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Kuwait: NBK Mobile Banking.. The Ultimate Travel Companion

22.02.2024

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) always strives to enrich its digital banking services provided through the NBK Mobile Banking App by introducing new features and enhancements that are meticulously designed to meet customers’ expectations and enable them to manage their accounts, and make more transactions easily and securely, anytime, anywhere, especially during the official holidays and travel seasons.

Managing cards during travel

Customers can manage their debit, credit, and prepaid cards while traveling. They can inform the bank by selecting the cards they would like to use while being abroad.

Report lost/stolen cards

Users can report/lost stolen cards with a click of a button via the App. Once the card has been reported, a replacement card will be issued automatically.

Temporarily block/unblock credit cards

Users have the capability to easily block or unblock their credit cards using the App with just a few simple steps. The service is instant, safe, and available around the clock.

Easier transfers

Transfers are made easier now, as customers don’t need an OTP. Instead, they can authenticate with their password or biometrics (Face ID).

FlexiPay

FlexiPay is available on the App providing eligible NBK Credit Cardholders with the flexibility to make payments for their in-store or online purchases, whether made locally or internationally.

Quick Pay

Customers can use the enhanced service of Quick Pay to send links and receive money, anytime, even during the weekends and official holidays, and choose the preferred method of sharing the link.

Transfer receipt

App users will get a transfer receipt after making transfers. They can also refer to the account statement, go to the transfer transaction, and get the transfer receipt.

Manage registered devices

Users can manage their registered devices on NBK Mobile Banking through the App itself. They can add a device or delete it. For the safety and security of the customer, NBK is keen to limit the number of devices allowed to register for the service.

In addition, the bank has recently released new useful services and enhanced some so the transactions can go through easily including: applying for cards, loans, or increasing credit card limit prior to travel, displaying amount on hold for credit cards and accounts, finding currency exchange rates, in addition to the existing services such as increasing or amending monthly transfer limits, making bill payments, and much more.

Commenting on this, Mohammed AL Dakheel, Head of Mobile Banking, Consumer Banking Group at National Bank of Kuwait said: “Through NBK Mobile Banking App, we provide a full-fledged banking experience aiming to empower customers digitally and provide them with the latest and most advanced banking services.”

“The NBK Mobile Banking App is well deservedly called the “Ultimate Companion” for NBK Customers. It is also considered the bank’s main digital channel, which accounts for the major share of banking transactions with over 600,000 registered users and over 68 million transactions made through the App in 2023,” he added.

“During 2023, we introduced over 50 releases, each included a bundle of new services and enhancements. With the new interface and enhancements, the App has become more user-friendly, smarter, enabling users to make their transactions faster with less screens,” he explained.

Through the NBK Mobile Banking App, NBK aims to offer customers a secure platform to conveniently manage their finances at any given moment. This service facilitates a wide range of banking activities, including opening new accounts, monitoring transactions on accounts and credit cards, accessing accumulated NBK Miles and NBK Rewards Program points, settling credit card dues, making payments for electronic bills, locating the nearest NBK Branches, ATMs, and CDMs across Kuwait, submitting requests for account statements, updating personal information, as well as toll-free numbers to call when they are abroad to reach the bank for any help/inquiry.

Customers can easily download the NBK Mobile Banking App, which is currently available on various platforms including the Apple Store, Google Play Store, and the Huawei App Gallery.



Kuwait: NBK Organizes “Safe Ramadan” Campaign in Collaboration With Kuwait Fire Force

14.04.2024

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) in collaboration with Kuwait Fire Force organizes its Safe Campaign during the summer season. 

NBK volunteers along with the Kuwait Fire Force team visited Kuwait Towers, to provide visitors with safety kits that included a fire blanket, fire alarm, first aid and fire extinguisher to support ensuring that they adhere to regulations for safety. 

“The campaign targeted limiting the fire incidents during Ramadan”, said Yaqoub Al Baqer, NBK Public Relations Senior Manager. “NBK Volunteers and Fire Force team visited Kuwait towers to distribute the safety kits”.

“NBK aims to help keep the environment clean and people safe this Ramadan. The visits aimed to urge people to enhance their security as well as environmental awareness about precautions to be used to prevent accident fires and maintain cleanliness”, he added.

NBK and Kuwait Fire Force Team distributed safety kits and provided visitors with a safety kit ensuring that they adhere to regulations for safety and wellbeing.

Al Baqer praised the Fire force efforts and the influential role they play in raising to avoid accidents during camping. 



Kuwait: NBK Receives Brandon Hall Group Bronze Excellence Award 

14.04.2024

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) received the coveted Brandon Hall Group Bronze Medal for its excellence in the “Best Advance in Compliance Training” in the Learning and Development program, acknowledging its outstanding training and development programs.

The award was presented to Mr. Emad Al-Ablani, GM – head of Group Human Resources by the representative of IQUAD, the leading digital learning solutions provider at NBK HQ.

Brandon Hall Group employed an extensive set of criteria to select the winners of the 2023 Excellence Awards. These criteria were developed based on an assessment of the success of the compliance training in satisfying learning objectives and aligning with the business environment.

They also examined whether the program's design was rooted in a well-defined business goal and effectively supported compliance objectives. Furthermore, they ensured that compliance training positively influenced both organizational goals and learning outcomes and that the program produced quantifiable benefits and outcomes. Finally, these criteria sought to establish if the overall compliance training program positively impacted both learners and the organization.

Brandon Hall Group is a prominent global research organization headquartered in the United States. For over 21 years, the company has been dedicated to recognizing exceptional initiatives and best practices in various areas, including education, leadership development, the promotion of diversity and inclusion, and numerous other aspects related to human resources.

The Brandon Hall Awards for Excellence in Human Resources Management were initiated over two decades ago and remain a pioneering recognition program in education and development. 

These awards consistently draw participation from companies spanning various industries and regions worldwide, including government entities, private businesses, joint ventures, and non-profit organizations. Their enduring prestige and widespread recognition underscore their profound importance and esteemed reputation on the global stage.

The compliance training program stands as a crucial initiative in collaboration with IQUAD, NBK’s digital learning partner, tailored to meet the training requirements of employees and facilitate their comprehension and adherence to the bank's policies and procedures, as well as relevant laws and regulations. The program's training content is engaging, interactive, and extensive, incorporating various teaching approaches such as videos, simulations, and assessments. These methods ensure a more comprehensive understanding and practical application of compliance requirements.

NBK Training and Development Department continually adapts its initiatives by recognizing the evolving requirements of the group's workforce. This includes introducing new educational opportunities to foster an open work culture and cultivating an environment that inspires employees to innovate and unleash their creativity.

NBK is consistently seeking inventive methods to streamline learning and improve its accessibility to benefit employees, all while placing a significant emphasis on the practical implementation of the acquired knowledge. Furthermore, NBK has cultivated exclusive training programs through collaborations with prestigious universities and institutions worldwide over the years. This strategic partnership ensures the delivery of exceptional, top-quality training tailored to meet the diverse needs of employees across various functional levels within the NBK Group.



Kuwait: NBK Provides access to RMs on the Go with Contact Your RM” Feature on MoB

07.04.2024

NBK always strives to elevate Privilege Banking services for a standout customer experience, the new service provides customers with seamless interaction with their Relationship Managers. This innovative service puts customers directly in touch with their Dedicated Relationship Manager, offering seamless and personalized banking experience on the go. 

On this occasion, Intekhab Abbas Head -of Premium segment, Consumer Banking Group at National Bank of Kuwait said: “This new service will allow Privilege Package customers easily access their Relationship Manager’s contact information, including Relationship Manager name, phone number, and email address directly within NBK Mobile Banking App, along with ability to call, e-mail and WhatsApp them through the app as well. The NBK Mobile App will also facilitate easy appointment booking with their Relationship Manager. The feature will also allow the customer to conveniently displays their Relationship Manager’s branch location, and working hours, keeping them informed and empowered. This service can be accessed under Premium Banking section specially created in the application”.

NBK offers Privilege Banking Customers an exclusive array of services that has been strengthened to ensure a quality customer experience. These services include: a Dedicated Global Relationship Manager taking care of all their local and global banking needs, as well as a wide range of preferential services and financial products, Premium Services Lounges and Premium Concierge Service. Furthermore, Privilege Customers can avail the advantages of Family Banking Services, Global Banking, NBK Home Banking and Multicurrency cash delivery in Kuwait.

Our Premium Banking Customers also benefit from the Premium Banking Teller Services, priority in making their transactions in a quick and easy way, card home delivery service, priority status when contacting NBK Call Center on 1801801 that’s available 24/7.

In addition to "Know Your Relationship Manager" NBK has recently enhanced Privilege Banking benefits by introducing a new travel experience that redefines the travel experience for our Privilege Customers. Customers can now enjoy exclusive services such as Fast Track check-in, Extra luggage, Seasonal free Limousine ride during travel season, Exclusive Hotel Offers, Free Luggage Delivery, Discounted Umrah Packages, Visa Assistance, and discounts on luggage at Samsonite.

As NBK maintains its dedication to top-notch Privilege Banking services, we continue to innovate and provide customers with unparalleled banking experience.



Kuwait: NBK Shares Gergean Happy Moments with Children at NBK Hospital

25.03.2024

On the occasion of the Holy month of Ramadan, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) held its annual Gergean event at NBK Specialty Hospital and Stem Cell Therapy Unit, at Al Sabah Medical district, to celebrate with the children the happy moments of Gergean and present them with felicitations and gifts.

Mr. Shaikha Al Bahar, NBK Group Deputy Chief Executive Officer, along with NBK Public Relations and NBK Family shared happy moments with children.

NBK has always considered supporting the children an essential part of its social and community outreach. Sharing with these children residing at NBK Hospital major social and religious occasions come as part of an extensive social outreach program specifically mapped out and implemented by NBK.

NBK’s visit to the hospital was emotional and overwhelming for both the children and NBK Team. It is a well rooted tradition that has been carried out by NBK each year in its efforts to continuously have an active role in the Kuwaiti society. 

NBK Children’s Hospital stands as a landmark for the bank's social initiatives towards children. NBK expanded the hospital’s capacity and opened recently the only Stem Cell Therapy Unit for children in Kuwait, further expanding its hospital’s ability to treat children with cancer and blood diseases. Recently, NBK donated KD 13 million to the ministry of health to build a new full equipped medical building to increase the hospital’s capacity. 

Helping and supporting children and their families are integral parts of the Bank's culture and practices that reflect its deep commitment to its corporate social responsibility. 

Since its establishment, NBK has been at the forefront of supporting Kuwait’s community through a range of education, health, sports and social initiatives. The establishment of NBK Children Hospital at Al Sabah Medical Area stands as one of many NBK initiatives for children. 

NBK has undertaken several initiatives to support the healthcare sector in Kuwait, including the establishment of NBK’s Children’s Hospital at Al Sabah Medical Area, which provides medical care to underprivileged children. The hospital houses a number of clinics specialized in leukemia treatments, neurology, psychiatry and pediatrics as well as surgeries and operating theatres.

In line with NBK Children Hospital’s strategy to provide integrated care for patients, the hospital’s management embeds the wellbeing of children and their families as a key part of the treatment programs and healthcare services. To this end, the hospital organizes many various activities to ensure continuous communication with patients and their families, as well as to raise patients’ satisfaction and encourage them to socialize and distract from the pains of treatment.

On Mondays of every week all year round, the hospital holds a fun activity for children treated at NBK’s Specialized Hospital for Children, including inpatients and outpatients visiting the hospital for the necessary medical examinations to follow up on their health conditions.

NBK has also provided an indoor cinema for inpatient children to watch their favorite movies with their siblings.

NBK also organizes ‘I Dream to Be’ program, which is the first of its kind for children in Kuwait hospitals who are facing life-threatening conditions. The initiative helps the children realize their ‘dreams’ in an effort to improve their emotional and psychological wellbeing and help them fight the diseases. Through this program NBK helped many patients realize their dreams over the past years.

The hospital also provides a number of integrated social programs for children and their families as well as the medical staff to ensure an integrated benefit for all. This includes including organizing weekly entertainment activities and the selection of “champion of the week”, in addition to choosing “the nurse of the month”. The hospital also organizes regular activities including “reading corner”, library, reading sessions, visits and entertainment activities. This comes within the endeavors to support and care not only for children during their treatment journey, but also for the attending medical staff.



Kuwait: NBK Distributes Thousands of Iftar Meals at Different Areas in Kuwait

24.03.2024

As part of fulfilling its ongoing corporate social responsibilities and on the occasion of the Holy Month of Ramadan, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK)’s Public Relations Team distributed thousands of meals and special convoys to fasters daily at many Areas in Kuwait. This initiative comes within the framework of the ongoing "Do Good Deeds in Ramadan" philanthropic campaign launched by the bank.

Also, NBK distributed dates and water at different intersections and bus stops in Kuwait before iftar time as part of “Do Good Deeds in Ramadan”. The campaign aimed to raise awareness at reducing accidents, speeding and committing traffic violations during the holy month of Ramadan, especially during the run up to iftar at different areas.

The initiative involved a large number of NBK volunteers who distributed small snacks for drivers to break their fasting around Iftar time, at strategic intersections and traffic lights, as well as bus stops.

 “NBK Iftar banquets, an annual NBK philanthropic tradition and a landmark activity within the bank’s corporate social responsibility, acquired much more momentum this year distributing daily thousands of Iftar banquets at many Areas in Kuwait, including Farwaniya, Salmiya, Bneid Al Qar and Jleeb, in addition to hospitals: Amiri, Mubarak and Sabah as well as Kuwait Airport terminals 1 and 2”, said Talal Al Turki, NBK Public Relations Senior Manager.

