Arab Bank has recently renewed its collaboration agreement with the Charity Clothing Bank; one of Jordan Hashemite Charity Organizations (JHCO), for the ninth consecutive year. The agreement aims to provide clothing for 1,200 orphans from across the Kingdom throughout the year.
This comes as part of Arab Bank's sustainability strategy for community development. The bank's social responsibility program "Together" provides support to vital community initiatives aimed at enhancing social solidarity and helping those in need across the Kingdom. Through its support, the bank seeks to provide new clothing, shoes, and toys to 1,200 orphaned children from different governorates with the help of volunteering employees from the bank. In addition to its financial support, the bank’s volunteering team will also help the children shop for their needs at the Charity Clothing Bank’s showrooms in Amman and its temporary showrooms across the Kingdom.
Secretary General of the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization, Dr. Hussein Al-Shibli, expressed his pride in the agreement renewal and praised the role of Arab Bank in developing the local community and its effective contribution to achieving the organization’s goals by alleviating the economic burden on mothers and spreading joy among the children through the Orphans Day program. Since its inception, the program has been able to serve more than 9,000 children in various governorates.
The Charity Clothing Bank collects donations and distributes them to families in need who benefit from the National Aid Fund and charitable organizations through various programs targeting all groups in need. These include elderly orphans, individuals with limited income, and those preparing for marriage, who are served through the Clothing Bank’s showrooms in Amman and Karak.
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 sustainable economic, social, and environmental 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 areas related to health, poverty alleviation, environmental protection, education, orphan support, and women empowerment.
Arab Bank Group achieved solid results for the year ending December 31, 2023, reporting a growth of 52% in net income after tax of $829.6 million as compared to $544.3 million in 2022.
The Group’s performance was driven by sustainable growth in the underlying business across different markets, as net profit before provisions and tax improved by 34% to reach $1.81 billion. Total Assets grew by 6% to reach $68.3 billion, loans grew by 5% to reach $37.1 billion, and deposits grew by 6% to reach $50.6 billion. While total Group equity stood at $11.4 billion.
In view of the solid results, the Board of Directors has recommended to the shareholders the distribution of 30% cash dividends for the financial year 2023.
Mr. Sabih Masri, Chairman of Arab Bank, commented that the bank's strong underlying performance reflects the successful execution of its strategy which focuses on delivering sustainable growth and building a resilient business model capable of generating positive results, while dealing with the regional and international challenges. He also noted that the bank’s record net operating profit is a clear testament to its strong growth momentum across several markets, specially in the GCC region and international markets.
Ms. Randa Sadik, Chief Executive Officer, stated that Arab Bank delivered robust results during 2023, where the Bank’s net operating profit grew by 34% driven by increase in core banking income across various sectors and markets, with a clear focus on enhancing non-interest income contribution and revenue diversification. This was achieved while the Bank continued to invest in transformation and maintaining a resilient balance sheet, which will position us for further growth in the future.
Ms. Sadik added that the Group’s liquidity and asset quality remains solid where loan-to-deposit ratio stood at 73.2% and credit provisions held against non-performing loans continue to exceed 100%. Arab Bank Group maintains a strong capital base that is predominantly composed of common equity with a capital adequacy ratio of 17.5%.
Ms. Sadik also highlighted that as part of Arab Bank’s commitment towards Sustainability and its Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) priorities, the bank successfully issued $250 million in sustainable Additional Tier 1 (AT1) Capital Securities. The issuance marks the first and largest sustainable perpetual AT1 issue in Jordan and was listed on the International Securities Market (ISM) and the Sustainable Bond Market of the London Stock Exchange.
With regard to the bank's ongoing commitment towards digital transformation and providing value for its customers, Ms. Sadik noted the establishment of "Acabes International Pvt Ltd", Arab Bank’s technology arm, as a global capability center, supporting the bank’s businesses worldwide. Arab Bank, in collaboration with "Acabes", has recently launched an updated version of “Reflect” offering more features and services to its users. This is in addition to launching "Arabi Shopix", a first of its kind service in the Kingdom which offers Arab Bank customers, including merchants, the ability to build and design an e-commerce website as part of the host of integrated digital banking solutions designed to meet the needs of SMEs through the “Arabi SMEs” program.
