By Massoud Derhally
National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the largest financial institution in Kuwait, reported a net profit of US $ 280 million (KD 83.7 million) for the first nine months of 2002.
National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the largest financial institution in Kuwait, reported a net profit of US $ 280 million (KD 83.7 million) for the first nine months of 2002. The bank said in a statement that its Return on equity reached 25.7%, making it among the most profitable banks worldwide by this measure. “We have been able to maintain a solid performance even as lower interest rates have taken their toll on our income from free funds during the last nine months thanks to our strategy of diversifying sources of income,” said Ibrahim S. Dabdoub, CEO of NBK. “NBK’s success in growing assets without compromising asset quality coupled with the resilience of our non-interest income mitigated the adverse impact of reduced interest rates. The solid results are also a reflection of effective cost management which has increased our operational efficiency,” added Dabdoub.NBK has for long combined strong profitability with a superior financial position and stability by virtue of the bank’s conservative culture and prudent risk management. Maintaining this record is all the more impressive given the increasingly difficult and uncertain economic environment both regionally and internationally. NBK has the highest financial strength rating among all Arab as well as emerging market banks from international rating agencies including Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and FitchRatings. “NBK will continue to pursue its strategy of diversification to maintain its growth momentum and stability”, Dabdoub said. The recent approval by the Saudi Arabian authorities of NBK’s request to open a branch in the Kingdom is viewed as an important step towards implementing the regional expansion strategy of the bank in line with its goal of diversifying income. “NBK’s key success factor will remain its commitment to provide customers with innovative and superior quality services”, added Dabdoub. During 2002 the bank continued to enhance services by launching a new corporate online banking service and myNBK.com, a personalizable web site catering to NBK’s growing online customer base. During the year, NBK also expanded its mutual funds offering to 15 funds that cover a broader spectrum of asset classes. These offerings continue to build on NBK’s brand equity that has helped the bank maintain a dominant market share in consumer and corporate banking and in asset management services.NBK had assets of US $16.7 billion (KD 5 billion) at the end of September 2002 and a market capitalization of US $4.7 billion (KD 1.4 billion).