"The distribution scale and range of NBK Iftar banquets this year also included distributing fast-breaking meals via special convoys to various crowded locations in Kuwait. A large number of NBK staff volunteers was ready to serve the fasters", Al Turki added.

Commenting on dates and water distribution,  “NBK is proud to launch this initiative, which combines giving and sharing spirit in offering snacks to drivers to break their fasting and raising safety awareness to reduce traffic accidents, especially around Iftar time”. He stated.

“NBK is committed to adopting value-added social initiatives, especially those related to the holy month of Ramadan,” he added.

For almost three decades, the Ramadan program comprised a series of activities and initiatives aimed at encouraging community engagement and solidarity in Kuwait. “NBK hopes to encourage a greater sense of responsibility during the holy month”, Al Turki noted.

It is worth mentioning that NBK’s NBK Iftar banquet campaign launched with the commencement of the Holy Month of Ramadan as part of an extensive social program comprising a multitude of philanthropic activities.



Kuwait: NBK’s AGM Approves All Motions Proposed by the Board of Directors

24.03.2024

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) for 2023 on Saturday, March 23, 2024, with a quorum of 71.87%. The AGM approved the Board of Directors’ recommendation to distribute 25% cash dividend to shareholders (25 fils per share) for the second half of the financial year, bringing the total cash dividend distributions for the year to 35%, in addition to the distribution of 5% bonus shares (5 shares for every 100 shares owned).

Consistent Progress

In his speech to the AGM attendees, Mr. Hamad Al-Bahar, NBK Group Chairman, emphasized that the strong financial results achieved by the bank in 2023 highlight its unique business model and strong financial position. This performance reaffirms NBK’s dedication to providing the highest returns for shareholders and promoting sustainable growth.

Al-Bahar highlighted the multitude of successes attained by the bank in 2023, further solidifying its track record of accomplishments and leadership both domestically and internationally. These endeavors were acknowledged with numerous prestigious awards, further affirming NBK’s position of excellence.

"Our sustained achievements stem from our core strategy of diversification, which lies at the foundation of our operations. By strategically expanding our portfolio and services across various geographical locations, we mitigate risks, capitalize on potential opportunities, and reinforce our dedication to adaptability, resilience, and long-term stability."

"We remain committed to making substantial strides in executing our strategic agenda, and we are optimistic that our accomplishments over the past year will serve as a catalyst for enhanced performance in the future." Al-Bahar emphasized. He also underscored NBK's robust balance sheet and stable capital foundation, highlighting their role in meeting the evolving demands of customers and delivering optimal returns for shareholders.

Al-Bahar further stated, "Our endeavors yielded improvements across all key performance indicators compared to the previous year. This underscores the effectiveness and adaptability of our long-standing strategy, solidifying our position as a safe haven for investors, depositors, wealth management clients, individuals, and businesses alike. Moreover, we remain committed to leveraging the potential of digital transformation and sustainability initiatives, while fostering collaboration with communities, corporations, and individuals to foster a brighter and more inclusive future."

Social Responsibility

Al-Bahar highlighted the bank's prominent role in social responsibility over the past year, establishing itself as a leader in Kuwait. The bank contributed over KD 28 million across various sectors including healthcare, childcare, societal initiatives, environmental causes, sports, and education.

Expanding our Footprint

Discussing the bank's prospects for the current year, Al-Bahar remarked, "Regarding our outlook for 2024, our expansion efforts will primarily focus on Kuwait as our core market, with strategic initiatives in the GCC markets. We intend to further strengthen our presence in current markets through strategic investments. Additionally, the bank aims to introduce its proven digital banking solutions in other markets, while enhancing its footprint across MENA region."

Unwavering commitment

Al-Bahar emphasized NBK's unwavering dedication to upholding the highest ethical standards and governance principles. He highlighted the bank's dynamic and proactive governance framework, which fosters transparency, accountability, and ethical conduct across all levels. Al-Bahar noted that the Board of Directors, in collaboration with the dedicated executive management team, prioritizes aligning strategic decisions with the bank's core values to effectively serve the interests of its shareholders.

Historical Earnings

Meanwhile, Mr. Isam J. Al-Sager, NBK Group Vice Chairman and CEO, outlined in his speech that the bank reached its highest annual profit on record in 2023 and maintained strong profit trends. This accomplishment was supported by its diversified business model, strategic investments, and resilience in the face of various economic conditions.

Al-Sager highlighted that despite the challenging operating environment and geopolitical tensions experienced last year, the bank achieved a record profit of KD 560.6 million, marking a year-on-year growth of 10.1%. Additionally, the operating profit surged to KD 1.2 billion, reflecting a substantial increase of 15.6%.

Al-Sager further stated, "Our core segments exhibited strong performance and sustained operational momentum, particularly in our international operations and wealth management divisions. Additionally, Boubyan Bank further supported our competitive edge in the local market as the sole banking group offering both Islamic and conventional banking services in Kuwait."

He explained that the bank maintained consistent dividend rates of 35 fils per share by the end of the year, highlighting the strong financial position of the Group and its commitment to providing shareholders with optimal returns.

He highlighted that as of December 31, 2023, total assets stood at KD 37.7 billion, marking a 3.7% year-on-year increase. He attributed this growth primarily to the expanding volume of the Group's business across diverse sectors and activities.

Al-Sager also indicated that shareholders' equity reached KD 3.7 billion, reflecting a notable annual growth of about 7.3%. Return on average shareholders' equity stood at 15.0%, while return on average assets demonstrated strong rates, reaching 1.53% in 2023. Moreover, customer deposits surged to KD 21.9 billion by year end, marking an 8.8% increase compared to 2022. Concurrently, loans and advances experienced a growth of 6.1%, reaching KD 22.3 billion. Additionally, the capital adequacy ratio surpassed the minimum required levels, reaching 17.3%.

Challenges and Opportunities

Al-Sager remarked that Kuwait encountered challenges akin to those experienced globally in 2023. However, he highlighted several opportunities seized upon during the past year. These included the sustained increase in oil prices, the flexibility observed in consumer spending, accelerated growth in the projects market compared to previous years, positive trends in employment and population growth, advancements in the refining sector, and a less hawkish monetary policy approach. These factors collectively contributed to shaping a favorable economic environment in Kuwait.

He highlighted that the remarkable achievements of the bank in the previous year were attributable to several factors, including leveraging its geographical footprint, advancing the digital transformation initiative, and maintaining a robust financial position. These aspects strengthened revenue streams while maintaining the bank's prudent policies over the years. Consequently, this positively impacted asset quality and boosted capitalization.

Centre of Attention 

Al-Sager emphasized that in 2023, NBK continued its commitment to prioritizing customers by offering innovative digital services and products to support their financial objectives.

Wealth Management

Al-Sager highlighted that in the previous year, NBK Wealth was introduced as a premier destination for pioneering and sophisticated wealth management solutions. It offers an extensive array of comprehensive services in private banking and advanced asset management through a global network spanning 9 cities across 5 countries.

In the domain of digital transformation, Al-Sager emphasized that the bank leads among financial institutions in digital innovation, prioritizing a banking experience tailored to the actual needs and aspirations of its customers. He noted that the bank's unwavering dedication to addressing customer needs has played a pivotal role in reshaping the lifestyles of its customers through a meticulously crafted range of digital services and products.

Sustainability Momentum

Al-Sager elaborated that the bank sustained its progress in sustainability by embarking on a new trajectory for its environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) strategy. This involved the adoption of a formal ESG governance framework and the integration of these standards across its services and products. For instance, it introduced green mortgage loans, consumer loans for electric vehicles, financing options related to sustainability, and low-emission housing loans.

“Recently, we have been recognized as the Best Bank in the Middle East for ESG-related loans. Furthermore, we have successfully finalized and approved the ESG framework, clearly defining responsibilities among members of the executive management. We have also established the Sustainability and Climate Change Committee, which operates under the direct oversight of the Board of Directors.

Al-Sager highlighted that NBK has maintained a high score by CDP, distinguishing itself as the sole bank in Kuwait to receive this recognition. Furthermore, NBK ranks among the highest-rated GCC financial institutions engaged in this initiative. Additionally, the bank has committed to reducing total operating emissions by 25% by 2025 and aims to achieve zero emissions operationally by 2035. These initiatives are integral to the bank's overarching plans to attain carbon neutrality by 2060. Consequently, these efforts led to an upgrade in the Bank's MSCI ESG Governance rating to BBB as per the 2023 review.

A Sustainable Future

"Our agile strategy and resilient business model will persist in steering us towards delivering utmost value to our stakeholders, serving as a cornerstone in our journey towards a digital and sustainable future. We remain steadfast in our commitment to sustaining revenue growth through responsible banking practices, strategic investment in our future, innovative products and services, enhancement of our digital capabilities, fostering holistic community development, and playing a significant role in fostering economic growth in Kuwait and beyond." Al-Sager said.

Focus on profitability

"As we navigate the opportunities and challenges of 2024, our dedication to prioritizing profitability, capital resilience, and sustainable growth remains unwavering. However, we recognize the need to closely monitor several challenges, with geopolitical tensions in the region standing out as particularly significant." Al-Sager concluded.

Diverse Mix

On the sidelines of the AGM, Ms. Shaikha K. Al-Bahar, NBK Deputy Group CEO highlighted that NBK has witnessed positive growth trends in the previous year, demonstrating continued success in executing its strategic plans, confirming that the primary sources of profitability in 2023 were centered around core banking operations.

Al-Bahar explained that NBK's performance in 2023 showcased the effectiveness of its diverse business portfolio and prudent risk management practices. She highlighted the substantial strides made in executing its customer-centric strategy, underscoring NBK's sustained momentum across various fronts. This encompassed achieving robust levels of capitalization, maintaining high credit quality, and strengthening customer relationships, all of which led to an expansion in business volume.

She emphasized that these factors were pivotal in driving last year’s strong performance and will play a significant role in generating sustainable value for shareholders in the long term. She also highlighted the bank's ongoing commitment to expanding its business operations while enhancing the quality of its services.

"2023 served as a testament to the resilience of our investment philosophy in driving growth initiatives and the importance of customer-centricity. These factors propelled the ongoing expansion across our diverse business sectors. Throughout the year, we remained committed to investing in the future, enhancing our digital capabilities to improve customer service, and introducing innovative products and solutions aimed at facilitating our customers' banking needs." Al-Bahar said.

Al-Bahar emphasized that the International Banking Group (IBG) maintained robust performance and supported the balance sheet, accounting for 24% of operating income and 23% of the Group's profits. This underscores their significant contribution to the overall performance of the Group.

She highlighted that in 2024, IBG will strengthen the bank's footprint in key regional markets, particularly in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. This will involve targeting Government Related Entities and Top-Tier Corporations. Additionally, strategic expansion efforts will focus on the European Union, particularly in corporate lending, trade finance, Commercial Real Estate, and residential mortgages. The Group also aims to strengthen its footprint in Asia through its regional hub in Singapore while diversifying its Commercial Real Estate portfolio.

Al-Bahar further emphasized that IBG are committed to diversifying the Group's commercial real estate portfolio. Additionally, they aim to integrate ESG standards into credit management processes while promoting digital and technological investments across the business network.

She emphasized that throughout 2023, the bank remained focused on maintaining high asset quality and strong capitalization. Highlighting the significance of the Saudi market, she noted that it is a key priority for the NBK Group due to the numerous emerging opportunities aligning with the bank's strategic goals. Additionally, she highlighted the profitability of the bank's operations in Egypt, which continue to be among the most lucrative within the Group, boasting the highest returns on both shareholders' equity and assets.

Wealth Management

Al-Bahar highlighted that NBK Wealth Group played a significant role in 2023, contributing 10% to operating income and approximately 11% to the Group's profits. She noted that the previous year marked the official announcement of the launch of its brand, solidifying its position as one of the largest regional groups in comprehensive wealth management. The group caters to high-net-worth individuals and corporations, offering tailored financial advisory services aimed at protecting and growing the wealth of its customers, through offering innovative and comprehensive banking and investment solutions.

She further mentioned that NBK Wealth, with approximately US$37.6 billion in personal financial assets by the end of 2023, boasts an elite team comprising over 100 investment experts and brokers with extensive experience in the field.

Revolutionary Change 

Al-Bahar emphasized that the bank has made significant progress in its digital transformation journey by introducing notable updates and enhancements to the NBK Mobile Banking App. These updates represent a revolutionary shift in how customers engage with their everyday banking requirements through a highly efficient and user-friendly interface. This contributes to enhancing and refining the overall customer experience.

The Best Experience

Al-Bahar highlighted that NBK's efforts persist in delivering top-tier banking experiences, operating with the utmost efficiency, and securing a significant market share by offering customers a broader array of options and numerous value-added services. She underscored the bank's consistent commitment to delivering added value for all stakeholders, employing a balanced approach to boost revenues from diverse sources, and enhancing the Group's profitability. This entails maintaining the bank's prominent position in its core business while fostering growth through expansion into sectors beyond its key business activities.

Digital Offerings 

She emphasized that NBK remains dedicated to investing in its digital offerings to furnish customers with a unique and unparalleled banking experience. This commitment encompasses the implementation of cutting-edge financial tools and unique banking services, along with regular updates to the NBK Mobile Banking App, acclaimed as one of the premier banking applications in the sector. Moreover, NBK leverages data analysis and artificial intelligence across many of its services, employing machine learning techniques to deliver a personalized experience that surpasses customer expectations.

Social Initiatives 

Al-Bahar confirmed that the bank's social initiatives persisted throughout the past year, marked notably by the official introduction of the "Bankee" program. This initiative aims to enhance financial inclusion, particularly among school students, fostering sustainable improvement in financial literacy levels within society. In collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Kuwait Authority for Anti-Corruption "Nazaha,", the program engaged 150 schools and over 16,000 students, supported by the participation of 3,000 teachers. Additionally, the program also included a special needs school for learning difficulties. 

