There is indeed a lot to celebrate and cheer about. From stalwart beginnings, when Kuwait International Bank started operations in 1973, the bank had an all-encompassing approach and modelled its banking portfolio to cater to all international markets. Its business covers banking services, including the acceptance of deposits, financing transactions, direct investment, Murabaha (auto, real estate and commodities), Ijara Muntahia Bittamleek (lease-to-own), Istisna’a, Tawarruq, credit cards, Wakala and many other products.
KIB also provides corporate projects and finance, treasury services, letters of credit, letters of guarantee, real estate dealings and management of properties. This huge gamut of services has given KIB a wide customer base and has made it a market leader. KIB was one of the early banking institutions to embrace Islamic banking. The bank’s management recognised the interest that investors and the community at large expressed in Islamic banking and decided to adopt it early on.
This gave KIB a natural edge over competition. KIB’s large role in trading using Islamic financial products such as Islamic Sukuk made KIB rather crucial and one of the most recognised Islamic financial institutions in Kuwait.
Investors flocked to KIB and continue to do so. The key to stay ahead of the game has been to constantly innovate and embrace change, and KIB has mastered the art of it. Over the years, the opportunities in Kuwait’s banking industry have increased and the government has been keen to develop it further. The Kuwaiti banking sector is also by-and-large strong and stable in comparison to other economic sectors.
Taking responsibility seriously
KIB has been an active supporter and participant in the government’s plan for the banking industry. In the recently announced $130bn national development plan, KIB has formulated its own strategy with regard to the government’s initiative. The bank has studied the plan in depth – in particular the projects that are related to the banking and finance industry – and has prepared itself technically and financially to fulfil the government’s objectives by providing support to contractors, traders and service providers, while always adhering to the market and banking regulations set by the Commercial Bank of Kuwait (CBK) and the Capital Markets Authority.
With regard to international compliance, KIB is committed to work in accordance with all international regulations and is well placed to meet the demands of Basel III. The bank holds sufficient high-quality liquid assets and is committed to meeting Basel III’s requirements as prescribed by the CBK. We also have an independent Anti-Money Laundering Unit in order to detect and prevent money laundering, terrorism financing and other illegal activities.
KIB is also well prepared to face the fallout of the crisis in Egypt and Syria. Not only does it have a contingency plan in place, it has also taken certain measures based on the political situation in the region. KIB has and will always act in the best interests of its customers, striving to provide them with complete and uninterrupted banking solutions that enable them to carry on with their professional and personal lives as usual.
Ensuring customer satisfaction
Since July 1, 2007 – when KIB became sharia-compliant – the bank has worked for economic renaissance in Kuwait, with the objective of fulfilling its responsibility towards society and its people. KIB has worked hand-in-hand with the government and the private sector to achieve economic prosperity in the country.
As part of its social responsibility, KIB has drawn up an annual calendar of activities that include supporting sports, cultural, charitable, and religious activities, and providing for hospitals, nursing homes and children with special needs.
KIB has worked hand-in-hand with the government and the private sector to achieve economic prosperity in the country
KIB concentrates on doing a few things very well, which includes the active management of non-performing loans (NPL), which have improved overall ratios, profitability, liquidity and strong capital ratios, coupled with improved diversified growth in business. The excellent standards that KIB has achieved today are based on two significant elements: strong leadership and keeping up-to-date with technology.
KIB places great emphasis on attracting and retaining able and experienced leadership from inside and outside of Kuwait. Staff are trained regularly with a view to upgrading their capabilities in all necessary fields. Significant efforts have also been made to offer the latest electronic and online services to its customers. Customer satisfaction is a vital part of the bank’s strategy, and it has developed a range of services to enhance the banking experience, whether clients are domestic or operate internationally.
KIB also rewards its loyal customers with a host of special services and privileges wherever in the world they may be. One such privilege that is offered to its Visa Platinum and Gold cardholders is access to VIP lounges in airports around the world.
Furthermore, KIB is committed to offering modern, sharia-compliant products and to reach out to its customers by increasing its presence through various banking channels, including a wide network of branches, ATMs, mobile banking, and internet banking, to provide access to as many customers as possible.
A positive future ahead
Being one of the early adopters of Islamic banking presented KIB with both an advantage and a challenge. It transformed from what was once known as the Kuwait Real Estate Bank into Kuwait International Bank, one that offers a wide range of Islamic finance products. Today, almost all local banks have adopted Islamic banking. This works as a trigger for KIB to keep on innovating and enhance its products and services, so that it is way ahead of competition and remains a pioneer of local banking.
The continuous awards and achievements that KIB
has received are a
positive testimony to the bank’s success
Today, KIB operates with assets in excess of $4.9bn (as of September 2013) and offers a full range of Islamic finance products. KIB posted exceptional financial results in 2012, where operating profits exceeded KWD 21m and shareholders received seven percent in cash dividends. The bank continued this steady growth in the first nine months of 2013 by attaining operating profits of more than KWD 24m, and the last quarter looks promising and encouraging too.
In 2014, KIB will continue on its growth trajectory by providing appropriate Islamic financial products to its customers, such as Al Murabaha and Al Mussawamma, two important Islamic financial instruments. KIB will also expand its network by adding new branches in Kuwait, thereby increasing its reach and becoming more accessible to customers. KIB is also working closely with its corporate customers to identify their unique banking needs and to work out ways in which it can meet these needs. The bank believes this will further fuel growth and take it to greater levels of success.
KIB has been widely recognised as a progressive, profitable and performance-oriented banking institution that has been pioneering and paving the way for growth and economic reform across Kuwait and the wider region. Fitch has upgraded KIB’s credit rating by two notches from A- to A+ due to its strong capitalisation, liquidity profile and strong capital ratios. This is no mean achievement given the financial crisis that has engulfed large parts of the globe.
The continuous awards and achievements that KIB has received are a positive testimony to the bank’s success: this, and the fact that its customers have placed so much trust in it. Most of KIB’s customers are loyal to the bank, providing valuable insight into how banking needs to evolve over time and how a bank can help them grow in their own businesses.
KIB has exceptional relationships with all of its corporate and retail customers. This has led to widespread satisfaction among its customers and has given KIB the opportunity to innovate for the betterment of its customers and the industry at large. This has also led to greater progress, profitability, and has been an impetus for top performance.
KIB has also been honoured with the Best Islamic Bank, Kuwait, 2014 award in World
Finance’s Islamic Finance Awards. The bank also received the Golden Medal Award of Merit 2013 from the Tatweej Academy for Excellence and Quality in the Arab Region, and it is one of the few leading financial institutions to publish its corporate governance manual in both Arabic and English, emphasising its commitment to transparency.
In conclusion, it is only apt to quote famous pastor and author Charles Spurgeon, who once said: “It’s not the having, it’s the getting.” This seems truly pertinent for KIB – be it in the ‘getting’ of customers or the receipt of awards.