Arab Bank was the Platinum Sponsor of “Jordan Digital Transformation for Banking and Government Sectors” forum, held recently at the Sheraton Hotel, Amman under the patronage of H.E. Governor of Central Bank of Jordan and organized by the Information and Communications Technology Association “Intaj”. The forum aimed at exploring the complexities of the digital transformation journey, taking an in-depth look into strategy and business model changes, cultural and organizational challenges, the technology underpinning the transformation and ways to monetize the new reality in government and banking sectors.
The forum was attended by over 400 participants from leading Jordanian banks and a number of government sectors and hosted a series of panel discussions with the participation of nearly 45 local and international speakers. Through the various panel discussions, numerous topics were covered including digital transformation in Jordan, Fintech in changing the financial service industry, driving digital transformation with technology vendors, top 6 digital transformation trends in government sector, artificial intelligence, business intelligence and machine learning in digital transformation, achieving digital transformation with cloud and security, blockchain for digital transactions and mobile payments, regulations and policies related to digital transformation, in addition to many other relevant topics.
Arab Bank's sponsorship of this forum is part of its constant commitment towards supporting specialized conventions and initiatives including those related to the technological and digital aspects, in view of the growing significance of digital transformation in the banking industry.
Arab Bank recently sponsored the “Combating Financial Crimes - Compliance with Evolving Global AML/CFT Standards” forum which took place at the InterContinental Hotel in Amman. The forum was organized by the Union of Arab Banks in cooperation with the Central Bank of Jordan, the Association of Banks in Jordan and the Anti Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing Unit.
The two-day forum covered various working papers and included panel discussions led by senior bankers and professionals and AML/CFT experts from financial institutions in Jordan and the Arab region. The forum shed light on numerous themes and topics related to combating financial crimes that are of interest to both central and commercial banks including the global fight against financial crimes, the impact of advanced technology on compliance, global anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism and proliferation (AML/CFT) standards, laws and legislations for the protection of information systems and reducing financial crimes, AML/CFT risks associated with crypto-assets, virtual currencies and blockchains in addition to many other relevant topics.
Arab Bank's strategic sponsorship of this forum is part of its constant commitment towards economic conventions and initiatives contributing to the development of the banking industry and supporting sustainable economic growth.
Arab Bank Group closed 2018 with solid results reporting net income after tax of $820.5 million as compared to $533 million in 2017 with net income before tax reaching $ 1.1 billion. The Group’s equity grew to reach $8.7 billion while the return on equity increased to reach 9.5%. In view of the solid results, the Board of Directors has recommended to the shareholders the distribution of 45% cash dividends for the financial year 2018.
The Group’s net operating income grew by 8% driven by growth in net interest and commission income. Credit facilities increased by 3% to reach 25.8 billon while customer deposits increased to reach $34.3 billion.
Mr. Sabih Masri, Chairman of the Board of Directors stated that the strong performance of Arab Bank Group confirms the success of the Group in dealing with the challenging and changing operating environment and reflects the Group’s prudent operating policies.
Mr. Nemeh Sabbagh, Chief Executive Officer, stated that the solid results of Arab Bank Group for 2018 were driven by sustainable growth in the underlying business, spread improvements and well controlled expenses. Mr. Sabbagh remarked that Arab Bank Group enjoys strong liquidity and robust capitalization. The Group’s loan-to-deposit ratio stood at 75% while capital adequacy ratio calculated in accordance with Basel III regulations improved to reach 15.6%. He added that the asset quality of the Group remains high, with credit provisions held against non-performing loans standing above 100%, excluding the value of collaterals.
As the legal cases filed in the US in 2004 have been put into finality, the Bank reversed $325 million of excess legal provisions into income. Also, and in line with the Bank’s conservative policies, the Bank booked $225 million impairment against the value of its investment in Turkey, the amount of which is mainly the result of currency depreciation.
Mr. Masri concluded by remarking that the encouraging results will continue to support the strong financial performance of the Group and its position in its markets.
Arab Bank was named “Bank of the Year in the Middle East for 2017” by The Banker – Financial Times, London and “Best Bank in the Middle East for 2018” by Global Finance, New York for the third year consecutively. The Bank also received 14 international awards from Global Finance for its corporate digital banking services in the region.
The 2018 financial statements are subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Jordan.
Arab Bank has launched the upgraded version of its corporate online platform “ArabiConnect”. Specifically engineered around corporate needs, “ArabiConnect” platform is a leading corporate digital solution offered by Arab Bank.
The end-to-end solution enables Arab Bank’s clients to conduct and execute cash management and trade finance transactions seamlessly, from a single point of access, anytime, anywhere. ArabiConnect’s comprehensive functionalities effectively cater to the evolving dynamics of the business environment in the region, furthering Arab Bank’s lead in transaction banking. Key functionalities of ArabiConnect include: comprehensive account management across corporate group entities, locally and across borders, effective handling of trade finance transactions, such as the issuance of letters of credit and letters of guarantees smoothly and efficiently, along with the instant settlement of corporate bills through local payment gateways, such as eFAWATEERcom in Jordan and others in the region. Additionally, the platform offers specialized liquidity management and cash flow forecasting modules for optimization of cash flow and liquidity.
