(MENAFN - Arab Times) Commenting on the Bank's performance for 2013, Ahmed Yousuf Behbehani, Chairman of the Board, stated the following:
These results reflect a solid all round performance by the Bank with all key business indicators growing despite the challenging macroeconomic conditions. The Bank's disciplined balance sheet management, income diversification strategies, strong revenue generating capability and profitability metrics have enabled us to deliver these results as we also continued to improve our operating efficiencies, containing spending and holding costs in check. On provisioning we continued to remain prudent and conservative in our policies as we built up our precautionary provision coverage while our risk management practices became even more vigilant and focused. We have met with some success during the year as we managed to reduce our non-performing assets and continue our efforts to improve asset quality.
Our strong capital adequacy which is the highest among domestic peers and well ahead of international norms gives us the capacity and resilience to absorb losses and sufficient capital to expand operations, strengths that give us a strong foundation for growth in the coming years as opportunities arise, some indications of which were already visible in the form of increased credit off take as seen during the latter half of this year with more government projects coming on stream. Further, we have also maintained our credit ratings at investment grade from international rating agencies Moody's and Fitch which recognise the Bank's strong capital position, earnings capacity and resilience, and stable funding and liquidity sources.
Commenting on the Bank's branches, the Chairman stated the following:
Currently the Bank has a retail franchise of 30 branches with 28 branches in Kuwait and 2 in the UAE, one each in Dubai and Abu Dhabi with plans to further expand the network to better serve customers and meet their expectations. Customer service is of utmost importance to us and we continue to invest in technology, develop of new products to satisfy customer needs, and improve our processes to provide better services to our customers. On the regulatory side we have implemented new policies and processes to comply with the new Corporate Governance regulations issued by the Central Bank of Kuwait and are ready to comply with the new FATCA and Basel III regulations when introduced.
The Chairman stated that the Bank is well placed to capitalise on opportunities as the local economy improves and to take advantage in the UAE of the economic impetus expected following Dubai's Expo 2020 win. The Bank had also developed appropriate strategies to perpetuate and enhance the Bank's profitability and value proposition for its shareholders and customers. In conclusion, he thanked the Bank's valued customers for their trust and confidence, the management and staff for their hard work and loyalty, the Board of Directors for their guidance and supervision, and shareholders for their continued support and faith.