and service offering, growth in existing geographies, our approach to new business opportunities, and our commitment to a digital transformation that will position the Bank for future growth.”

Group net operating income grew by 7.4% year-on-year to reach KD 883.2 million (USD 2.9 billion), with improved earnings driven by an increasingly diverse range of income generators from across business units. Non-interest income accounted for 22% of net operating income in 2018 with robust fee generation across units, as the Bank continues to seek opportunities for improving non-interest income. International banking operations accounted for 29% of the Group’s net profit, increasing from a contribution of 28% in 2017.

Islamic Banking, through subsidiary Boubyan Bank, provided further diversity to the income profile, with a growing contribution to Group net profit.

NBK Group CEO, Isam Al-Sager, commented:
“While the local and regional banking sector faced challenges due to a high level of liquidity putting pressure on credit growth, NBK recorded another set of exceptional results, as the breadth of its operations and the scale of our international footprint mitigated risk.

Earnings from our core banking activities clearly reflect NBK’s underlying institutional strength, which is supported by a strategy that hedges risk by diversifying income across products, customer types and geographies, while maintaining a competitive advantage in the domestic market through both a conventional and Islamic offer.

NBK remains a safe haven, in light of its high credit ratings and recognition of its prudent risk management approach – as borne out by another year of inclusion in Global Finance’s list of the World’s 50 Safest Banks.

A core component of the diversification theme in 2018 was the considerable effort made by the Bank towards its digital transformation. The programme is cross-segment and cross-geography, impacting internal processes and systems as well as the experience and opportunities of our customers.”

Effective cost management policies saw cost growth of just 4.1%, compared with 5.3% in 2017, resulting in a cost-to-income ratio of 31.3% compared with 32.3% in the previous year. The Bank’s profitability metrics delivered positive results, with return on average assets of 1.38% compared with 1.28% in 2017 and return on average equity of 12.0% compared with 10.8% for the previous year. Basic earnings per share (EPS) were 58 fils at year-end (50 fils in 2017), with equity attributable to shareholders increasing by 3.3% to KD 2.9 billion (USD 9.7 billion).
Al-Sager concluded:

“Our strategic pathway remains essentially unchanged. Our primary objective is to deliver superior returns to shareholders, which we will achieve by defending our leadership of core businesses, maintaining our dominant share of the domestic Kuwaiti market, achieving growth in target segments and exploiting our international presence. Having achieved particularly robust performance in Egypt, we will look to consolidate and build upon recent growth in that market; while in Saudi Arabia we will seek to grow the client-base and AuMs of the recently launched Al Watani Wealth Management Company. We look forward to maintaining our commitment to both customers and shareholders, as we build a more diverse and sophisticated banking offer.”



Kuwait: NBK Academy Celebrates Graduation of 20th Batch of Employees

07.01.2019

The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) celebrated the graduation of its 20th batch of newly recruited employees from its annual NBK Academy which develops the skills of university graduates and qualifies them to work in the banking sector.

The ceremony was attended by the Chief Executive Officer - Kuwait at the National Bank of Kuwait, Mr. Salah Al-Fulaij, the Deputy CEO - Kuwait at the National Bank of Kuwait, Mr. Sulaiman Al-Marzouq and other members of the Executive Management.

Graduates who have ranked first this year were awarded for outstanding efforts in the duration of the program, attending lectures, practical training and on-site visits to branches.

During the four-month period of the program, the training phases of the Academy covered the various aspects of banking such as banking principles, risk management, teamwork, financial accounting, marketing, negotiation, consumer and commercial lending, in addition to practical trainings in rotating departments within the Bank during which they were mentored by internationally-accredited trainers to enable employees to gain specialized banking skills.

NBK Academy is designed to develop the theoretical and practical skills of trainees to prepare them to the banking sector and arm them with hands-on experience, as well as familiarize them with the Bank's business structure and culture to support their career development goals.