She highlighted that the bank's endeavors to support and empower women saw significant recognition with the NBK Rise program receiving the prestigious Best Initiative for Women in Business accolade at the MEED MENA Banking Excellence 2023. This notable achievement reflects the culmination of the bank's dedicated steps towards women's empowerment. Importantly, this effort extends beyond the bank itself to encompass several leading organizations in Kuwait.

Leadership Centre

On the sidelines of the AGM, Mr. Salah Y. Al-Fulaij, Chief Executive Officer – Kuwait remarked that throughout 2023, NBK’s endeavors were marked by initiatives aimed at strengthening its leading position in Kuwait and enhancing customer loyalty.

Al-Fulaij further added that the bank focused on enhancing and refining the NBK Mobile Banking App by incorporating over 30 enhancements to improve both user interface and experience. He highlighted that the App witnessed over 50 million banking transactions in the past year, marking a notable 19% year-on-year growth.

He emphasized that NBK Mobile Banking App is elevating digital offerings to new levels as part of the bank's ongoing endeavors to empower customers through the digital transformation journey. This is particularly evident in the substantial increase in customer satisfaction rates, exceeding 90%, following the recent update of the new App.

The Youth Segment 

Al-Fulaij indicated that in 2023, the bank continued to leverage the valuable offerings provided by Weyay Bank, increasing its market share in the youth segment to over 30%. Additionally, the bank forged a partnership with MasterCard, which now serves as the exclusive provider of bank cards.

He highlighted that NBK extended bank cards to SMEs as part of its commitment to catering to the needs and demands of this segment. Moreover, the bank entered into several partnerships to introduce new services, including exclusive offers for retirees in collaboration with the Public Institution for Social Security.

He emphasized that the bank has broadened its range of robust offerings for customers in the premium services sector through partnerships with top-tier brands, providing this segment with an exclusive lifestyle experience.

“We will persist in implementing customer-centric strategies that foster technological advancements and introduce innovative initiatives to bolster NBK's standing as a reliable financial partner and establish new benchmarks in Kuwait's banking industry,” Al-Fulaij said.

Al-Fulaij underscored that NBK's commitment to delivering exceptional products and services to its customers earned it several accolades throughout the year, notably being recognized as the Best Innovation and Transformation (World) by Global Finance. He emphasized that NBK's significant and strategic investments in its workforce, operational infrastructure, and digital platforms over the years have unequivocally proven their worth and effectiveness.

Maximum Benefit

Al-Fulaij emphasized that NBK's Personal Banking Group capitalized on the momentum of consumer spending and operations by offering exceptional banking services and products. He highlighted the implementation of a strategy that prioritizes customer choice based on individual needs and lifestyle preferences when designing products. Additionally, he emphasized NBK's commitment to maintaining a significant digital advantage over its competitors.

He added that the Corporate Banking Group remains steadfast in achieving its strategic objectives, with a primary focus on maintaining and expanding NBK's leadership and market share as the preferred corporate partner in Kuwait.

He emphasized that the bank plans to continue leveraging new business opportunities with existing customers and attract new ones, thanks to its exceptional service and the strength of its capital base.

Al-Fulaij elaborated that in 2023, the Corporate Banking Group introduced a pioneering set of commercial cards, the first-of-its-kind in Kuwait, aimed at empowering customers to manage their business expenses effectively. Additionally, new services were introduced to streamline the provision of digital and physical documents to corporate clients, fostering the growth of our medium-sized corporate clientele.

“In 2024,   our focus will remain on maintaining prudent credit risk management practices, We will continuously monitor and assess the performance and effectiveness of our interactions with corporate customers, to continually enhance our offerings. Moreover, we are committed to continue our efforts to integrate ESG standards into our assessments of corporate customer credit and creditworthiness, thereby fostering improved governance in business practices,” Al-Fulaij commented.

Renewed Momentum

Al-Fulaij also noted that Kuwait's operating environment in the past year displayed continued signs of recovery, driven by increased consumer spending and improved business activity. Additionally, there was a gradual recovery in spending and project awards, with project activities experiencing their strongest performance since 2017 in terms of the value of contracts awarded. This positive trend is expected to have a favorable impact on private sector lending.

Key Pillar

Al-Fulaij indicated that the exceptional results achieved by the bank in 2023, along with its robust operational and financial performance, owe much to the exceptional human capital, which stands as the cornerstone of the bank's achievements. He highlighted that the Human Resources Group is persistently dedicated to fostering a work environment conducive to enhancing employees' capabilities, encouraging peak performance, fostering innovation, and driving continuous improvement.

Al-Fulaij revealed that in 2023, NBK allocated approximately 179,000 training hours to its employees, with 142,000 hours dedicated to local training initiatives and 36,700 hours for IBG. 

Moreover, the bank initiated numerous academic, motivational, and cultural programs. He emphasized NBK's commitment to providing equal opportunities to all employees, underscoring that this commitment is evident in the bank's workforce composition. Notably, women accounted for approximately 44% of the total workforce, with around 28.8% holding senior management positions. Additionally, Kuwaiti employees constituted about 76.7% of the total workforce by the end of 2023.

He highlighted that the bank's initiatives persist in fostering a workplace culture where individual advancement meets collective achievements. These initiatives entail offering professional development avenues for employees, equipping them to navigate the complexities of the dynamic landscape and the evolving demands of the sector. "Our investments have not only empowered our employees and supported their capability to tackle challenges but have also positioned our organization as a frontrunner in innovation and competitiveness," He emphasized.

"In 2023, the bank's endeavors culminated in receiving five prestigious awards. Among these accolades were three awards from MEED, recognizing our outstanding contributions to women's empowerment initiatives and sustainable development of human resources. Additionally, we were honored with the bronze award from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The recognition is credited to the NBK RISE program, recognizing the initiative’s excellence in diversity and inclusion. Furthermore, we received the coveted Bronze Medal from Brandon Hall International Group, for our excellence in Best Advance Program in Compliance Training,” Al-Fulaij concluded.
 



Kuwait: NBK Ranks Among the Top-Rated GCC Financial Institutions for Climate Actions by CDP

20.03.2024

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has received a score of "C" for the second consecutive year in the categories of Climate Change and Forests 2023, as announced by CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project), a globally recognized non-profit organization overseeing the leading environmental disclosure platform.

NBK stands out as the sole bank in Kuwait to be rated by CDP, establishing its position among the leading financial institutions in the GCC engaged in the initiative.

A "C" score from CDP reflects the depth of understanding regarding various aspects such as climate change and forestry. It also indicates an in-depth analysis of how businesses approach important environmental topics, integrating them with their business methodology. This entails a holistic understanding of the outcomes of these practices and their effects on communities and ecosystems. 

This rating aligns with NBK’s roadmap aimed at strengthening transparency regarding the environmental impacts of the bank’s operations and its endeavors to mitigate emissions through CDP. The bank initiated its disclosures in 2021, signaling its commitment to transparency and emissions reduction.

Moreover, this accomplishment underscores NBK’s leading position among the top-performing organizations in sustainable practices, highlighting its dedication to transparency and responsible environmental leadership.

NBK's participation in the CDP strengthens its role in fulfilling the growing demand for environmental transparency set by financial institutions, clients, and regulators.

NBK has consistently provided an annual evaluation of its environmental performance, encompassing metrics such as energy and water consumption, waste management, resource utilization, and greenhouse gas emissions. This information is detailed in the bank's annual sustainability reports, offering transparency regarding its environmental impact and operational carbon footprint.

For the second consecutive year, NBK sustains its robust ratings in the CDP, showcasing our dedication to advancing transparency regarding the environmental impacts of our operations. This commitment aligns with our efforts to facilitate the shift towards a sustainable, low-carbon economy and to contribute to realizing Kuwait's sustainability vision.

NBK has initiated crucial efforts to integrate ESG standards and climate risk considerations into its operational framework, acknowledging their pivotal role in fostering sustainable growth. Furthermore, the bank actively collaborates with its customers to advocate for the adoption of sustainable practices, facilitating effective communication to catalyze collective efforts towards sustainability.

Furthermore, the bank is actively exploring innovative research and development technologies to magnify our reliance on renewable energy and transition all its facilities into eco-friendly structures. Additionally, it seeks to quantify and assess the greenhouse gas emissions linked to its portfolio by aligning with international accounting frameworks and utilizing greenhouse gas assessment tools.

As a leading regional financial institution, the bank consistently seeks diverse approaches to evaluating risks associated with climate change, alongside managing its environmental impact operationally. This encompasses interactions with both customers and suppliers.

NBK's efforts align with its commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2060, with interim targets to decrease total operational emissions by 25% by 2025. Additionally, the bank aims to grow its portfolio of sustainable assets to approximately US$10 billion by 2030.

It further pledges to play a responsible role in supporting global endeavors to mitigate carbon emissions and address climate change risks by establishing clear, measurable, and accountable objectives. This commitment underscores NBK's determination to integrate climate-related considerations into its future business strategies.

CDP collaborates with over 740 financial institutions worldwide, overseeing assets exceeding US$136 trillion. Its objective is to encourage companies to disclose their environmental impacts, diminish greenhouse gas emissions, conserve water resources, and safeguard forests. In 2023, approximately 24,000 companies submitted their disclosures through this initiative.



Kuwait: NBK Offers Customers Peace of Mind with Eidiya Cash Delivery

18.03.2024

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) always seeks to provide customers with an exceptional banking experience including top-notch products and services that cater to their different needs while ensuring utmost convenience. In this context, the bank is providing Eidiya Cash Delivery service to Private Banking, Privilege, Thahabi and Business Banking Plus Customers at their doorsteps, anywhere in Kuwait.

This service is exclusively waived off for our Private and Privilege Customers in Kuwait during the holy month of Ramadan. It can be availed 24/7 through Q’go Concierge by calling or sending a WhatsApp message to the designated number 1888125.

Eligible customers can request Eidiya Cash Delivery in different denominations including KD 1, KD 5, KD 10 and KD 20. The registration period for this offer is valid from 11 to 26 March, 2024, and delivery period will be form 29 March to 9 April 2024.

Speaking on this, Mohammed Akram Hashim, Head of segments, Consumer Banking Group at National Bank of Kuwait said, “NBK always stands out by to providing customers with utmost convenience for an unmatched banking experience that caters to their needs and even exceeds their expectations.”

“As we are approaching the holy month of Ramadan, we are offering our distinguished segments (Private, Privilege, Thahabi or Business Banking Plus Customers) the luxury of getting Eidiya delivered in cash to their doorsteps all over the areas of Kuwait 24/7 through our partner Q’go Concierge,” he explained. 

“All NBK’s initiatives during national and religious holidays and occasions are meant to serve customers’ needs, which are accurately identified through active communication with them, as NBK always seeks to remain closer to its customers,” he noted.

NBK provides Privilege Banking Customers with an array of services, including: a dedicated Relationship Manager to take care of customer’s banking needs, access to premium lounges, various investment solutions like: SmartWealth and Watani Brokerage, Global Banking & International mortgage, premium teller services giving them priority when making financial transactions and deposits at branches, in addition to card home delivery service. Furthermore, Privilege customers have the priority status when calling the NBK Call Center on 1801801 available 24/7, as well as exclusive Home Banking and Concierge Service.

On the other hand, NBK Business Banking Plus provides services and solutions that help entrepreneurs grow their businesses and achieve their goals. It offers a variety of services including a dedicated experienced Business Banking relationship manager, fee discounts, Premium business concierge, preferential access for teller services, and complimentary Thahabi package to business owners and many other benefits.



Kuwait: NBK Sponsors Rafa Nadal Academy Kuwait Junior Program

17.03.2024

As part of its commitment to its social responsibilities and its endeavors to achieve sustainable development, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) is keen to promote public health and the practice of sports activities. In this context, the bank signed a sponsorship agreement with Rafa Nadal Academy Kuwait (RNAK), the leading sports institution specializing in tennis and fitness, to sponsor 7 players from the junior program at the academy.

The signing ceremony was attended by Mr. Mohammed Mustafa Al Marzouq, CEO of Tamdeen Sports and Mrs. Manal Al Mattar, Head of Corporate Communications at National Bank of Kuwait.

On this occasion, Mr. Mohammed Mustafa Al Marzouq, CEO of Tamdeen Sports said: "We are always pleased to collaborate with a leading institution like National Bank of Kuwait, and as a continuation of this fruitful cooperation, NBK has provided support to the junior tennis team with the aim of nurturing a distinguished generation of athletes and elevating the sport of tennis."

“The Academy’s vision is to lead the way for tennis in the Middle East, and develop a unique, high-end sports facility with the highest level of service and care. Our greatest asset in achieving this is our partners, and we are thrilled that NBK leadership is playing an important role in helping us become the leading tennis Academy in the Middle East and redefine sport, fitness, health and leisure across the region,” he added.

On her part, Al Mattar said: “NBK seeks to establish partnerships with leading institutions in all fields, in a way that contributes to support its community needs and expectations”.

" Our commitment to supporting youth reflects our dedication to empowering the next generation. By investing in sports and education, we aim to cultivate not just tennis skills but also resilience, discipline, and a healthier future for our youth”, she pointed out.

Al Mattar emphasized that NBK encourages people to do sports and follow a healthy lifestyle in line with its leading strategy to achieve sustainability.

"At NBK, we believe in the transformative power of sports, especially for our youth. Partnering with the Rafael Nadal Tennis Academy in Kuwait is not just about tennis; it's about shaping character, fostering teamwork, and instilling lifelong values. Through this sponsorship, we aspire to build a legacy of excellence, where the energy of our youth translates into a brighter, more vibrant future for Kuwait," she added.

Members of the "Rafa Nadal" Academy have access to 15 tennis courts, including both outdoor and indoor courts equipped with the latest international technologies. Additionally, the academy hosts courts for paddle tennis and squash, along with an indoor swimming pool and separate fitness facilities for both women and men.

