Jassar Dakheel Al-Jassar seen during the General Assembly meeting
Jassar Dakheel Al-Jassar seen during the General Assembly meeting

KUWAIT: Warba Bank is the fastest growing bank in Kuwait. It offers a variety of integrated Sharia-compliant investment banking services on both the local and international levels. Its General Assembly meeting was held in Hall No 4, Courtyard, Marriott at 11:30 am on Wednesday 30 March 2016.

On the conclusion of that meeting the General Assembly agenda, the reports of the Board of Directors and the Auditors, and the financial statements for the fiscal year that ended on 31 December 2015 were approved.

Moreover, the General Assembly, inter alia, approved the election of the Board of Directors for the third cycle (2016-2018), and recruitment of the members of the Fatwa and Sharia Supervisory Board for the year 2016, and the Bank's Auditors for the fiscal year 2016.ý

Jassar Dakheel Al-Jassar, the Vice Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer said: "The bank will continue its medium-term strategic plan, which is based on a range of objectives, taking into account the rapid economic changes faced by the global economy, particularly in the Gulf region in light of the sharp drop in oil prices. This plan has made the bank stand out of the Islamic banks in the local market. The strategy strengthens the bank's position and contributes to its success in achieving a leading position in the Islamic banking sector during its very first five years and extending its roots at the local level and maintaining a solid financial status that provides protection for its shareholders."

Al Jassar also pointed out that in 2015 the bank achieved significant growth in all aspects and that was accompanied with significant growth in its operating income, which rose by about KD 7.7 million and amounted to KD 26.3 million, compared with KD 18.5 million in 2014, a growth of 42%. Furthermore, deposits rose by 25% to reach KD 433.5 M compared with KD 346.1 million in 2014.

Profit doubled

"The bank's profit before provisions doubled - reaching KD 4.1 M, compared with KD 1.9 million in 2015, achieving significant growth rate of 108%. The net profit amounted to KD 1 M in 2015 - an increase of 770% per cent over 2014. The bank's financing portfolio grew by 40 per cent so as to reach KD 543.8 M at the end of 2015, compared with KD 388.2 at the end of 2014. The bank's total assets reached KD 776.1 M at the end of 2015, compared with KD 594.8 M at the end of 2014 with a growth rate of 30%.", Al-Jassar added.

Al-Jassar elaborated that although Warba Bank is a relatively young entity in the Islamic banking industry, in 2015 Moody's Investors Services awarded it the top credit rating Baa2/Prim-2 for deposits in local and foreign currency accompanied with a stable future. This is a great achievement of the Bank and reflects its promising future.

He added: "Based on our goal to make Warba Bank the favorite Islamic banking corporation of all customers, we make sure to offer new and unique services and products, and continue to meet the financing and investment needs of our customers, and provide the same in accordance with the highest quality standards. We launched several Sharia-compliant banking products and services. In addition to the bank's focus on operational activities, it also focuses on investment in human capital." Al-Jassar explained.

National cadres

The Bank is committed to its quest to attract promising national cadres to work in different departments in the bank and provide them with training so as to add them to the assets that contribute to promoting the bank's progress, let alone to reflect the bank's commitment to encouraging national employment. We have made achievements in the field of attracting local talents. We have already attracted and trained young Kuwaiti employees in various sectors. Besides, we attracted Kuwaiti competencies at the leadership level, and supported them with promising competencies. That will provide important support for the bank in the next phase to ensure that the customers get the best services in accordance with the highest professional and top-quality international standards.

Al-Jassar also pointed out that in 2015 Banker Middle East magazine awarded the bank its Fastest Growing Bank prize in Kuwait in recognition of the bank's excellence in the Islamic banking sector. Moreover, the magazine ranked the bank as the Best Bank in Kuwait in the corporate finance sector. In addition, the bank won two awards by Islamic Finance News (IFN). The bank was awarded the 2015 award for the Best Structured Finance for its acquisition of a portfolio of financing from Al-Mulla International Finance Co. through a deal with a total value of KD 20 M ($66 million).

This exceptional deal reflected the bank's unshakeable commitment to offer its customers innovative Sharia-compliant financial solutions. It also was in line with strategic expansion plan adopted by the bank at the local and regional levels. According to Al-Jassar, Warba Bank will continue its expansion plan in 2016. It has nine branches distributed in all governorates of Kuwait. In 2015 two new branches were opened, namely Al-Aqeela and Al-Fahaheel. This year is expected to witness the opening of a number of new branches in the vital areas as the Bank is keen on providing services and products to a broader spectrum of customers all over Kuwait.

In addition, the year 2015 witnessed several achievements of Warba Bank at various levels that contributed to strengthening its expansion strategy in the regional and global markets, based on the bank's strategy to take advantage of the unique regional and international investment opportunities. The bank acquired an equipment rental portfolio operated by Atel Capital Holding Group, an American independent equipment rental company. That made Warba Bank the first Kuwaiti entity to invest through the said Group. A fund, in which Warba Bank is a major investor, acquired The Nathaniel commercial building in New York.

Technological advances

Warba Bank is one of the early investors pursuing a strategy based on focusing on the real estate sector in the United States, operated by Wafra Investment Advisory Group (WIAG). The bank participated in a deal to hire aircraft for Kuwait Airways as part of the first deal to be concluded with International Company for aircraft financing for rental of five A330-200 Airbus planes to Kuwait Airways.", Al-Jassar explained. Furthermore, in 2015 the bank acquired a financing portfolio of Al-Mullah International Finance Co through a deal with a total value of KD 20 M ($66 million).

Al-Jassar added: "In 2015 Warba Bank made sure to keep abreast with technological advances. That's why it provided its customers a new range of online banking services, and Android and iOS applications for smart phones, let alone its constant quest to improve the customer's banking experience. The new services gave the customers access to a range of financial transactions that used to require appearance at one of the bank's branches. Such access is free and meets the highest quality, speed and safety standards."

By launching many new electronic services simultaneously and updating and developing other services, Warba Bank seeks to confirm its leading role in the electronic banking services market so to make them more comfortable, easy and important. Thanks to the newly-introduced electronic services, the customers of the bank can open a new savings account or a deposit account, apply for a checkbook and cheque-related services that allow the customer to obtain a summary of his/her checkbook, the details of his/her transactions, and get a detailed account statement, let alone the ID card service.

The customer can upload a copy of his/her ID card and update his/her data through Warba Online. All these services have become one- click/touch away. All the customer needs is to enter the required data manually without having to go to the nearest branch to fill out papers, while ensuring the highest quality, speed and safety standards.

Warba Bank also developed some existing services such as cards through which the customer can get a summary on his/her ATM or Credit Card, check the statement of account of such cards and find out the latest transactions carried out, the amounts drawn, the remaining balance, the dates of such transactions, and report missing cards.ý One of the services the bank offers is the transfer service that enables the customers to transfer balance between his/her own accounts, make domestic and international transfers, pay mobile phone bills, and access to all personal finance transactions.

In conclusion, Al-Jassar confirmed that Warba Bank is determined to spare no efforts in achieving success and excellence in the Islamic banking sector by providing the best and finest unprecedented Sharia-compliant banking products and services. This way Warba Bank seeks to meet the requirements of quality-seekers customers. This makes the Bank a pioneering banking entity that is expected to be the first choice in the Islamic banking sector, as that helps Warba Bank to be the leading Islamic bank.