Ithmaar Bank reports stable, consistent growth

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Ithmaar Bank B.S.C. (Closed), a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2019.

The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, follows the review and approval of the Board of Directors of the Bank’s consolidated financial results.

Ithmaar Bank’s financial results show a net loss attributable to equity holders for the three-month period ended 31 December 2019 of BD4 million, a 2509 percent increase compared to the net loss of BD0.15 million reported for 2018 resulting mainly due to prudent impairment provisions. Total net loss for the three-month period ended 31 December 2019 was BD2.8 million compared to the net profit of BD9.38 million reported for 2018.

As a result, the net loss attributable to equity holders for the year ended 31 December 2019 was BD1.35 million compared to the net profit of BD1.41 million reported for 2018.

Total net profit for the year ended 31 December 2019 was BD2.48 million, a 82.5 percent decrease compared to the net profit of BD14.14 million reported for 2018, which was then mainly due a one-off gain from Dilmunia Development Fund I L.P when it became a subsidiary of the Bank in 2018.

“On behalf of the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors, I am pleased to report that, although the Bank did not report a profit for the year, it continues to report stable, consistent growth with improved products and services as well as increased customer deposits,” said HRH Prince Amr. “This is in line with the Bank’s commitment to focusing on its core retail banking business while working to realise our shared vision of becoming one of the region’s leading retail banks,” he said.

Total income for the year ended 31 December 2019 was BD171.22 million, a 12.8 percent increase compared to the total income of BD151.78 million reported for 2018, mainly due to increases in core income. Operating income for the year ended 31 December 2019 was BD83.59 million, remaining stable and with a 0.3 percent decrease compared to the BD83.82 million reported for 2018.

Ithmaar Bank’s total assets stood at BD2.98 billion as at 31 December 2019, a 4.7 percent decrease compared to BD3.13 billion as at 31 December 2018, mainly due to a decrease in the investment securities portfolio of a subsidiary. Total owners’ equity stood at BD79.17 million as at 31 December 2019, a 7.3 percent decrease compared to BD85.39 million as 31 December 2018, resulting mainly from the impact of the devaluation of Pakistan Rupee.

Despite challenging conditions, the equity of unrestricted investment account holders grew to BD1.06 billion as at 31 December 2019, a 6.9 percent increase compared to BD0.995 billion as at 31 December 2018, reflecting customer confidence in the Bank.

“The Bank’s unwavering focus on its core retail banking business is building a stable foundation while setting the stage for continued growth,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “The focus throughout 2019 has been on preparing the Bank to fully realise the tremendous opportunities that lie ahead. This, in turn, has earned the Bank two key awards in 2019, both reflecting our ability to stay ahead of the curve both locally and regionally as well as highlighting the significance of our digital initiatives,” he said.

In December 2019, Ithmaar Bank was named “Fastest Growing Islamic Fintech Bank” at the World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC). The prestigious award was presented by Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) Governor, Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, at the WIBC. According to organisers, the award is granted to the top Islamic financial institutions based on their aggregate performance scores against multiple measures on a global and regional level. Award recipients are those that secure the top aggregate score at the global and regional level.

Ithmaar Bank was also named “Best Bank for Personal Finance in Bahrain” in 2019 by the World Union of Arab Bankers (WUAB) at a high-profile ceremony hosted in Beirut, Lebanon, and attended by senior bankers from across the Middle East. Ithmaar Bank earned the prestigious award following a comprehensive selection and review process that was conducted by a committee of high-level economists and banking professionals, as well the research department of the Union of Arab Banks (UAB) and the WUAB.

In 2019, Ithmaar Bank launched a customer-centric chat service on WhatsApp Business social media platform to help further improve its customers’ banking experience.  As a result, customers can request information from WhatsApp about Ithmaar Bank products and services, as well as make general inquiries about branch locations and timings, ATM locations, Thimaar draw dates and winners list, as well as ongoing promotions and campaigns. The launch of the chat service on WhatsApp Business was part of Ithmaar Bank’s committed, bank-wide digital initiative which aims to build on the Bank’s history of innovation. Most recently, this included the launch of the region’s first biometric-enabled ATM network.

In October 2019, as part of its efforts to continuously improve its customers’ banking experience, Ithmaar Bank also inaugurated a new branch in Muharraq. The branch, which is more accessible and offers better parking facilities than Ithmaar Bank’s earlier branch in Muharraq, was commissioned in response to customer demands and underscored how seriously the Bank takes customer feedback. The new branch maintains Ithmaar Bank’s network of 16 branches and 42 ATM machines, one of the largest retail banking networks in Bahrain.

Ithmaar Bank’s subsidiary, Faysal Bank Limited, one of the fastest growing retail banks in Pakistan, also reported improved performance and continues with the aggressive branch expansion program under which it has opened 275 new branches since 2016. In 2019 alone, Faysal Bank Limited opened 100 new branches. The total number of branches stood at 555 as of 31 December 2019.

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