By Beatrice Thomas
Lender is aiming to have 35 branches by the end of 2015, deputy CEO said
Kuwaiti lender Boubyan Bank is on track to open up to 12 new branches in the next 18 months as the financial institution cements its place in the country's competitive banking sector.
Speaking after its win as Islamic Bank of the Year at the Arabian Business Kuwait Awards on Sunday night, Boubyan Bank deputy CEO, Abdulla Al Najran Al Tuwaijri said it was part of a five-year strategy started in 2010.
"It's mainly focusing on positioning the bank as a proper retail bank in Kuwait, focusing on the affluent segment and the corporate," he told Arabian Business on the sidelines of the awards.
"So, we're moving the bank from an investment bank to a banking institution."
Al Tuwaijri said the bank, which was established in 2004 and is publicly listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange, had 25 branches throughout Kuwait, but was seeking to boost its presence in the market.
"We expect to end up having 35 branches by the end of 2015," he said. "Around 10 to 12 (new) branches in the next 18 months," he added.
Boubyan Bank's annual report shows the company posted a KD10.05m ($35.46m) net profit in 2012 - a formidable recovery after losses of KD51.70m ($182.41m) in 2009.
Al Tuwaijri said the Kuwait banking sector was performing well in what was a very competitive market.
"We are now 50-50 Islamic versus conventional," he said.
"We have 10 banks now in Kuwait and that's a big shift from a couple of years back when most of the banks were conventional and only one bank was Islamic.
"This gives you an indication of how Islamic banking is picking up in the market."
However, Al Tuwaijri said there were no immediate plans to expand beyond Kuwait.