NBK is deeply committed to social responsibility, recognizing its role in creating a positive impact in society. Through its initiatives, NBK prioritizes youth development, education, health, women's empowerment, and environmental sustainability. NBK strives to be a catalyst for positive change, fostering a brighter future for generations to come.



Kuwait: NBK’s Ramadan Social Program2024: Revitalizing Interactive Initiatives 

14.03.2024

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) revealed its annual ‘Doing Good Deeds’ program during the Holy month of Ramadan. For more than 30 years, the program comprises a series of activities and events aimed at encouraging community engagement and solidarity and charity in Kuwait.

NBK’s Head of Corporate Communications, Manal Al Mattar, said that NBK’s “Do Good Deeds in Ramadan” philanthropic drive, initiated by NBK since more than three decades, is leveraging interactive approaches this year.

The program comprised a series of activities and initiatives aimed at encouraging community engagement and solidarity in Kuwait. “NBK hopes to encourage a greater sense of responsibility during the holy month”, Al Mattar noted. 

NBK Ramadan Social Program 2024 includes distribution of Iftar meals via special convoys that will tour round different areas in the country.

NBK staff volunteers have already finalized all necessary arrangements for Ramadan. NBK staff volunteers will manage and supervise the distribution process and tours arrangements.

Dates and water will be offered to fasters at the iftar time. NBK volunteers from different branches will be distributing the boxes of dates and water to fasters to avoid traffic accidents during iftar.

 

NBK will be launching a group of fun activities throughout the holy month including 

Dama and tennis Tournaments in addition to organizing Gergean events for children.

 

NBK and Omniya will collaborate during Ramadan to collect empty plastic bottles in different mosques in Kuwait city.  This initiative will save hundreds of cubic meters in Kuwait’s landfills and save the environment knowing that plastic takes hundred years to degrade in landfills. 

NBK volunteers along with the Kuwait Fire Force team will distribute safety kit that included a fire extinguisher, fire alarm and first aid support ensuring that they adhere to regulations for safety.



Kuwait: NBK Hosts a Series of Knowledge Sharing Sessions with Managers from KNPC and KAFCO 

13.03.2024

 

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) hosted a series of knowledge sharing sessions with managers from Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) and Kuwait Aviation Fuelling Company (KAFCO). The aim of these sessions is to share insights and experiences regarding leadership techniques and strategies, in coordination with the Training and Development Department at KNPC.

The sessions held during January and February brought together NBK’s executive leadership and their counterparts from KNPC and KAFCO. The participants engaged in open discussions on a range of topics, including effective communication and motivation strategies, building high-performance teams, empowering employees, stimulating innovation, adaptability to change, and overcoming challenges.

The sessions were joined by 22 managerial participants from KNPC and KAFCO, and included lectures by NBK’s executive leaders: Mr. Mohammed Al-Othman, CEO - Consumer and Digital Banking, Mr. Mohammed Al Kharafi, COO – Head of Group Operations and Information Technology, and Mr. Emad Al-Ablani, GM - Group Human Resources.

Speaking on this, Mr. Emad Al-Ablani, GM – head of Group Human Resources, Group Human Resources at National Bank of Kuwait said, “NBK maintains solid ties with the oil sector, being the ‘bank of choice’ for Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) and its subsidiaries, in addition to its effective role in developing the human capital in state-owned entities as the strategic banking partner for the government sector.”

“NBK’s strategic partnership with oil sector companies in training and development extends over long decades, and is continuously increasing, in line with our unwavering commitment towards the oil sector and ambition to provide ongoing support to this strategic industry” he added.

“In this context, NBK has launched the NBK-KPC Visa Infinite Credit Card exclusively for the employees of KPC and its subsidiaries, in an effort to enhance their banking experience and promote the cooperation and partnership between the two organizations over several decades,” he mentioned.

“NBK is keen on developing the human capital, especially in state-owned entities, in line with its social and development responsibilities, complementing its year-round initiatives that underline its profound belief in the powerful impact of these programs in serving society and individuals, and echoing its leading role in this field for long decades,” he emphasized.

NBK always seeks to strengthen its leading position as the most socially responsible private sector institution through a wide range of initiatives including training national talent in different government entities, especially the oil sector, which contributes to developing human capital and supporting the Kuwaiti economy.



Kuwait: NBK Brings Employees Together in the Annual “Graish” Event

11.03.2024

Following its annual custom at this time every year, with the advent of the holy month of Ramadan, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) organized its annual “Graish” event for employees last Wednesday evening at Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre (JACC) – National Theatre, in the presence of the bank’s executive management.

The event underscores NBK’s dedication to foster the inherited traditions and values of the Kuwaiti society, and to strengthen relationships among employees from all departments, as well as to show appreciation to their vital contributions in the bank’s ongoing successes.

During the ceremony, which saw a large attendance of more than 1,700 people, the bank’s employees exchanged greetings on the advent of the blessed month of Ramadan, celebrating “Graish”, a Kuwaiti tradition inherited down the ages. The event aimed to strengthen the NBK Family spirit, being a key concept that NBK always seeks to promote among its employees of different departments bank-wide.

Over two hours and a half, the bank took advantage of the annual “Graish” to express its appreciation of the efforts of its employees and to create joyful atmospheres for them through various entertainment activities combined with the captivating live musical performance. The event also featured a number of exciting competitions and raffles, which all gained the admiration of all attendees.

One Family

The ceremony kicked-off with a video highlighting how the employees of one of NBK Branches spend their working hours, and demonstrating the one-family spirit and cooperation among them to provide unmatched service level to customers. This was followed by a brief speech by Mr. Isam Al-Sager, Vice Chairman and Group CEO of National Bank of Kuwait in which he extended greetings to all employees on the advent of Ramadan.

In his speech, Al-Sager mentioned that it is NBK’s regular practice to organize the “Graish” event for employees before the advent of Ramadan every year, in appreciation of their noticeable efforts that greatly contributes to its leading position in the banking sector. He also noted that the opening video clearly represents NBK’s uniqueness and excellence in everything, thanks to its highly professional and dedicated employees and the one-family spirit.

Music and competitions

NBK Graish also featured musical majesty by hosting an exhilarating live performance by a musical band consisting of 50 musicians in addition to the choir led by Maestro Dr. Khaled Nouri, which played the most enchanting national songs and a variety of instrumentals, creating captivating atmospheres in an unforgettable evening. This was made even more impressive as a number of NBK’s employees showcased their talents in playing music and singing along with the band, amidst loud applause from the audience.

NBK also sought to spread the spirit of familiarity and enthusiasm among employees by organizing various competitions during the event, and offered valuable prizes including travel vouchers, electronic devices and cash prizes, amidst thrilling and amusing atmospheres.

Strengthening relationships

Recognizing employees’ efforts and strengthening relationships among them is at the core of NBK’s strategy which aims to promote employee communication and appreciation, in addition to developing teamwork, productivity, and engagement among all departments.

NBK regards employees as the most valuable asset, and an instrumental element to maintaining its success, as the strategic goals of any organization are not attainable without the active participation and dedicated efforts of its employees. Therefore, we also seek to motivate employees and provide them with an ideal work environment that continuously promotes career development, unlocks their potentials and encourages them to go the extra mile, as the one-team spirit demonstrated by employees bank-wide is the main driver of NBK's success and provision of world-class banking service quality.

Graish is a deeply rooted Kuwaiti tradition inherited down the ages. It is a gathering held on the last day of the month of Shaaban to celebrate the advent of Ramadan, during which all family members gather to have their last meal before starting the fasting of Ramadan the next day.



Kuwait: NBK Honors the Outstanding Employees of 2023 in Annual Elite Awards Ceremony

10.03.2024

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) honored the outstanding employees of Consumer Banking Group in its Annual Elite Awards Ceremony, which was held at Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre (JACC) and attended by the executive management. This annual recognition aims to recognize employees’ performance throughout the year and to promote them to maintain excellence and accomplishment in a way that helps bolster NBK’s leading position.

There ceremony was attended by the bank’s executive leaders headed by Mr. Isam Al-Sager, NBK Vice-Chairman and Group CEO, Mrs. Shaikha Al-Bahar, Deputy Group CEO of NBK, Mr. Salah Al-Fulaij, CEO of NBK – Kuwait, Mr. Sulaiman Al-Marzouq, Deputy CEO of NBK- Kuwait, Mr. Mohammed Al-Othman, CEO-Consumer and Digital Banking, and Mr. Emad Al-Ablani, GM - Group Human Resources.

During the ceremony, the executive management distributed certificates of appreciation to the CBG outstanding employees, who showed exceptional performance during the year 2023, in recognition of their efforts in providing top-notch products and services that achieved a high level of customer satisfaction. 

Through this recognition held every year, NBK aims to show appreciation to employees who demonstrated outstanding performance throughout the year and to motivate them to exert more effort to strengthen the bank’s leading position, locally and regionally.

It also shows NBK’s commitment towards its human resources and keenness to provide them with all support, which translates in better performance and contributes to improving the quality of products and services provided to customers.

The ceremony featured various engaging activities, surprises, competitions, and distributing valuable prizes to employees.

Commenting on this, Mr. Mohammed Al-Othman, CEO-Consumer and Digital Banking at National Bank of Kuwait said, “The Elite Awards Ceremony is one of the key events organized by NBK annually to recognize employees for their exceptional efforts and performance during the year. This goes in line with our appreciation of employees’ vital contributions in the bank’s ongoing achievements at all levels.”

“Improving service quality and introducing new products that gain customer satisfaction are the results of the dedicated efforts of our employees. Therefore, we are keen to appreciate their efforts, high performance, and adherence to quality standards and high-level and advanced customer service, which gives NBK the edge over its competitors,” he added.

“Consumer Banking Group team strives to provide top-notch services, in order to maintain the bank’s leadership, and to sustain its excellence in providing market-leading digital banking services in Kuwait,” he noted.

“At NBK, we believe that our employees are our most valuable resource, so we are always keen to invest in human capital by developing and improving the skills of our employees at all levels, which reflects positively on the quality of our products and services,” he emphasized.

Al-Othman stressed that the bank will continue its initiatives seeking to stimulate employees, in line with its belief that sustaining long-term excellence is conditioned by retaining highly qualified and professional employees.

“NBK enjoys a unique work culture and environment that promotes innovation, achieves job satisfaction and development and encourages employees to go the extra mile. It also offers them continuous career development through world-class training programs, in cooperation with globally renowned educational institutions,” he mentioned.

“The achievements seen today are the fruits of successful strategies that fostered our excellence in cutting-edge digital banking services and payment solutions, as well as our tireless efforts to understand customers’ needs and expectations and accordingly tailor innovative banking products and services to meet their needs and even exceed their expectations,” he explained.

At the end of the ceremony, Al -Othman extended thanks and appreciation to all CBG employees praising their efforts and expressing his pride with this highly efficient and dedicated team resembling NBK’s leadership, locally and regionally.

NBK is keen on organizing regular events to honor its employees, within its endeavors to support and encourage their career and professional growth. It also seeks to strengthen the principle of long-term relationships with employees, which stimulates positive behavior and teamwork spirit, and promotes ideal work atmosphere and employee satisfaction.

Over the past year, NBK’s Consumer Banking Group succeeded in developing many top-notch banking products and services that are tailored to customers’ needs. This included revamping NBK Mobile Banking App by introducing more than 30 enhancements to improve both user interface and user experience, for a more customized and personalized experience.



Kuwait: NBK Increases Al Jawhara Account Total Prizes to KD 5 Million, Adds New Benefits

06.03.2024

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) always seems to offer customers a top-notch banking experience integrating top-notch products and services and exclusive, unmatched benefits and rewards. In this context, the bank has increased the total worth of Al Jawhara Account prizes to KD 5 million.

NBK is launching Al Jawhara Junior Draws for customers below the age of 21 with 7 winners with existing monthly draw (KD 1,000 for 3 winners and KD 500 for 4 winners) in addition to 1 winner of KD 10,000 prize with each grand prize draw, making the total worth of Al Jawhara annual draws KD 5 million. Al Jawhara customers below 21 will have the benefit of entering both Al Jawhara Junior Draws and all Al Jawhara current draws.

On the other side, NBK is introducing the exclusive new Al Jawhara Saver Account, offering customers a bonus interest rate up to 1.5% for the first year, in addition to the chance to enter the monthly and grand draws if savings reach KD 5,000 and above. The bank is also offering customers who have been banking with it for more than 2 years double chances in case they were not eligible to earn the existing double chances.

Commenting on this, Mr. Mohammed Al-Othman Chief Executive Officer of Consumer & Digital Banking, at National Bank of Kuwait said: “NBK always seeks to offer customers an array of top-notch products and services, complemented by exceptional rewards and benefits. Al Jawhara Account is an instrumental part of our customer rewarding strategy while serving as a key tool to promote a savings culture and financial inclusion.”

“As we are always keen to boost the benefits and rewards provided to Al Jawhara Customers, we are introducing various enhancements including Al Jawhara Junior Draws offering special prizes for the youth customers, making Al Jawhara total earnings KD 5 million annually. We are also providing the new Al Jawhara Saver Account offering the combined benefits of interest and chances to enter Al Jawhara draws to encourage savings,” he mentioned.

“NBK is committed to providing customers with an impeccable banking experience packed with exceptional rewards all year round. This comprises all segments according to their various expectations, which the bank is keen to learn about by being always in touch with them through multiple digital and other channels,” he noted.

NBK has already increased Al Jawhara prizes by more than the double in early 2023, making it the biggest in Kuwait, with KD 20,000 prize weekly, KD 125,000 monthly, and grand prizes worth KD 1,000,000 each, three times a year.