As part of the bank's expansion strategy, and in line with the bank's continuous efforts to expand its footprint in promising markets, Mr. Masri commented that the Bank is in the process of starting its operations in the Iraqi market during the year 2024, providing comprehensive banking solutions and services to its current and future customers. And in line with the group’s focus on expanding its wealth management & private banking business, Mr. Masri noted that during 2023, Arab Bank Switzerland acquired the majority stake in the family holding company which owns a deep-rooted Swiss bank "Gonet & Cie SA". The new banking group will be a major actor in the Swiss wealth management industry, with assets under management in excess of CHF 10 billion.
Arab Bank was named “Bank of the Year 2023 in the Middle East” by the London-based “The Banker” Magazine, owned by the Financial Times. The bank was also named “Best Bank in the Middle East 2023” for the eighth consecutive year by New York-based international publication “Global Finance”. Additionally, the bank received 18 awards in recognition of its corporate and consumer digital banking services in Jordan and the MENA region.
The bank’s 2023 financial statements are subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Jordan.
Arab Bank and Mastercard announced the launch of cross- border payment services “RemitEx. The new collaboration leverages Mastercard's Cross-Border Services platform to provide a remittance product that will enable Arab Bank’s customers to make faster, safer and full-value transfers without fees for the recipient.
The launch of this new service comes as part of Arab Bank’s strategy to reinforce its digital payment offering and provide its customers with flexible and advanced banking solutions that meet their evolving needs and expectations.
This service will enable remittance to 28 countries, opening new corridors and expanding the bank’s global reach, with plans for further expansion in the future.
Commenting on the launch of this service, Mr. Yacoub Matouk, Head of Consumer Banking at Arab Bank – Jordan, said: “At Arab Bank, we continue to deploy the latest advancements in the digital banking industry, offering a more optimized customer-centric banking experience. Our strategic collaboration with MasterCard is a manifestation to the bank’s agility in responding to consumers’ growing demands for secure and innovative payment solutions across borders.” He added: “The new cross-border payment services are a remarkable addition to the bank’s portfolio of payment solutions offered to customers, providing them with semi-instant, seamless and secure money transfer experience processed through MasterCard’s cross-border services platform, and supported by a paradigm of digital payment solutions.”
Cynthia El Khoury, Country Manager, Levant & Iraq at Mastercard, said: “Mastercard Cross-Border Services is designed to modernize cross-border payments in an age where convenience and security are paramount. Through our collaboration with Arab Bank, we are empowering consumers to send money to their loved ones with increased ease and peace of mind. We look forward to seeing the positive impact Arab Bank’s new remittance product will have on their customers and the wider community in Jordan and the region.
Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart, and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments, and businesses realize their greatest potential. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.
Arab Bank has recently concluded its “AI Startup Bootcamp”, an initiative launched by the bank's startup accelerator "AB Xelerate". This program provided entrepreneurs and startups with an ideal opportunity to cultivate their expertise in AI and machine learning technology, enabling them to apply innovative solutions that contribute significantly to expanding their business reach and accelerating their development. The launch of this bootcamp comes as part of the bank’s constant efforts to staying at the forefront of the latest technological and digital advancements, particularly the vital opportunities in the field of AI applications.
Through this initiative, around 100 entrepreneurs had the opportunity to present their ideas and emerging projects for evaluation by the bank’s team of experts. The top 10 ideas were selected based on their efficiency and eligibility for participation. The selected entrepreneurs engaged in interactive workshops and practical training sessions led by experts and professionals in the field of AI and machine learning. This is in addition to showcasing success models for prominent startups that received adequate funding for business expansion. The workshops also featured inspirational speaker sessions presented by leaders in the AI field, with technical support from including Cloud, a prominent contributor to the initiative.
Additionally, participants gained access to valuable market data, understanding the effectiveness of AI across diverse sectors such as, health, finance, and e-commerce, and around their projects in specific. They also received necessary guidance to enhance their product development and improve market readiness. This equipped them with the necessary insights on integrating and activating machine learning and artificial intelligence solutions to effectively address market needs.
The bootcamp concluded with the selection of the top three AI solutions demonstrating the most potential. Participants pitched these solutions through demo presentations to a judging panel comprising experts, including Arab Bank’s senior management and several renowned investors. Each of the three winners, “GamerG” securing the first place, “Musajjel” earning second place, and “Smartserve” claiming third, received cash rewards from Arab Bank to continue developing their ideas and projects.
