Message from Ali Mousa Al Mousa, Chairman of Commercial Bank of Kuwait during the General Assembly Meeting
In the name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Our valued shareholders,
I have the pleasure to present today a significant turnaround in Commercial Bank of Kuwait’s performance which is crowned by outstanding success achieved by the Bank despite the challenges & difficulties the Bank has faced. The global banking industry, as we all know, undergoes major changes whether in the banking products or the methodologies of delivering services to customers.
As such, the Bank was very proactive and realized the importance of rapidly adapting to such changes. The Bank started, some time back, to introduce the self-service approach and was able to develop self-service related platforms internally.
It was expected that some of our customers will not be much enthusiastic to adopt self-service technique for banking with us, while the majority of our customers particularly our corporate segment have opted for this service and commended it. The Bank may be among the forerunners in introducing it in Kuwait but we endeavour to follow & catch up with the worldwide financial institutions which were ahead of us specifically in the advanced countries.
The issue is not much complicated and we believe that Kuwaiti banking sector will take the lead in employing the self service tools and in very short time we will see substantial transformation in Kuwait banking industry in form and substance. However, the changes seen in the banking industry, and to which the Bank was highly responsive, have left over positive impact on the Bank’s financial results that truly reflect the position of any banking institution. The Bank is now among the best local banks in profitability ratios.
2017 Financial Highlights on the Bank’s Business
In view of the above, the results of our strategy, client focused approach, talent development and robust risk management are reflected in the financial statements of the Bank as we reported a net profit of KD 55.4 million in 2017 compared to KD 50.4 in 2016, a growth of 10.0%. These results have reflected positively on the financial performance ratios, where return on average equity reached 9.5% and the return on average assets reached 1.3%. The earnings per share are 33.9 fils (compared to 30.8 fils for the last year). The Bank witnessed a healthy growth in all the key areas of its business. Net interest income grew by 10.4% and fee income grew by 7.8%. The Bank’s balance sheet reached KD 4,395 million with a growth of KD 269 million (6.5%). Shareholders’ equity reached KD 625 million with a growth of 7.6%. A strong bond and quality loan portfolio helped to improve the assets’ yield. Cost of funds was maintained at a reasonably low level. The cost/income ratio is 30.8% for year-ending 31 December 2017, which is amongst the lowest in Kuwaiti banks.
A concentrated effort to recover the previously written-off loans yielded results; KD 33 million were recovered during 2017, while cumulative recovery during the last six years has been KD 138 million.
The Bank’s Management’s focus extended to cover other issues as well. As such and out of its corporate social responsibility, the Bank has taken an initiative to safeguard the funds of orphans & minors. This was illustrated with the Bank’s endeavours to maintain & safeguard the funds and savings of customers while they are alive and money of their heirs. The Bank initiated proactive procedures to prevent illegal access to such funds through the direct linkage with the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI), along with obtaining the daily list of the Departed customers. The Bank’s dedicated Systems Development team managed to develop full-fledged program which enables the Bank to have daily access to such lists along with matching & comparing the same with the Bank’s customers’ base. In case the data of any of the Bank’s customers is corresponding with the data included in the said list, the system will automatically deactivate the accounts of this customer and related power of attorney. The system also dispatches notifications to the concerned areas to verify the validity of the procedure and take the necessary action. In this regard, it is worthwhile to hail and highlight the Public Authority for Civil Information’s ongoing cooperation with the banking sector where PACI became a platform and a basic element of any integrated technical work that requires access to accurate and secured data.
The considerable developments seen in banking industry pave the way to new horizons for this industry. The banking industry will continue benefiting from the successive technological advances in the short and long term. It goes without saying that Kuwait banking sector is positioned to satisfy the prospective customer expectations. It is hoped that the development of government legislations & instructions will be attuned to such variables so that the customers can benefit from such developments seen in the banking industry. As a clear manifestation of the development the banking industry has undergone, tools & systems are now in place that can be used by customers to pay for low-value purchases (lower than KD 10) without the need to insert ATM card in the POS terminal e.g. the contactless cards (NFC) which became available for customers to pay for their purchases without the need to insert card in the POS terminal in addition to the e-wallets.
Accordingly, the Bank endeavoured to cope with such developments and to plan for the future by issuing contactless cards to all its customers. We look forward to apply the e-wallets system and other tools. The Bank’s ambition & endeavours to keep up with the prospective developments are reflected in other services and systems applied at the Bank including for example:
n Upgrading the Smart Queue system where customer’s transaction is processed once it becomes ready for processing without the need for customer to wait until serving customer who reached and requested services before him changing the concept of service from First In First Out (FIFO) to First Ready First Out (FRFO).
n Account opening process and issuance of cards & prepaid cards by communicating with Contact Centre agents via Kiosks in addition to other services that are available via kiosks.
The Bank will continue its efforts to upgrade its service and product offering as a number of innovative e-services are still in the pipeline. This will include Smart ATMs & Deposit Machines. Undoubtedly, the cooperation between banks and regulatory authorities will help to streamline & accelerate the development process of banking business, thus positioning Kuwait banking sector at the forefront of regional markets and add more related advantages to this vital sector that will place it within the the advanced banking sectors.
Thanks for our Supporters
In conclusion, I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to our valued customers for choosing Commercial Bank of Kuwait as a source of their banking services and we promise them to continue our concerted efforts to earn the trust they have in the Bank to process their daily banking transactions and achieve more progress in the future. I would also like to extend my thanks to the Bank’s shareholders for their continued support which mainly helped the Bank to considerably increase the volume of its assets and net profitability over the previous years and promise them to continue enhancing the shareholders’ value, Executive Management Team & all staff members who are the mainstay of the Bank’s success and its most important assets and the regulatory authorities represented in the Central Bank of Kuwait for its sincere efforts in safeguarding the banking & financial sector in the state of Kuwait.