Kuwait: NBK Celebrates Achievements of Harvard Executive Development Program Graduates

03.03.2024

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) proudly celebrated the graduation of its trainees from the fifteenth edition of the Harvard Business School (HBS) Executive Development Program. This milestone marks a significant achievement as part of the Kafa’a initiative initiated by the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) in collaboration with Kuwaiti banks. Managed by the Institute of Banking Studies (KIBS), this initiative aims to develop and improve the skills of national talent.

The bank observed significant participation in this edition, with nine trainees from various departments' directors—a record number among participating banks.

The ceremony took place under the patronage of Mr. Basel A. Al-Haroun, the Governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Banking Studies. Representatives from Kuwaiti banks, participating companies from both domestic and international spheres, CBK, KIBS, and the honorees were all in attendance.

This year's Executive Development Program, held in the UAE, was themed "Navigating the Future: Leading Financial Institutions in an Era of Innovation and Transformation. The program aimed to cultivate executive leadership within the banking and financial sectors.

The program centered around two primary pillars: "Financial Markets Strategy" and "Leadership." It emphasized the pivotal role of leadership and management in devising and executing financial, technical, and leadership strategies to address challenges. Moreover, it underscored the importance of acquiring the diverse strategic and leadership skills necessary for navigating digital transformation within the financial sector, enabling participants to stay abreast of rapid developments in the field.

The six-day program featured practical case studies relevant to the program's theme and the banking and financial sectors, as well as other industries for which HBS is renowned. These case studies aimed to offer participants a comprehensive array of practical experiences, enhancing their analytical skills and equipping them with tools and methodologies to enhance performance, foster innovation, and shape institutional culture.

The program alternates its location annually among the GCC countries. This approach is designed to cultivate executive leadership within banks and financial institutions across the region, tailored to meet the evolving needs of the banking and financial sectors amidst the dynamic changes in the business landscape.

Moreover, the program sought to familiarize participants with the implications of the global surge in investments aligning with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards, emphasizing their significance for the organization. Additionally, it aimed to educate them on optimizing the utilization of emerging tools like AI, managing risk in a data-driven manner, and promoting successful digital transformation. Additionally, it highlighted emerging opportunities in FinTech.

The program featured interactive plenary sessions, simulations, and real-world case studies led by Harvard Business School faculty. These sessions aim to empower leaders to delve into actionable insights and acquire essential tools for effective leadership. The curriculum also emphasized global attention to environmental sustainability, emerging technologies, and strategies for leading successful digital transformations. Furthermore, it addressed the influence of AI on team dynamics and leadership approaches, emphasizing improved communication, leadership in high-pressure, high-profile situations, and supporting diverse talent collaboration.

Commenting on this event, Mr. Emad Al-Ablani, GM – Head of Group Human Resources at National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) said: “Our engagement in the “Kafa’a” initiative underscores NBK’s commitment to investing in human capital, ensuring the development of skilled national banking leaders in alignment with the latest and highest international standards."

“Creating a flexible, dynamic, and high-performing workforce entails empowering and nurturing future leaders, equipping them with the most effective and up-to-date programs. Hence, we prioritize participation in initiatives and programs that align with the bank’s long-term goals and bolster sustainability efforts in human resources,” Al-Ablani added.

He emphasized NBK’s unwavering commitment to furnishing future leaders with the necessary training programs and capabilities. These initiatives aim to cultivate adaptability, inspire others, and deliver advanced and innovative services, thus solidifying the bank's leadership position at the local level.



Kuwait: NBK Offers Complimentary Limo Ride for Private and Privilege Banking Customers

27.02.2024

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) always seeks to enhance customer banking experience by providing the best exclusive offers and exceptional benefits that suit their different segments. In this context, the bank has announced providing complimentary limo ride for Private and Privilege Banking Customers.

According to the offer valid from 22 February to 2 March 2024, Private and Privilege Banking Customers can avail a complimentary one-time limo ride through Q’go Concierge by calling their designated number 1888125.

This service from NBK is one of the many services provided by “Q’go Concierge” including fast-track check-in, extra luggage allowance, free baggage delivery, hotel offers and Umrah packages, in addition to cash delivery of up to KD 10,000. It also features Messenger Services including renewing and applying for ministry documentation, business special consultation and set-up, airport transportation, limo service, and airport Meet & Assist in Kuwait.

Speaking on this offer, Nora Al-Najjar, Manager, Consumer Banking Group at National Bank of Kuwait said, “At NBK, we always strive to provide our customers with the best benefits and services to enhance their banking experience. We also seek to be always closer to them by providing exceptional offers that offer them more luxury and peace of mind.”

“We are well aware of our customers’ preferences, as we maintain close communication with them through various channels. This goes in line with our keenness to maximize their benefit from the services, special offers and exceptional rewards that we carefully tailor to fit the lifestyles and needs of their different segments and ages,” she added.

It is worth mentioning that over the past years, NBK was able to maintain top-notch Privilege Banking services, and is always striving to offer customers an even more innovative banking experience.

NBK provides Premium Banking Customers with an exclusive array of services, including: a dedicated relationship manager for our Privilege Customers and a Personal Banking Officer for our Thahabi Customers taking care of all customer’s banking needs. It also provides them with access to Premium Banking lounges, diverse investment solutions including: SmartWealth and Watani Brokerage, Family Banking package, Premium Banking Teller Services which grants them priority in making their transactions in a quick and easy way, in addition to card home delivery service, priority status when contacting NBK Call Center on 1801801 available 24/7.



Kuwait: NBK Unveils 'NBK Wealth' for Premium Wealth Management Solutions

22.02.2024

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) revealed the launch of its prestigious “NBK Wealth” brand, positioning itself as a leading global organization and one of the most significant regional groups in comprehensive wealth management.

The brand features a unique visual identity that accurately represents the Group's business orientation and encapsulates the trust, credibility, and success associated with NBK Group, the leading financial institution in the Middle East.

NBK Wealth, set for its official brand launch next April, encompasses a range of services and products under its umbrella. This includes the private banking services of NBK - Kuwait, Watani Investment Company, Watani Wealth Management Company (Saudi Arabia), NBK Banque Privée (Suisse), as well as National Bank of Kuwait (International) PLC and Watani Financial Brokerage Company (WFBC).

NBK Wealth provides an extensive array of comprehensive solutions in private banking services, covering financial planning and wealth management, as well as investment management and advisory services. This is facilitated through a vast global network of integrated operations spanning 9 cities across 5 countries worldwide.

The Group, boasting personal financial assets of approximately US$ 37.6 billion as of the end of 2023, is supported by an elite team of over 100 investment professionals and traders, each with extensive experience in their field.

NBK Wealth stands as a premier destination and a trusted partner for delivering innovative solutions and sophisticated services in asset management. This includes investment management and alternative investments, alongside traditional investments, and trading solutions.

The new brand caters to a sophisticated group of ultra-high-net-worth individuals and institutions with a passion for maintaining and accelerating their financial wellness. It offers financial consulting services aimed at growing and sustaining their wealth through holistic investment and banking solutions.

Within wealth management, NBK Wealth presents a broad spectrum of innovative solutions, backed by an extensive network of investment professionals with specialized knowledge, and a distinguished team of highly skilled asset management experts. The valuable collaborations with JP Morgan Asset Management and Intervest further leverage multiple dimensions, including advisory services and the development of new investment solutions.

Commenting on this news, Mr. Faisal Al-Hamad, CEO - NBK Wealth, stated: “The introduction of the NBK Wealth brand marks a pivotal moment in our dedication to offering unmatched wealth management services and solutions. It underscores our role in assisting our clients as they navigate the path to accumulating significant wealth and creating a lasting legacy that will benefit many generations.”

“At NBK Wealth, our approach is client-centric and comprehensive, aimed at thoroughly understanding our clients' needs to offer solutions that align with their aspirations. Our objectives extend beyond merely generating wealth; we strive to fulfill their requirements and deliver long-term added value from a holistic and integrated standpoint,” Al-Hamad added.

Furthermore, the CEO elaborated that the Group is dedicated to reinforcing its status as the premier and trusted option in wealth management, both regionally and globally, backed by an extensive global network of integrated operations.

"Our motto, “Guiding Your Path Beyond Wealth,' encapsulates our vision for ushering in a new era of wealth management for both high-net-worth individuals and institutions. This vision is realized through holistic investment strategies, leveraging our global presence in key financial and business hubs, and our extensive experience in delivering exceptional service that fulfills all their aspirations," Al-Hamad noted.

NBK Wealth in Numbers

 

• US$37.6 billion in personal financial assets as of the end of 2023

• More than 100 investment professionals and traders, and 80 relationship managers

• Presence in 5 countries and 9 key financial hubs around the world

• Offers private banking solutions, encompassing financial planning, wealth management, and banking services

• Asset management solutions covering investment management, alternative investments, traditional investments, and trading solutions



Kuwait: NBK Announces Partnership with Almosafer to Provide Outstanding Travel Offers for Customers

22.02.2024

Seeking to enhance customer banking experience with top-notch services and offers according to the lifestyles of their different segments and ages, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has announced a new exclusive partnership with Almosafer, to provide NBK KWT Visa Infinite Credit Cardholders with exclusive offers that meet their expectations.

This new partnership will give NBK KWT Visa Infinite Credit Cardholders access to a world of tailored offers that meet their travel needs, including airline tickets and hotel bookings.

Under the partnership, cardholders will get 10% NBK KWT Points when using their KWT Card to pay for airline tickets and hotel bookings at Almosafer stores or via its app or website.

As this offer will continue going forward, cardholders will be able to avail it, as part of KWT Card product benefits.

Commenting on this partnership, Mr. Hisham Al-Nusif Deputy Head, Consumer Banking Group at National Bank of Kuwait said, “We always seek to enhance our customers banking experience, and with the beginning of the new year, we wanted to provide exclusive offers tailored to their needs and expectations. We also work tirelessly and around the clock to keep pace with their changing needs and live up to their growing expectations.”

“NBK maintains solid relationships with leading institutions across different sectors, and we are glad to partner with Almosafer, being one of the most trusted travel agents for customers. We aim to leverage this partnership to enhance customers’ banking experience by delivering top-notch offers, discounts and benefits for an unmatched banking experience” he added.

“Customer satisfaction and top-notch banking experience are embedded in NBK’s culture. Thanks to our extensive experience gained over long decades, we are able to understand customers’ needs, evaluate their goals, and even exceed their expectations,” he noted.

Muzzammil Ahussain, CEO of Almosafer, added; “We are happy to partner with the National Bank of Kuwait, an industry leader in the banking sector in the Gulf region, to offer Almosafer’s exclusive travel deals to the bank’s esteemed customers. Kuwait is a key market for us and by extending our special offers, discounts and benefits we hope to leverage our expertise in the industry and provide tailor-made-travel solutions for NBK KWT Visa Infinite Credit Cardholders. Our digital-first, seamless experience, powered by data driven solutions, will aid Kuwait’s premier national bank to provide their clients with value-added benefits. Together we hope to raise the bar on exceeding client expectations by going one step further to deliver top-notch quality services that is bound to distinguish us from the rest of the market.”

A Card Like No Other

NBK KWT Visa Infinite Credit Card is the most popular credit card in Kuwait, as it offers customers a unique lifestyle with exceptional rewards, benefits and offers tailored to meet customers’ needs and expectations, and cashback up to KD 1,000 in NBK KWT Points every month.

The card combines an exclusive package of exceptional rewards with a design inspiring national pride, making it a card like no other, and gives customers the flexibility to choose the way they want to earn rewards based on their lifestyle; either the “Spends Tier” or “Merchant Category” option.

When choosing the “Merchant Category”, customers can earn NBK KWT Points on all payments made using NBK KWT Visa Infinite Credit Card at the selected categories, with 10% on dining and telecom, 5% on fitness and beauty and 3% on clothing, grocery and education.

Meanwhile, when choosing the “Spends Tier” earning option, based on their monthly spends, with up to 5% on digital payments, up to 5% on international POS and up to 3% on all other spends.

The earned NBK KWT Points can be redeemed through NBK Online or Mobile Banking whether as cashback directly to the card, travel booking at more than 800 airlines and 150,000 hotels, e-vouchers from over 190 merchants, or points exchange with most preferred airlines.

NBK Visa Credit Cards offer the best payment method for the convenience and benefits they provide to customers, especially when using them in shopping including NBK Rewards Program as well as Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty.



Kuwait: NBK Launches Salary Acquisition Campaign With Exceptional Benefits up to KD 5,000

22.02.2024

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) always seeks to enrich customer banking experience by providing top-notch services and exceptional offers through unique campaigns and rewards. In this context, the bank has launched its new salary acquisition campaign for 2024, which gives customers the opportunity to avail benefits up to KD 5,000.

The salary acquisition campaign this year will give customers exceptional benefits with the best packages that offer them the strongest exclusive offers, best cards, most appropriate financing solutions that suit their needs, as well as instant discounts, cashback, and rewards at 900+ outlets, while enjoying access to the largest branch network across Kuwait.

Upon transferring their salary, customers will receive many benefits including cash gifts, the highest cashback, the best suite of credit cards, the best packages to suit all salary levels, weekly free cinema tickets, and weekly coupons from talabat.

Commenting on this campaign, Mr. Mohammed Al-Othman Chief Executive Officer of Consumer & Digital Banking at National Bank of Kuwait said, “We always seek to provide our customers with the best special offers and exceptional benefits that suit their different segments and ages. To this end, we have launched our new salary transfer campaign for this year with unmatched benefits and rewards.”

“Salary transfer allows customers to enjoy NBK’s top-notch banking solutions, including innovative digital services and cutting-edge payment solutions, within a banking experience offering utmost luxury, security and peace of mind,” he added.