Commenting on the bootcamp, Ms. Hala Zahran, Head of “AB Xelerate” at Arab Bank, said: "Integrating AI mechanisms into traditional services provided by the banking sector is crucial amid the continuous evolution of modern technology. Today, technology presents great opportunities to elevate the banking industry’s offerings by improving customer experience, streamlining operations, and fortifying risk management." Zahran added: “Through this initiative, Arab Bank strives to cultivate a stimulating ecosystem for entrepreneurs, fostering the development of their products and yielding tangible results in the business market. The initiative also aims to create networking opportunities with key stakeholders from the bank, facilitating potential collaborations in the future.”
It is worth mentioning that Arab Bank is considered one of the leading financial institutions in the region, committed to adopting the latest technologies. It consistently provides advanced banking services and solutions to customers across various sectors. The bank also places significant emphasis on FinTech to evolve its banking services in line with the transformations brought about by the the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the changes in the needs and expectations of customers. Arab Bank has taken the initiative to establish a comprehensive system in this field, encompassing an innovation center and a business accelerator. This strategic direction underscores bank’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurs and startups, fostering innovation and creativity among the youth, as well as encouraging investments that contribute to sustainable economic development.
Arab Bank has recently renewed its support for the “Sunbulah” initiative, implemented by “Al Jude Foundation for Scientific Care” at public schools in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. The initiative aims to instill a culture of creativity among teachers and students, enhance the school environment and address its challenges using innovative solutions, thus achieving a culture of partnership among teachers, students, the school and society.
Managing Partner of Al Jude Foundation, a non-profit organization, Maher Kaddoura, affirmed that the NGO’s collaboration with Arab Bank aims to promote sustainable development and instill social entrepreneurship skills among teachers and young students to elevate their way of thinking. Last year, the initiative achieved remarkable success, reaching nearly 1,100 public schools across different governorates of the Kingdom, and training no less than 7,000 male and female teachers to acquire new skills and tools in the field of entrepreneurship, creativity, and problem-solving through simple creative methods, as well as acquiring life and scientific skills through the initiative.
More than 800 projects have been implemented, utilizing unused spaces in schools to establish service projects that benefit both the schools students, and reflecting positively on improving the school environment. Additionally, the initiative has achieved community engagement, strengthened teamwork, and promoted cooperation.
Kaddoura also expressed his pride in collaborating with Arab Bank as a strategic supporter of this initiative and emphasized the importance of this collaboration, which has had a positive impact on the educational environment.
Kaddoura highlighted that the launch of the fourth stage in more than 1,000 public schools across the Kingdom comes in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and with the support of Arab Bank. He also noted that by 2024, there will be competition at the directorate level, increasing the chances of winning awards for schools. The registration is still open for all schools through the website: www.sonbola.org
For his part, Dr. Nawaf Al Ajarmeh, the Secretary-General of Educational and Technical Affairs, said: “The Ministry of Education strongly believes in the importance of partnership and interaction with the local community, as well as between the private and public sectors. The “Sunbulah” initiative has proven this through its positive impact on the school environment, as well as in enabling our schools to acquire knowledge and increase their experience in implementing and designing community initiatives.”
Arab Bank’s support of this initiative is part of its social responsibility program “Together”, 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 areas related to health, poverty alleviation, environmental protection, education, orphan support, and women empowerment.
The Banker Magazine, owned by the Financial Times and based in London, named Arab Bank as Bank of the Year in the Middle East for 2023. The announcement came during The Banker’s “Bank of The Year Awards 2023” ceremony held recently in London and attended by several senior representatives from leading banks from all over the world.
The Banker’s judging panel’s decision to honor Arab Bank with this highly coveted regional award was based on criteria assessing a number of different indicators, including the Bank’s financials, strategy and performance, in addition to other specific indicators, a process that takes over 5 months to conduct.
The Banker Magazine, for more than 90 years, has been the world's longest-running international banking title and the leading monthly journal of record for the global banking industry.
Commenting on this recognition, Ms. Randa Sadik, Arab Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, said: Such global recognition is a testament to the leading position Arab Bank enjoys both locally and regionally. It reflects the bank’s consistent ability to deliver solid performance despite the challenging circumstances across the region and the world.” She added, “The bank continues to provide a wide range of banking solutions to its customers in line with its comprehensive strategy and its well-established institutional approach, with an ambitious, forward looking vision that keeps pace with the latest technological developments in the banking industry."
Arab Bank received significant recognition and awards from various reputed international and regional institutions during last year, including Best Bank in the Middle East for 2023 from New York-based Global Finance publication, for the eighth consecutive year.
Arab Bank, headquartered in Amman Jordan, was established in 1930 and currently has one of the largest global Arab banking networks with over 600 branches spanning five continents and covering key financial markets and centres.