Commenting on the launch of the platform, Ms. Nadya Talhouni, Senior Vice President, Head of Transaction Banking at Arab Bank stated: “Arab Bank is one of the leading banks in providing digital banking solutions to corporations across the region.” Talhouni added: “Today and following the launch of ArabiConnect, we offer our clients a state-of-the-art digital banking platform that enables them to manage and perform their banking transactions conveniently in a manner that helps them meet their business requirements and supports their growth."
“ArabiConnect” platform is part of Arab Bank’s fully integrated portfolio of smart digital banking solutions designed for the corporate sector and aligned with the latest advancements in the banking industry. The platform includes: “ArabiConnect – Mobile” application, enabling customers to carry out banking transactions around the clock from wherever they are.
It is worth mentioning that Arab Bank received 14 global awards in recognition of its consumer and corporate digital banking services across the Middle East in 2018. The awards included: Digital Bank of Distinction (Best Local Corporate/Institutional Digital Bank) in Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain and Lebanon as well as Best bank for Online Trade Finance Services and Best Online Cash Management Bank in Jordan.
Arab Bank has recently renewed its collaboration agreement with the Charity Clothing Bank, which is part of the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization (JHCO), for the fifth consecutive year. The agreement aims at providing clothing for 1200 orphans throughout a whole year.
This collaboration reflects the bank's commitment towards achieving social cohesion through engaging in initiatives that support the underprivileged in the community. The bank will provide new clothes, shoes and toys for 1200 orphans across the Kingdom, with the participation of the bank’s volunteering team. In addition to the bank’s financial support, the volunteering team will assist the orphans in choosing their basic needs of clothing items, shoes and toys available at the Charity Clothing Bank’s distribution center in Amman and several other mobile centers across governorates.
Commenting on this agreement, Mr. Tareq Haj Hasan, Senior Vice President, Head of Branding at Arab Bank, said: “Arab Bank’s collaboration with the Charity Clothing Bank comes in line with the bank’s sustainability strategy and as part of its corporate social responsibility program ‘Together’. The program supports many initiatives that aim at achieving sustainable social and community development by supporting the underprivileged in the Kingdom.” He further added: “We are proud to renew our collaboration with the Clothing Bank for the fifth consecutive year and we appreciate the humanitarian role the Clothing Bank plays in supporting the community and the underprivileged families.”
Mr. Ayman Al Mufleh, Secretary General, Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization stressed the importance of renewing the agreement, stating: “Our collaboration with Arab Bank supports the implementation our strategic plans and complements our humanitarian work through supporting Orphan’s Day program and bringing joy to children.” He added that this cooperation reinforces the value of the social responsibility and its economic and social impact on underprivileged communities.
It is worth mentioning that Arab Bank has taken an active role in the community by adopting a comprehensive strategic approach and collaborating with several NGOs to achieve economic, social and environmental sustainable development. ‘Together’, Arab Bank’s corporate social responsibility program is a multi-faceted program that works on improving and developing different aspects of the community. Through a variety of initiatives and activities, the program aims to serve the community in health, poverty alleviation, environmental protection, education, and orphan support.
As part of Arab Bank's corporate social responsibility program “Together”, the bank recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature to support the development and implementation of several community and environmental initiatives aimed at developing Fefa Village in Southern Ghour. The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature will implement biodiversity projects through home gardens, greywater treatment and solid waste sorting for several houses.
The project aims at increasing environmental awareness in the village and enhancing sustainable development through deploying environmental initiatives as a mean to increase economic opportunities and improve the residents’ living standards.
Commenting on this initiative, Mr. Tareq Haj Hasan - Senior Vice President, Head of Branding at Arab Bank stated: “Our collaboration with the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature is an embodiment of Arab Bank’s commitment towards achieving sustainable community development by supporting initiatives that deliver positive economic, social and environmental impact.” He added: “Our contribution to Fefa Village development initiative in Ghour Fefa area, represents a step towards leveraging local community empowerment efforts and provides opportunities that offer economic solutions that will positively impact the living standards for residents of this area.”
Mr. Yehya Khaled - Director General at RSCN confirmed: “The collaboration between RSCN and Arab Bank covers supporting and developing a number of environmental initiatives that contribute to uplifting the local economy and supporting local communities. We value the continuous collaboration with Arab Bank through its corporate social responsibility program, as Arab Bank is considered one of the first institutions to apply and optimize the concept of sustainability through encouraging its employees to volunteer in numerous initiatives.” Khaled continued, “We seek to continue this collaboration, as this is merely a first step towards changing the current reality of Fefa Village and transforming it to become an environmentally sustainable village in the future, where the model can then be applied to villages located near nature reserves.”