“All offers provided in salary transfer campaign this year are tailored to customers’ needs and seasonality, as part of our commitment to always provide the most valuable and relevant offers to our customers,” he emphasized.

“Salary transfer qualifies customers to special benefits including banking and investment solutions, as well as instant discounts and points earned through Kuwait’s largest rewards program, NBK Rewards.” he added.

Customers get various benefits when transferring their salary to NBK including access to the largest branch and ATM network in Kuwait, as well as the broad geographical footprint across key regional and global markets.

Moreover, NBK Customers can enjoy quick and easy banking anytime using the digital channels spearheaded by NBK Mobile Banking, which undergoes frequent enhancements and revamps and is highly popular among customers, and accounts for the major share of banking transactions. 



Kuwait: NBK Supports LOYAC Agricultural Trips to Promote Sustainable Agriculture

22.02.2024

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) and LOYAC concluded four environmental local trips to Sulaibiya and Al Wafra. The four trips go with the UNSDGs goal 15 life on land and in line with NBK’s Strategy focusing on integrating the UN SDGs into its social programs. In addition to an intensive two weeks of internship of daily learning and application in permaculture at different locations in Kuwait.

NBK’s support to LOYAC’s trips comes as part of the bank strategic partnership with the organization.

74 volunteers from different backgrounds ages between 14 and 28  participated in these trips which were designed to introduce regenerative farming principles, explore techniques for maintaining healthy soil; practice cover cropping & mulching techniques; demonstrating composting; introducing crop rotation; creating Swales & learning about keyline designs; in addition to the importance of companion planting.

This support reflects NBK’s commitment to its social responsibility as well as the vital role it plays in supporting students, youths and self-building initiatives in Kuwait.

“Sulaibiya and Al Wafra field trips were truly an inspiring environmental learning experience that added profound value to the young people involved”, said Joanne Al Abduljaleel, NBK Public Relations Manager. “This is not the first-time we go with Loyacers in field trips. We were happy to join Loyacers in lots of inspiring cultural trips around Asia and Africa.  This time , we had the chance to know better our local farms and actively participate in sustainable agriculture and permaculture activities, including planting, maintaining farms and greenhouses, and applying permaculture principles”.

  “NBK always strives to empower Kuwaiti youth to realize their potentials, build their personalities and motivates their ambition. These agricultural trips with LOYAC comes in line with our strategy to invest in our society,” Al Abduljaleel added.

Throughout the program, Loyacers had practical training in agriculture with the aim of achieving advanced skills in the field that will allow the trainee to find job opportunities in existing and expected agricultural initiatives and projects..

LOYAC is a nonprofit organization that runs several programs for the youth to develop their professional skills, enhance their personal growth and help them find their sense of purpose by extending themselves to others. 



Kuwait: NBK Concludes the Fifth Edition of “Tamakan” Training Program

17.02.2024

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has concluded the Fifth Edition of “Tamakan” training program for Kuwaiti fresh graduates, organized by “Creative Confidence” with the bank’s strategic sponsorship.

The closing ceremony was attended by Mr. Isam Al-Sager, Vice-Chairman and Group CEO of National Bank of Kuwait, Mrs. Shaikha Al-Bahar, Deputy Group CEO of NBK, Mr. Sulaiman Al-Marzouq, Deputy CEO of NBK – Kuwait, Mr. Faisal Al-Hamad Chief Executive Officer - Global Wealth Management, Mr. Mohammed Al-Othman, CEO-Consumer and Digital Banking, Mr. Mohammed Al Kharafi, COO – Head of Group Operations and Information Technology, Mr. Zaid Isam Al-Sager, GM - Deputy Head of International Banking Group, Mr. Emad Al-Ablani, GM - Group Human Resources.

The ceremony held at NBK’s HQ, included a discussion session where the bank’s executive management listened to trainees’ presentations of their outstanding graduation projects, showcasing creative ideas and visions from the ambitious Kuwaiti youth.

Over the course of the program spanning 10 weeks, NBK hosted 34 trainees at different departments where it provided them with courses aimed to upskill, qualify and prepare them to start a successful career.

Tamakan offers an innovative training experience for Kuwaiti fresh graduates who need support to overcome the challenges ahead as they seek to start their career or set up their own business, thanks to developing the required skills, as well as expertise to stand on solid grounds as they navigate their way into the highly challenging labor market.

“Tamakan” aims to develop the personal skills needed to become compelling candidates, in addition to motivating Kuwaiti youth to explore their potentials and energies. It also unleashes the creativity of young talent through workshops about creativity and innovation, design thinking, business model design, career exploration and innovative de-risking solutions.

On their part, the trainees expressed their pleasure with participation in this program and extended thanks to NBK for supporting them and providing its long-standing expertise to develop their skills and qualify them for the labor market in a professional manner, thanks to the bank’s highly professional organizational approach.

The trainees also thanked NBK’s executive management, who participated in open discussions with them where they conveyed their long experience in the banking industry, in addition to providing them with valuable advice to build a successful career. They referred to the significant development achieved and knowledge acquired during the program, which adds value to their upcoming career. They also highlighted they benefited from upskilling on various sides, and regarded “Tamakan” as their gateway from the academic world to career exploration and working life.

NBK strongly believes in the importance of nurturing the Kuwaiti youth by attracting and developing talents and providing all means of support to help them navigate their way into the labor market. It also supports different social initiatives that align to Kuwait National Development Plan (KNDP), and serve the country’s strategic agenda to drive growth, and create job opportunities for the Kuwaiti youth in the private sector, being the country’s most valuable resource and the cornerstone for national development.

It is worth mentioning that “Tamakan” received “The Social Work Pioneer Project Award” from the GCC Council of Ministers of Social Affairs and Labor, recognizing it as an innovative training experience for Kuwaiti fresh graduates to achieve professional self-development in pursuit of emerging as active and efficient workforce.



Kuwait: NBK and Zain Sign MOU with KFAS to Launch a Digital Program for the Kuwaiti Youth

13.02.2024

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) and Mobile Telecommunications Company – Zain Kuwait have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS), with the goal of initiating a training program designed to develop and empower young national talent. This program aims to provide participants with the essential skills necessary to fulfill labor market demands, particularly in the fields of digital transformation, data knowledge, and artificial intelligence.

The agreement was signed at KFAS’s headquarters, in the presence of Dr. Ameenah Rajab Farhan, KFAS Director General, Mr. Sulaiman Barrak Al-Marzouq, Deputy CEO of National Bank of Kuwait - Kuwait, and Mr. Nawaf Algharabally, Acting CEO of Zain Kuwait. 

The MOU details a cooperative effort to exchange expertise and knowledge for the purpose of advancing and improving digital skills among the youth, equipping them with the essential qualifications needed for the labor market. Furthermore, it encompasses the planning and implementation of educational initiatives, activities, and events specifically targeted at the young participants, in collaboration with the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information (KISTI).

The agreement involves KFAS, supported by NBK and Zain, forming strategic alliances with global academic and research institutions renowned for their expertise in digital technology capacity building. This collaboration aims to aid in designing and delivering training programs, activities, and events both within Kuwait and internationally.

This unique initiative is designed to engage young individuals in the programs, activities, and events that will be provided to them in a competitive format, ensuring equal opportunities for recent graduates and entry-level professionals.

The training program aims to develop digital skills and capabilities of individuals to use advanced digital tools, including artificial intelligence, cloud computing, coding, big data, robotics, and cybersecurity. This initiative aims to enable participants to effectively leverage and implement these tools in the professional workplace.

The program’s objective is around fundamental concepts, incorporating interactive hands-on activities and project-based learning. It also features mentoring and coaching to support participants throughout their learning journey. The curriculum is multi-modular, offering both in-person and virtual modules, with sessions taking place in Kuwait and South Korea.

During this event, Mr. Sulaiman Barrak Al-Marzouq, Deputy CEO of National Bank of Kuwait - Kuwait, remarked, "We are delighted to formalize this agreement, showcasing the dedication of private sector organizations to their societal obligations in training and preparing our youth for a labor market currently undergoing significant changes and advancements, primarily influenced by artificial intelligence, robotics, and data knowledge".

Al-Marzouq further noted that the main goal of this collaboration is to help close the digital skills gap in Kuwait and to equip Kuwaiti talent with the digital skills and competencies required to thrive in an increasingly technology-dependent world.

Furthermore, Al-Marzouq emphasized NBK’s commitment to actively contribute to the developmental journey of the current generation of Kuwaiti youth through various sponsored initiatives. He highlighted the importance of providing proper guidance to fully harness the energy and capabilities of young Kuwaitis, thereby bolstering sustainable development efforts.

NBK firmly believes that joint private public sector initiatives to provide the young generation with the required knowledge and skills are instrumental to individual as well as social wellbeing and prosperity.

NBK also recognizes the importance of investing in the human capital, and to this end, it has recently launched NBK Tech Academy, the first of its kind academy focusing on digital and data technologies. 

The Academy provides a professional training program to qualify young Kuwaiti talents in areas including FinTech, Data Analytics, Ethics in Technology, Cyber Security, Fundamentals of Digital Payments, Digital Innovation, Artificial Intelligence, Scripting and Programming, Fundamentals of Codifications, and Finance for Non-Finance Professionals.

Mr. Nawaf Algharabally, Acting CEO of Zain Kuwait, commented: “Through this partnership, we will explore collaborative avenues in digital transformation, with a focus on nurturing the tech innovation skills of our youth. Our shared vision is to cultivate digital communities and foster a collaborative ecosystem that fosters innovation and empowers capacity building.”

Algharabally added: “This collaboration aligns seamlessly with our strategic initiatives, bolstered by our existing MoUs with various entities, all aimed at investing in and empowering local talents, particularly within the areas of technology and digital proficiency. Over the years, Zain has proudly trained thousands of ambitious young men and women, reinforcing our commitment to the nation's sustainable growth.

He continued: “At Zain, our strategic vision revolves around creating an empowering environment for our youth, equipping them with the skills necessary to navigate the opportunities presented by today's digital landscape. Technology undeniably underpins people’s personal and professional lives, ushering in a new generation reliant on tech innovation to navigate evolving career pathways.”

Algharabally concluded by saying: “Promoting a digital culture among young people is of paramount importance today, given the pivotal role technology plays in achieving digital transformation objectives. That’s why Zain is steadfast in reinforcing strategic partnerships, recognizing the indispensable role of technologies such as AI, managed cloud services, cloud computing, and digital applications in shaping today’s business landscapes."

This step reflects Zain’s unwavering efforts to support and grow the innovation ecosystem in the local community, and comes as an extension to the MoU signed between Zain and KFAS last October. The agreement saw the two partners join forces to accelerate capacity building, upskill national talents in the private sector, grow research & development in innovation, enable social enterprises, and empower local entrepreneurs.This partnership also goes in line with Zain’s Innovation Nation initiative, under which all of Zain’s innovation and entrepreneurship programs fall, especially within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) areas. The initiative mainly targets the youth, and centers around a number of pillars, including entrepreneurship, investment, startup acceleration, supporting inventors, fostering innovation, and more.



Kuwait: NBK Hosts First Annual Meetup for “Tableau” Data Analytics and Visualization Software

12.02.2024

Underlining its ongoing commitment to increase employees’ efficiency and qualify them with the most advanced solutions, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) hosted the First Annual Meetup for Tableau data analytics and visualization software, with the participation of Salesforce, the famous American cloud-based software company and developer of Tableau. 

In the two-day event, Tableau Experts delivered specialized workshops to elevate creators’ skills in the growing community of hundreds of Tableau users, including workshops on advanced visual analytics and design thinking. It also shed light on harnessing the value of data assets using AI-powered analytics and automated workflows.

This training comes in line with NBK’s consistent efforts over the past years to invest heavily in Data Analytics and processing to understand customers’ needs and behaviors. 

Business users of all levels can now answer their own questions and generate insights by automating data preparation and easy-to-use visual analytics dashboards. Business lines were also able to see, in real-time, how other departments have been streamlining their analytics and benefiting from time and cost savings.

Popular tools like tableau are increasingly being adopted across the industry in Kuwait, signifying a shift towards empowering business users to discover data visually.

This event exemplifies the Group Data Office’s commitment to a culture of self-service analytics and enabling domain experts to leverage their knowledge with the help of analytics tools like Tableau.

Speaking on this, Mr. Sudhakar Nibhanupudi, Chief Data Officer at National Bank of Kuwait said: “Hosting this event reflects NBK’s commitment to invest heavily in enhancing collaboration and excellence of its employees, in addition to qualifying talents and competencies with professionally refined skills in Data Analytics.”

“It is the strategy of Group Data Office to enable data-driven decision making by businesses and self-service analytics is an integral part of this strategy,” he added.

“This event aligns with NBK’s commitment to continuously upskill employees with the aim of maintaining an edge in the rapidly evolving technical landscape,” he noted.

NBK pays paramount attention to developing the capabilities of its employees, harnessing all its resources to progress their career by providing training and development programs, in cooperation with globally renowned educational institutions. In addition, NBK consistently supports its employees in building their careers within the bank, reflecting its conviction that continuous developing and upskilling of its employees is instrumental to sustaining its excellence in the rapidly evolving technical landscape in the banking industry.



Kuwait: Al-Ablani: Passion, Perseverance, and Patience Are Keys to a Successful Career

11.02.2024

In the program’s sixth panel discussion, “Tamakan” hosted Mr. Emad Al-Ablani, GM – Head of Group Human Resources at National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), who shared his extensive experience gained through a long career, highlighting the key milestones in his journey until assuming this leading position at the largest banking institution in Kuwait.

In a highly engaging open discussion with “Tamakan” trainees, Al-Ablani shared the key challenges he faced throughout his long journey. He also gave them some tips to help them navigate their way towards a thriving career, and the best ways to develop personal skills and capabilities to successfully make their way into the labor market and ensure career development. At the end of the discussion, he answered participants’ questions about various aspects of work inside NBK.

