gulfbankKUWAIT: Gulf Bank recently announced that it received two coveted awards from International Banker for 'Best Commercial Bank' and 'Best Innovation in Retail Banking' in Kuwait for 2016. The 'Best Commercial Bank' and 'Best Innovation in Retail Banking' awards reinforce Gulf Bank's commitment to offering excellence in its customer service. The Bank's innovative use of technology to provide tailored solutions to clients, such as the launch of Middle East's first facial recognition mobile banking app and its dedication to enhancing the customer experience through its simple, transparent and trustworthy approach, are two of the main factors that position the Bank in the forefront.

Commenting on this achievement, Cesar Gonzalez-Bueno, Gulf Bank CEO said: "We are honored with the recognition Gulf Bank has received from International Banker for the second consecutive year. These awards are endorsements the strong reputation and leading position of Gulf Bank. At the Bank we strive to achieve the highest standards, to offer our customers exceptional customer service and innovative, easy-to-use products. We are proud to know that these efforts are being independently acknowledged by the banking industry."

The '2016 Banking Awards' distinguish those institutions that have excelled in providing an unparalleled service to their clients whilst also continuously maintaining a high level of regulatory compliance. The awards identify the best organizations and individuals in the sector, measured not only by growth, liquidity and profitability but also taking into consideration issues such as product innovation, use of IT, corporate governance, transparency and sustainability.

The criteria adopted by the judging panel in for these awards presented to Gulf Bank included: client focus, platforms and technology infrastructure and use of IT, employee talent pool, new product-line innovation, top- and bottom-line growth, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, service and security, market share, innovation and originality, transparency and sustainability, risk and liquidity management. Across all of which Gulf Bank scored phenomenally, specifically for its commitment to good corporate governance, innovation and originality, use of technology, and customer service.

All nominations for the 2016 awards program are submitted online via the nominations page of the International Banker website. Nominations are then validated, to make sure none are self-nominations, and all nominees are initially assessed; researchers assemble as much information as possible on each nominee, including progress reports, mission statements and industry analysis. Each category is trimmed to a maximum of four companies; the nominees are then contacted for further information before the finalists are reassessed. The nominations for this program were opened in January and closed in April. The readers select the banks nominated. The readership are typically senior managers of banking and finance organisations and also C-Suite individuals from a multitude of different industry sectors.

In the past year, Gulf Bank has launched a number of exciting products and customer propositions. These include 'Gulf Rewards', which is Kuwait's fastest and most rewarding loyalty program. The program includes Gulf Points for free flights and hotels redemptions, as well as access to Gulf Bank Entertainer, Kuwait's first geo-locator mobile application offering exclusive deals in Kuwait, UAE, and London. The bank has also introduced the VISA Signature Credit Card, in addition to the other premium credit cards offered, allowing it to present Priority Banking customers with a range of new, exciting benefits.

Also, in the last year, the bank has revamped its salary and red accounts, adding new benefits and incentives to customers, while the famous Al Danah account remains a strong driver of growth, presenting customers with the chance to win the single biggest cash prize of KD 1 million.

Most recently, Gulf Bank has announced the launch of Middle East's first facial recognition mobile banking app. This allows customers to access their personal accounts on any number of services by logging into through one of two methods: by blinking their eyes at their smartphone camera ('Blinking to Bank') following their fingerprint recognition (Touch ID), or through the use of a traditional password registration. This bilingual Arabic and English app is available for download onto smartphone devices through the Apple App store and the Android Play store.