It is worth mentioning that Arab Bank has taken an active role in the community by adopting a comprehensive strategic approach working closely with several NGOs to achieve economic, social and environmental sustainable development. ‘Together’, Arab Bank’s corporate social responsibility program is a multi-faceted program that works on improving and developing different aspects of the community. Through a variety of initiatives and activities, the program aims to serve the community in health, poverty alleviation, environmental protection, education, and orphan support.
Arab Bank – Jordan has recently launched a promotional campaign in collaboration with MasterCardTM, the leading global payments and technology company and the official sponsor of UEFA Champions League 2019 in Madrid, which includes numerous valuable prizes including free trips to UEFA Champions League final games taking place during June 2019 in Madrid, Spain.
The campaign, which will run until 23/2/2019, offers Arab Bank MasterCard Titanium cardholders a chance to win many valuable prizes when using their card for daily purchases. The more they use their cards during the promotion, the more chances they will have for winning. The prizes include one of three fully paid trips for two to attend the 2019 UEFA Champions League finals, and a chance to win one of ten Smart TVs with a one-year TV subscription to exclusive sports channels. The offer also applies to new cards issued during the campaign period.
Commenting on the campaign, Mr. Yacoub Matouk, Head of Consumer Banking at Arab Bank – Jordan, stated: “At Arab Bank, we are committed to providing our customers with valuable offers and incentives throughout the year in order to reward them for their loyalty and trust.” Matouk further added: “We launched this campaign in collaboration with MasterCardTM, the official sponsor of UEFA Champions League, to offer our football fans a unique opportunity to attend the final match and benefit from Arab Bank MasterCard Titanium’s multiple privileges.”
It is worth mentioning that Arab Bank MasterCard Titanium provides its holders with a wide range of benefits, such as membership in ‘Arabi Points’ program and easy access to ‘Priceless’ program which has incentives and rewards specially designed for MasterCard users, including dining, shopping, recreation, sports, travel, hotels and touristic activities. The card also offers credit shield insurance that covers 100% of the outstanding balance on the card as well as complimentary lounge access at many airports.
In recognition of the significant role played by its volunteers as part of the bank’s corporate social responsibility program “Together”, the bank has recently honored its employees who have participated in a range of volunteering activities and initiatives, throughout the past year.
The honoring ceremony took place at the bank’s head office building and was attended by Arab Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Nemeh Sabbagh and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Miss Randa Sadik in addition to several department heads and employees. This annual ceremony comes in recognition of Arab Bank’s employees who have volunteered their time and efforts during the year in various activities and initiatives aimed at serving the local community in many areas, including health, poverty alleviation, education, orphan support and environmental protection.
In his opening speech at the ceremony, Mr. Sabbagh expressed his pride and appreciation of the outstanding efforts exerted by the bank’s volunteers throughout the past year, stating: “Community support and volunteering are integral part of the bank’s culture. Our employees are always encouraged to participate in volunteering activities and initiatives stemming from the bank’s sustainability strategy which aims at optimizing the bank’s economic, social, and environmental impact and contributing to building a well-integrated volunteering framework in the community.”
Mr. Sabbagh added: “The constant increase in the number and hours of volunteering activities, reflects our employees’ deep understanding of the value of volunteering and their passion towards making a meaningful positive change in their community. It also embodies their true loyalty to their organization and society.”
Commenting on the participation of the bank’s employees in the program during 2018, Mr. Tareq Haj Hasan, Senior Vice President, Head of Branding at Arab Bank said: “The number of community initiatives carried out by the bank’s volunteers over the past year reached 61 initiatives, implemented by 359 employees from various departments, whilst the number of volunteers’ participations reached 1001.” He further added: “The total number of beneficiaries from the community initiatives and activities supported by the bank during the past year, as part of its sustainability efforts, has reached nearly 236,000 beneficiaries across the Kingdom.”
At the end of the ceremony, the employees expressed their deep gratitude and appreciation of the recognition they received from the bank which represents an opportunity for them to reaffirm their continued commitment towards supporting their community and contributing towards achieving sustainable development.
It is important to note that the program “Together” is not limited only to employee volunteering, but it also offers the bank’s customers the opportunity to support non-profit organizations that are participating in the program by making donations through the bank’s different channels; including: the internet banking service “Arabi Online” and telephone banking service “Hala Arabi”, in addition to the contributions that could be made at the bank’s branches and ATMs across the Kingdom. Moreover, “Together” Platinum card issued by Arab Bank provides its holders with the opportunity to support non-profit organizations every time the card is used.
Arab Bank adopts a comprehensive sustainability strategy and framework which drive the bank’s constant efforts to support sustainable social, economic and environmental development, working diligently with various stakeholders. One of the main pillars of this strategy is Arab Bank’s corporate social responsibility program “Together”, a multi-dimensional program which aims to develop various aspects of the community through different activities and initiatives contributing to the fields of health, poverty alleviation, environmental protection, education and orphan support.