The keys to success

Al-Ablani started his speech by urging “Tamakan” trainees to be patient and work hard to achieve their desired career development, and to cooperate with co-workers, as working in one-team spirit is a key success factor for large institutions, and this is a main characteristic of the work environment in a reputable organization like NBK, as everyone has different qualities and abilities, which makes success a guaranteed result of integration between the members of one team.

“Attaining a leading position in a prestigious institution like NBK requires three basic skills: passion, perseverance and patience, which are the keys to success and moving forward in achieving a thriving and sustainable career and rising to the highest positions,” he mentioned.

 “It takes careful research and sufficient study to make the right decision in choosing your job, whether regarding the sector or even the workplace, as building a career requires ambitious young people who have unwavering desire and passion. Therefore, I always advise the youth to join the private sector because it is more agile and dynamic, and there is more room for innovation, development and creativity,” he added.

The beating heart

In response to a question from one of the participants about the role of GHR, Al-Ablani said, “GHR is the beating heart of NBK’s system through its various arms including Training and Development, Talent Management, and Business Partners. Our mission is to attract and build professional and dynamic human resources at all levels, from new recruits joining the organization until reaching the highest positions, as well as providing an atmosphere that ensures utmost employee well-being.”

“NBK’s strategy is to build an agile and dynamic workforce by focusing on 4 pillars: First: placing the right competencies in the right roles at the right time; Second: preparing future leaders by developing leaders inspiring and driving employees towards innovation; Third: acquisition of high-caliber talent by attracting, retaining and developing qualified employees; Fourth: creating a sustainable performance environment and a culture promoting diversity, inclusion, clear results management principles, and protection of employees,” he explained.

Calculated risk

On a question by one of the participants about choosing the ideal job and work environment, Al-Ablani said, “First, you have to set your goals according to your desires and skills, then work to develop clear plans to implement these goals, but the key factors are passion, perseverance, and patience, and developing the skills to help you achieve your goals.”

Al-Ablani called on the young people to develop and learn by addressing questions all the time and benefiting from the work team and their expertise. Every question is important, and you must get a sufficient answer when you ask so that you have a broad knowledge of your job duties and the function of your department, especially that NBK’s work environment encourages learning and development and always seeks to motivate employees and appreciate their efforts and contributions.

Al-Ablani went on to advise the youth saying, “Always make sure to know the negative comments from your managers, and work to address them to improve your performance, and do not think about moving from one department to another or one job to another just because of some negative comments or poor appraisal. Every employee must calculate the risks in every step he takes, as there is no “zero risk,” but there are calculated and uncalculated risk. So, I advise all employees at the beginning of their career to always talk to their manager and discuss with him their performance and what aspects that can be developed and learned to avoid negative comments and obtain a higher appraisal going forward.”

“NBK’s work environment always encourages discussion and exchange of ideas and opinions. There are also other communication channels that help all employees express their opinions, and the bank listens to their feedback and suggestions, and their satisfaction with the work environment,” he noted.

Don’t fear job interviews

Al-Ablani touched on job interviews saying, “When we conduct job interviews, we always look for young people who are capable of learning, innovating, and communicating, by addressing some questions and evaluating the answers, reactions, and extent of response. The best answers during job interviews are honest ones, even if they do not serve the job applied for, so do not try to beautify or provide incorrect information as this may backfire.”

“At NBK, we believe that attracting, retaining and developing high-caliber talent is instrumental to achieving our long-term ambitions, as well as advance the bank’s efforts to build sustainable human resources, especially that we always seek to attract young talent that have the passion, ambition and desire for continued development and building a thriving career,” he added.

Al-Ablani called on new graduates not to fear job interviews, because fear may be an obstacle to highlighting all your skills during the interview, advising them to be responsive with the interviewer and not just give brief answers. He also called on the interviewers to stay away from personal matters that may embarrass applicants, such as social and political questions, as well as to simplify the interview and not touch on complicated topics to display their experience, as most applicants are fresh graduates who do not have that broad experience, and the tasks of the jobs they are applying for may not require such deep knowledge.

Employee development

Continuing his responses to participants’ questions, Al-Ablani answered a question about employee development: “Once employees join the bank, they receive training courses relevant to each stage of their career, as learning is a deeply rooted culture in NBK that contributes to developing and increasing the efficiency of our human resources, which translates in improving our service quality.”

“NBK training programs do not end at a certain level and are not limited to a specific stage in the career, stressing that all employees in the bank receive training programs to develop their skills, starting from new recruits to leaders, and from day one in the job and continuing throughout their career with the bank. After an employee is promoted and transferred from one job level to another, they receive specific training programs commensurate with the skills required for the new job and qualifying him for the next level until they reach the highest leadership roles in the bank. There is also monitoring to follow up the training and development process to see the results of employee development,” he elaborated.

Al-Ablani mentioned that all the training programs provided by NBK are carefully designed by specialized experts to suit all job levels, noting that “Tamakan” program provides an exceptional opportunity to enhance the skills necessary to navigate the labor market in general, not only working at NBK,” he mentioned.

“NBK is firmly committed to investing in human capital with the support of the executive management, by attracting training and upskilling national talent. We boast an ideal and unique work environment providing exceptional opportunities for continuous career development through high-quality training programs delivered to its employees as well as fresh graduates, which helps them build a sustainable career,” he added.

Golden tips

Al-Ablani shared with the trainees the following important tips to help them navigate their way towards a thriving career:

• Search for the jobs that suit your skills and ambitions

• Always seek to benefit from the expertise of your team members

• Always ask questions and ensure you get adequate answers to develop your expertise

• Work hard and be patient to achieve your desired career development



Kuwait: NBK Named “Best Trade Finance Provider in Kuwait” for 2024

07.02.2024

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has received the award of “Best Trade Finance Provider in Kuwait” for 2024 in Global Finance’s annual survey. The selections were based on entries from banks and other providers, as well as input from industry analysts, corporate executives and technology experts worldwide.

Global Finance stated that the criteria for choosing the winners included transaction volume, scope of global coverage, customer service, competitive pricing and innovative technologies.

NBK was selected as one of the World’s and MENA’s best trade finance providers in Global Finance’s 24th annual World’s Best Trade Finance Providers in more than 100 countries across 8 regions.

The award was granted to NBK in recognition of its initiatives in developing top-notch banking solutions and high-quality services to meet customers’ expectations.

This prestigious award underscores NBK’s solid position and dominant share in the trade finance market given its participation in the major deals across many vital sectors, thanks to its outstanding customer service and added value provided. This is helped by the bank’s broad regional and international network encompassing branches and subsidiaries across 4 continents.

The award also reflects NBK’s exceptional ability to maintain close and sustainable relationships with its clients, making it well-positioned to participate in major financing deals and strengthening its leadership and dominance, locally and regionally.

NBK has a highly experienced professional team in Trade Finance who work tirelessly to ensure delivering the highest service level to customers.

Global Finance, founded in 1987 and headquartered in New York, is one of the most reputable magazines specialized in finance and economics. It has a circulation of 50,000 readers in 193 countries around the world, including senior corporate and financial officers responsible for making investment and strategic decisions at multinational companies and financial institutions. The magazine conducts various annual surveys about innovation and profitability for banks and financial institutions worldwide, based on which it selects top performers on the regional and international levels.



Kuwait: Al-Bahar: We are Optimistic for More Political Stability, Promoting Business Environment in Kuwait

06.02.2024

In an interview with Bloomberg, Ms. Shaikha Al-Bahar, NBK Deputy Group CEO, expressed optimism that a stabilized political environment will improve Kuwait's business landscape.

During the interview, Al-Bahar confirmed that in 2023, NBK consistently maintained strong asset quality and solid capitalization.

Optimism & Positivity 

Al-Bahar expressed confidence in the impact of Kuwait's political landscape on business prospects. She underscored the favorable perspective on the newly appointed government and the transformative policies introduced by the new Prime Minister. Recognized as technocrats committed to a reform agenda, the new cabinet representatives aim to implement strategic changes that will boost the business environment in Kuwait.

“The new cabinet has started to actively engage with the parliament to align on the direction and promote cooperation,” Al-Bahar stated, noting that while the political scene is currently calm, the resumption of sessions and further interaction and execution progress by the newly appointed government are key to gain more confidence in a more optimistic outlook.

“What is important here is to highlight that a stable period of political dialogue can see a lot of these hanging issues get resolved and translate into a more productive legislative calendar,” Al-Bahar added. 

Discussing the projections for 2024, Al-Bahar pointed out that NBK maintains an optimistic and positive outlook regarding the revival of project execution, fostered by a more stable political environment. Such stability is expected to catalyze improvements in the non-oil GDP growth and boost credit demand.

“The strong momentum of projects is expected to continue and feed into the market in 2024, with another KD 6.2 billion worth of awards in the pipeline,” Al-Bahar indicated.

She also pointed out that the projects market rebounded sharply in 2023 with KD +2.5 billion worth of awards: surpassing last year's awards by almost 300%.

“We are hopeful to see some political stability and an improved dialogue between parliament members and the newly appointed cabinet as this will trigger project activity that can revive non-oil GDP activity and demand for credit,” Al-Bahar noted.

Al-Bahar also mentioned that Saudi Arabia is considered a key market that NBK is approaching from all fronts. She also noted that as the operating environment in the kingdom continues to improve, presenting lot of emerging opportunities that align with the bank’s strategic goals.

“We are also expanding under our newly launched Global Wealth Management platform. We have been active in the Saudi market and the NBK franchise is playing an important role in our AUM growth in KSA,” Al-Bahar stated.

2024 Outlook: Navigating the Future

Al-Bahar emphasized that the performance in 2024 may be influenced by an anticipated shift in the Fed’s monetary policy towards a direction that generally does not favor banks, given their business models are designed to thrive in environments of high or rising interest rates. She pointed out that the operational challenge for banks in 2024 will be to defend their margins.

“With our diversification and our growing focus on fee business, we partially hedge revenue from interest rate movements. Our focus will remain on strategy execution and keeping the strength of our balance sheet intact as this is what helps us navigate through different economic cycles,” Al-Bahar explained.

Al-Bahar further elaborated that alongside the core banking's growth momentum, there is an expectation for the ongoing expansion of NBK’s international and wealth management operations, supported by the Group’s presence in key markets, stating that” Our commitment to digital investments will persist in defining our future, with an increased emphasis on incorporating digital services across all business sectors and markets”.

In answering a question regarding provisions in 2023, Al-Bahar explained that the provisions are primarily a precautionary measure, reflecting a historically prudent stance towards managing credit risk.

The challenges facing the Egyptian Pound

When asked about the Egyptian market's condition and the future of the bank's investments there, Al-Bahar stated, "The Group considers Egypt to be a key strategic market for our operations, often referring to it as our 'second domestic market.' She emphasized that NBK has a steadfast presence in Egypt and has no intentions of exiting from this investment, viewing it as a long-term commitment."

“With regards to our operations in Egypt and in domestic currency terms, it remains one of the most profitable in the Group with the highest ROEs and ROAs,” Al-Bahar responded.

“We are looking forward to some easing of geopolitical tensions to allow for some recovery in foreign currency inflows and a reactivation of the government’s asset sales program. Once the confidence is restored in the economy and the currency, we believe there are huge opportunities in Egypt and remain optimistic on its prospects,” Al-Bahar concluded.



Kuwait: Al-Sager: Our Presence in Different Regions is Crucial in Delivering Top-notch Services

05.02.2024

The “TAMAKAN" Program organized a panel discussion featuring Mr. Zaid Isam Al-Sager, General Manager - Deputy Head of International Banking Group at National Bank of Kuwait. During this event, Mr. Al-Sager engaged with the participants, outlining the key milestones of his professional journey, and offering advice on how to forge a successful career path. He also participated in an open dialogue, sharing his banking experiences with the attendees.

This event signifies the fifth successive edition of the "TAMAKAN" Program, aimed at training young Kuwaiti graduates. Continuing for its fifth year in a row, the program receives sponsorship and strategic support from National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), with organization by Creative Confidence.

The Professional Journey of Zaid Al-Sager

At the start of his speech, Zaid Al-Sager began by stating, "I pursued finance and earned my degree from Bentley University in Boston, USA. Following my graduation, I joined NBK Capital in 2005. At that time, it was a newly established company with a modest workforce. Over the years, it has grown to become a leading firm in asset management and investment operations within the region. Today, it operates under a new brand, NBK Wealth, offering extensive wealth management services."

Al-Sager continued: “During the 14 years I dedicated to the company, I was able to develop a diversity of technical and financial skills, starting as a junior analyst and progressing to become the head of the Debt Capital Markets unit within the Investment Banking Department, before eventually transitioning to NBK”.

He elaborated that his tenure at NBK Capital endowed him with comprehensive expertise in corporate finance, fixed income, and capital markets. He highlighted his established history of successfully managing both conventional and Islamic debt securities transactions, alongside public offerings, and private placements for a diverse portfolio of local, regional, and multinational clients.

Al-Sager also emphasized to the young audience that mentorship plays a crucial and essential role at the start of one's professional journey. He pointed out that this stage often presents significant challenges for many young individuals. Overcoming these hurdles, he advised, requires persistent inquiry, research, and learning. He encouraged the youth to actively engage with numbers and data, analyzing them to refine their skills and expand their knowledge base. Al-Sager highlighted the importance of utilizing databases and information, noting that they significantly facilitate making informed decisions especially in challenging situations and when making strategic decisions.

"After accumulating experience at NBK Capital for 14 years, I felt a strong urge to seek out a new challenge. I realized that overseeing NBK’s international branches offered the kind of dynamism that matched my passion and ambition. Consequently, I decided to transition to managing NBK’s International Banking Group. I climbed the corporate ladder, and today, I have reached the position of Deputy Head of International Banking Group.

