KUWAIT: Boubyan Bank has announced KD 48.5 million in net profits for the year 2021 with growth rate by 41 percent and an earnings per share of 13.57 fils along with a recommendation to distribute 5 percent in cash dividends and 5 percent in bonus shares. Moreover, the bank continued its prudential approach by allocating KD 50.8 million in provisions.

The bank's Chairman, Abdulaziz Abdullah Al-Shaya commented: "Thanks to Almighty Allah, we built on our experiences over the past years to continue our outstanding results in 2021, and we aspire for more achievements in 2022 in light of many positive indicators for 2022 underpinning this."

Al-Shaya stated that all of the Bank's main indicators witnessed a remarkable growth in 2021 where the total combined assets of Boubyan Bank Group increased to KD 7.4 billion, growing 14 percent, and the operating profits increased to KD 100.5 million, growing by 8 percent compared with last year.

Moreover, the total of customers' deposits grew by 10 percent to reach KD 5.6 billion, while the financing portfolio grew by 14 percent to reach KD 5.5 billion, and operating income grew by 12 percent to reach KD 188 million.

Speaking of the bank's market shares, the bank's share of local financing continued its growth journey in reaching approximately 11 percent in 2021, compared with 10 percent at the end of last year, while Boubyan Bank's share of retail finance grew to 14 percent, compared with 13 percent as at the end of last year, thereby positioning Boubyan Bank in third place among local banks in terms of volume of assets and market share.

A great year of achievements

Adel Abdul Wahab Al-Majed, Vice-Chairman & Group Chief Executive Officer of Boubyan Bank, stated: "Last year was marked by milestones and successes achieved by the bank in pursuit of its expansion plans, which aimed further local expansion in addition to expanding regionally and internationally." "After 12 years of Boubyan's transformation phase, our operating profits have exceeded KD 100 million, and we have now become the third largest bank in Kuwait in terms of volume of assets and market share. We are now a group of three banks; Boubyan, BLME and NOMO digital bank, in addition to two subsidiaries; a Takaful insurance company and Boubyan Capital Investment company", he added.

Adel Al Majed

Al-Majed stressed: "Our achievements are thanks to Almighty Allah, and then many other factors; the most prominent of which are our clear strategy, stable executive team over many years, and focusing on customers in addition to investing in digital banking services and in our human resources with special focus on our national cadres."

International expansion

"The bank's international expansion endeavors were crowned with success, supported by digital expansion through the acquisition of the Bank of London and the Middle East "BLME" in 2020, where Boubyan's current holding stands at 71 percent. Following this, Boubyan Bank announced last July the full launch of NOMO Bank in Kuwait and the UK as the first Islamic digital bank from London, which can offer its services to Boubyan Bank's customers and non-customers alike," he stated.

He went on to add: "We aspire for BLME to become the Islamic bank of choice for GCC customers in the United Kingdom as we have incorporated a set of guiding principles for the bank as a part of its transformation strategy following the acquisition including having a sustainable customer-focused brand aligned with Boubyan Bank's Group", he added.

Speaking about NOMO Bank, Al-Majed elaborated: "The new NOMO digital-first banking experience lets users apply for a UK-based bank account in minutes using their smart phones, thereby giving them the chance to enjoy a unique banking experience in Kuwait and worldwide." "This cuts out lengthy application processes that can take a prolonged time. Also, through an intuitive smartphone App, Nomo allows its customers to spend, send and invest their wealth on the go, with 24/7 access wherever their lifestyle takes them," he added.

Al-Majed elaborated: "Nomo's banking proposition is unique in that it gives non-UK residents from Kuwait the remarkable opportunity of opening a UK-based account and enjoying the many prestigious benefits of the UK banking system. Moreover, the local banking solutions of NOMO Bank help customers avoid high international fees and open up investment opportunities that would not be usually available to non-UK residents."

Corporate banking... outstanding solutions

Attracting companies which support the national economy across various sectors in the local market remains one of the most important goals of Boubyan Bank, which seeks to be achieved through offering a collection of outstanding banking services and solutions that meet all the needs of corporate customers. The Corporate Banking Group remains focused on continued development and enhancement of advanced digital products and services, thereby expanding the scope of offered services and reinforcing the suite of corporate banking services. Furthermore, SMEs continue to remain a key focus and retain the full support of Boubyan Bank in enabling the growth of their business by offering them the best banking services and solutions.

Over the past years, the group succeeded in offering most of the bank's products and services digitally using cutting-edge technology; the importance of this focus was evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. The group was also keen on staying up-to-date with the development of technological and digital aspects of banking services and products offered to local companies by adding various services, which can be performed online, or through Boubyan Corporate App.

Maintaining the leadership in digital services

Over the recent years, Boubyan managed to monopolize Global Finance's award for the World's Best Islamic Digital Bank owing to the strength of strategy set by the bank for attracting and servicing digital customers, obtaining high client adoption of digital offerings and providing them with cutting-edge services, and growth of customers who use digital banking services through the bank's various channels, whether through online banking or smart phones.

Furthermore, Boubyan Bank excelled digitally last year by expanding the services of youths' account "Prime", which became more like a "bank within a bank" operating independently from Boubyan Bank. Boubyan also launched the London-based NOMO Bank, which is the fruit of our investments in digital services.

Boubyan concluded the year by inking an important agreement with DIFIC FinTech Hive to launch a Boubyan Accelerator to spurn the growth and expansion of all types of Kuwaiti tech startups out of the bank's keenness to support young Kuwaitis' projects, making Boubyan Bank the first bank in Kuwait to run this program for startups in Kuwait.

In 2021, Boubyan Bank continued accelerating digital transformation across all of its operations to enhance the robustness and integrity of its business and the ability to keep up with the significant growth in the bank's operations with full efficiency in addition to the impact of these practical steps on the environmental protection and the achievement of international goals at the level of sustainable development.

The crisis caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Kuwait has revealed the strength of Boubyan Bank and its ability to continue delivering its quality customer service without compromising the high levels maintained over the recent years. This helped the bank continue topping the pyramid of customer service in Kuwait, which was affirmed by being named the Best Islamic Bank in Customer Service for the eleventh year in a row since 2010 by Service Hero, the international consumer-driven customer satisfaction index.

Al-Majed stated: "What distinguished Boubyan the most was that despite the ongoing growth of its customer base, this was not accompanied by inferior service or any negative impact due to such an increase, which always represented a fresh challenge to our employees to maintain the same level of service." Al-Majed went on to explain: "Customer service is an integral part of the bank's culture. It is no secret that almost all banks offer similar products, however, our excellence and outperformance come through service and the way of dealing with customers, especially in Kuwait where customers have high expectations."

Al-Majed highlighted that Boubyan Bank continued receiving many awards in 2021 as it was named the Best Islamic Financial Institution in Kuwait by Global Finance, which also named Boubyan Bank the World's Best Islamic Digital Bank, the Best Islamic Digital Bank in Kuwait and the Best Islamic Digital Bank in the Middle East.

Our society.... The greatest responsibility

The year 2021 has been no different than the previous one in terms of the state of instability that swept the world and Kuwait owing to the continued concerns and fears arising as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected many aspects of life. 2021 swung between reopening at the beginning, followed by partial lockdown, and finally returning to normal life as a result of vaccinating most of Kuwait's population.

The past year was a significant milestone concerning Boubyan Bank's continuation to undertake its social role through organizing many events and initiatives, which highlighted its local leadership as to serving the society, and reiterating its CSR leadership position in Kuwait. In 2021, Boubyan Bank published its first sustainability report for 2020 titled (Sustainability - a Gene and Core Value) that tackles Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) sustainability indicators, which are among the important aspects to evaluate the bank's performance and positioning locally and regionally.

In light of this commitment to corporate social responsibility, 2021 witnessed Boubyan Bank's continued acceleration of digital transformation across all of its operations to enhance the robustness and integrity of its business and the ability to keep up with the significant growth in the bank's operations with full efficiency in addition to the impact of these practical steps on environmental protection and the achievement of international goals at the sustainable development level, which is considered a main pillar in the bank's strategy where preserving the environment and minimizing electronic emissions and paper waste account for a main part.

Accordingly, the bank collaborated with one of the local companies to provide it with an integrated paperless environment, reduce printing costs, and offer automated document archiving solutions, minimize operating cost and reduce transaction-processing time in order to offer swift and state-of-the-art service to Boubyan customers.

Futhermore, as a part of its corporate social responsibility, the bank organized workshops to various government entities and institutions on enhancing efficiency, effectiveness and change management. The bank continued supporting SMEs through many initiatives, the most significant of which was supporting the youths' initiative (Tetaman) in cooperation with Sheghel.com platform, where a group of freelancers offered free services to Kuwaiti SMEs' owners, especially those who were severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moreover, and to support Kuwaiti sports following the past interruption, the bank sponsored the Kuwaiti Handball League, being one of the popular sports in Kuwait in addition to being a game, which is expected to see continued of growth over the upcoming years.

Young & ambitious human resources

Boubyan gives a special attention to its human resources as a part of its business strategy as a modern bank that keeps up with international and regional developments through its young management. The bank is known for giving the youths an outstanding leading role, especially as the bank provides them with all the training and academic resources that give them an excellent opportunity to gain professional and practical expertise, and this makes them gain great experience compared with their age."

Boubyan Bank succeeded last year in maintaining a high national manpower ratio that currently stands at 80 percent approximately, which is not only the highest among local banks but also at the level of the Kuwaiti private sector, where the bank stands as an example of successful local manpower recruitment and a creator of excellent job opportunities in the region.