Inspiring Career Path

Al-Sager imparted wisdom to the newly graduated youth, drawing from his own career path. He emphasized that securing a job position or a promotion and achieving a certain rank is merely the beginning. He stressed the importance of continual development to handle the responsibilities and workload that each level entails.

Each job grade, he noted, comes with its own set of duties and challenges, urging the youth to always be prepared and equipped with the requisite skills and experience to fulfill their roles effectively and sustainably.

He encouraged “TAMAKAN” Program participants on the importance of self-improvement, stating: "The best investment you can make is in yourself, through honing your skills, engaging in ongoing learning, and acquiring experience by continuously asking questions and drawing from the expertise and experiences of those around you."

"Do not fear making mistakes and asking questions, as they are one of the learning paths, particularly at the start of your professional journey. Always exercise patience and don't expect to or focus on simply climbing the career ladder without putting in the effort that qualifies you for that advancement. With each step upward in your job level, the responsibilities increase. Therefore, it's essential that you are prepared to shoulder those responsibilities and possess the capability to tackle work challenges and solve problems," he advised.

International Banking Group

In response to a participant's inquiry regarding the operations of the bank's international branches, Al-Sager explained, "The bank's primary focus is on financing projects carried out by institutions, governments, and international companies across various markets."

“NBK provides a diverse array of services and products, including capital markets, short and medium-term loans, corporate financing, trade financing and letter of credits, as well as commercial real estate financing, mortgage and real estate services on an international scale," 

Al-Sager added.

NBK additionally offers real estate financing services that assist customers in purchasing and selling residential and commercial properties across various locations, including the UAE, the UK, USA, and France. The bank additionally facilitates connections for its clients with top professional advisors such as lawyers, real estate appraisers, and accountants. Furthermore, it provides guidance on real estate financing deals and collaborates with international companies specializing in real estate management located in the UK, France, and the USA.

In response to another inquiry regarding employment at IBG, Al-Sager stated, "NBK is consistently committed to recruiting young skilled national talents, and endeavors to nurture them with the latest programs that align with the most recent global standards."

Forging the Future: A Proactive Vision for Excellence

Al-Sager highlighted the significance of international branches to the operations of NBK Group, stating, "Historically, banks in Kuwait concentrated on the local market and the expansion of domestic branches. 

However, shifts in the geopolitical landscape of Kuwait and the surrounding region, coupled with the saturation of the local market, have precipitated a pressing need for income diversification and the generation of new, geographically diversified revenue streams. This led to our strategic expansion and the development of our business activities beyond Kuwait's borders. As a result, we have achieved a regional and international presence, now spanning the MENA region, Europe, America, and Asia."

"NBK has consistently embraced a forward-thinking approach towards international expansion, evidenced by our international branches, some of which have been operational for over 40 years. We offer our services in some of the world's most prominent cities and financial hubs, including New York, Paris, London, China, and Singapore," Al-Sager added.

“Initially, our overseas branches offered basic services, reflecting our primary focus on Kuwait as the central hub of our business operations. However, as time progressed and our ambition for regional and international growth intensified, we have evolved to deliver cutting-edge banking services and sophisticated investment solutions tailored to our customers' demands. NBK - France serves as a pivotal center through which we extend our services to a broad clientele across Europe, including Germany, Italy, and Spain, among others. 

This includes catering to clients from Kuwait and the GCC who conduct business across various European capitals as well as top-tier European clientele and corporations,” Al-Sager explained.

“We remain committed to actively engaging and broadening our financing operations with major corporations and leading institutions on a global scale,” Al-Sager confirmed.

"Five years ago, the assets of our international branches accounted for 27% of the Group’s total assets. This figure has since increased to approximately 40%. Looking ahead, we aim to further elevate the proportion of our foreign branches' assets relative to the Group's total assets over the next five years," Al-Sager stated.

Al-Sager concluded by emphasizing that NBK is tirelessly striving to maintain its leading position in the local market while developing its regional presence through an overseas expansion strategy. This approach aims to diversify income sources, accelerate growth, and generate maximum added value for shareholders and stakeholders alike.



Kuwait: NBK Launches a Series of Short Ads to Promote Financial Culture among School Students

04.02.2024

As part of its ongoing efforts to enhance the reach and impact of the “Bankee” program, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has launched a series of short ads on financial literacy and positive behaviors, with the aim of spreading awareness, promoting financial culture, and instilling moral values in the students of private and public schools in Kuwait.

“Bankee” is the first program of its kind in Kuwait, which was officially launched last October by NBK, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Kuwait Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha), with a view to promote financial inclusion, especially among school students, to elevate sustainable financial culture among all members of society in the future.

Commenting on this, Asmaa Bin Hussain, Public Relations Officer at National Bank of Kuwait, said, “The program aims to familiarize students with key financial concepts including earning, spending, and saving, and financial responsibilities, through the classroom economy model, which simulates a real-world economy in a practical and interactive manner.”

“The series of ads includes short video clips to familiarize students with “Bankee” content and objectives, encourage them to adopt positive behaviors in early educational stage, and instill basic values, like self-development, responsibility, and teamwork spirit. This reflects NBK’s dedication to raising a generation of young Kuwaitis who understand the importance of financial stability and independence and possess the required financial skills and knowledge to contribute to achieving sustainable development and economic welfare for individuals and society,” she explained.

“The video clips focus on many positive values that help raise a new generation on the right foundations, such as integrity, honesty, saving, differentiating between desires and needs, cooperation, cooperation, and kindness,” she added.

Within Bankee activities, NBK’s executive management organizes frequent visits to government and private schools to follow up on the latest updates on the implementation on the program, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Nazaha and Creative Confidence.

These visits see large attendance of the parents of participating students who express their pleasure with the significant improvements in their children’s financial behavior and knowledge, as the program has become part of their daily life in the classroom.

Bankee’s remarkable success encouraged more schools and students to join it, with 150 schools applying to join, and a total of 15,000 students and 3,000 teachers enrolled in it.

Seeking to enhance the content, Bankee’s website was launched in Arabic and English, as well as social media pages on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube, to enable all participants to benefit from the provided content, activities and events held at different schools all year round.

Bankee is designed based on the classroom economy model, which simulates a real-world economy within the classroom. This is done in an innovative and interactive way enabling students and teachers to leverage an online tool to make different financial transactions using “Bankoz”, the program’s digital currency.

The program gives students the chance to apply for classroom-specific or school-wide jobs, which offer them an opportunity to earn additional income or salary. Classroom jobs are tailored to each classroom and encompass roles such as attendance monitor or teacher's assistant. On the other hand, school jobs involve participating in extracurricular activities at the school level, such as joining the student council. The program also instills responsibility and accountability in the student through incorporating financial expenses as an integral part of the program. Students are required to manage their finances by making payments for classroom-related expenses, such as renting desks and paying utility bills such as water and electricity.

Among the central components of Bankee is the Bankee Store, where students can engage in real-life simulated transactions using the virtual currency, Bankoz. It serves as a practical and interactive platform within the classroom economy, allowing students to experience the process of buying tangible and intangible items, thereby enhancing their financial literacy and decision-making skills.  The store also offers a wide variety of items and services that are relevant and appealing to students, such as school supplies, toys, stationery, and school privileges.

NBK firmly believes that joint private public sector initiatives to provide the young generation with the required knowledge and skills are instrumental to individual as well as social wellbeing and prosperity.

It is worth mentioning that NBK recently received the Bronze Award for its “Bankee” program in the Social, Sustainable & Responsible Banking category, which recognizes the innovations made by institutions to integrate ESG standards into their operations. 



Kuwait: NBK Reports KD 560.6 Million in Net Profits for Financial year 2023

01.02.2024

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) released its full year 2023 financial results for the twelve months period ended December 31, 2023. The Group recorded a net profit of KD 560.6 million (USD 1.8 billion), up 10.1% year-on-year from KD 509.1 million (USD 1.7 billion) in 2022.

As of the end of December 2023, total assets grew by 3.7% year-on-year to reach KD 37.7 billion (USD 122.8 billion), whereas customer deposits surged by 8.8% to reach KD 21.9 billion (USD 71.6 billion). Meanwhile, total loans and advances stood at KD 22.3 billion (USD 72.6 billion), up by 6.1% year-on-year, while attributable shareholders’ equity reached KD 3.7 billion (USD 12.0 billion), growing by 7.3% year-on-year.

 In terms of distributions, the Board of Directors proposed a cash dividend distribution of 25 fils per share for the second half of 2023, bringing the total cash dividends for the year to 35 fils; a payout ratio of 50% of profits attributable. The Board of Directors also proposed the distribution of 5% bonus shares. The proposed distributions are subject to approval by the Annual General Assembly, which is scheduled for March 2024.

Earnings per share (EPS) stood at 68 fils per share for the year 2023, compared to 61 fils in 2022.

Mr. Hamad Al-Bahar, Group Chairman commented on the financial results: “In 2023, NBK achieved robust financial results, showcasing the adaptability of our business model and affirming our consistent progress toward delivering enduring long-term value to our customers, shareholders, and communities”.

“We persist in making substantial strides in executing our strategic agenda, and we are confident that the initiatives undertaken in the past year will serve as a catalyst for even stronger performance in the future,” Al-Bahar continued.

He also emphasized that NBK has a robust balance sheet and a stable capital base, providing support for meeting the expanding needs of its customers while simultaneously striving to achieve optimal returns for its shareholders.

Al-Bahar expressed optimism that the operational environment in Kuwait will gain momentum in the upcoming period, particularly following the attainment of political stability. This positive outlook is further bolstered by the appointment of new prime minister and government, placing a priority in its agenda on addressing economic challenges and fostering efforts to restore confidence in the business climate.

“Throughout the past year, NBK solidified its pioneering position as a leading contributor to social responsibility in Kuwait; affirmed through contributions exceeding KD 28 million across various sectors, including health, care for children and society, environmental initiatives, sports and education,” Al-Bahar stated.

Al-Bahar emphasized that sustainability has become a pivotal driver to enhance the Bank's long-term growth opportunities. He highlighted that NBK continues to undertake numerous significant initiatives supporting responsible business practices, contributing to the sustainable development of Kuwait’s economy. The latest of these initiatives was becoming a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact; recognized as the largest sustainability initiative for responsible business practices.

Meanwhile, Mr. Isam J. Al-Sager, Vice Chairman and Group CEO, said: “In 2023, we delivered a robust performance, experiencing growth in both revenues and profits. The favorable operational performance persisted across our business, as we continued to leverage the advantages of our diverse business portfolio and strategic investments in talent and technology”.

Al-Sager underscored that NBK’s primary business sectors demonstrated strong performance throughout the year, registering increased momentum in the operational performance across key areas including international operations and wealth management. These key segments are witnessing substantial expansion in alignment with the Group's strategic plans to grow in main markets and enhance its offerings in investment and wealth management services.

"The Group's net operating income surged by 15.6% annually, reaching KD 1.2 billion, driven by the growth of net interest income and fees and commissions." Al-Sager added.

He further explained that the growth in profitability aligns with the strength of NBK’s financial position. The expansion of the loan portfolio, total assets in general, and customer deposits was sustained while maintaining robust asset quality levels, thanks to NBK’s prudent risk management policy.

“In 2023, we witnessed a compelling demonstration of the strength of our investment philosophy in growth initiatives, underscoring the value of our customer centricity.  This played a pivotal role in the sustained growth of our diverse business sectors as we persistently invested in the future throughout the year. A central focus was placed on enhancing our digital capabilities to better serve our customers.. We also introduced innovative products and solutions crafted to assist our customers in seamlessly meeting their banking needs,” Al-Sager confirmed.

He emphasized that throughout the year, NBK maintained a steadfast focus on positioning its customers at the core of its priorities, supporting their financial goals through the provision of innovative digital services and products. Notably, the bank garnered several prestigious accolades during the year, including the recognition for being the most innovative bank worldwide in delivering digital banking services by Global Finance Magazine.

“As we navigate the opportunities and challenges that the year 2024 may present, our commitment remains unwavering in maintaining a focus on profitability, capital robustness and sustainable growth. We also acknowledge the importance of closely monitoring various challenges, particularly the escalating geopolitical tensions. Consequently, we approach the future with a sense of caution, mindful of the potential impacts on the operational environment in the region,” Al-Sager said.

He highlighted that the Group, guided by a commitment to responsible leadership, has embraced a new trajectory for its ESG strategy through the formal adoption of a framework for ESG standards. This commitment is evident in the integration of ESG principles into products and services, including offerings such as green mortgage loans, consumer loans for electric cars, eco-friendly housing loans and sustainable finance value propositions.

In addition to that, NBK is committed to reducing its total operational emissions by 25% by 2025 and strives to achieve net-zero operationally by 2035. These efforts are integral to the Bank's comprehensive plans to attain carbon neutrality by 2060. These initiatives have played a role in improving NBK’s MSCI ESG ratings to BBB, in their 2023 review.



Kuwait: Impressive Response from NBK’s Employees in “Your Voice Matters 2023”

30.01.2024

Seeking to improving employee engagement, and to foster a positive organizational culture and workplace environment, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) held its third bank-wide Employee Engagement Survey called “Your Voice Matters 2023”, where employees had the chance to provide their feedback about work environment at the bank.

The survey was first launched in 2018 for NBK Kuwait only, then the second survey in 2021 was expanded to include all international locations, furthering it this year to Group level by including employees in NBK Wealth Management, for the first time. NBK has partnered with a third-party organization “Willis Towers Watson” to ensure utmost confidentiality and give employees the freedom to express their opinions.

The aim of the survey is to measure employee engagement and satisfaction, and highlight NBK's key strengths and areas to improve, which helps make NBK a better workplace, and increase employee satisfaction and retention. It covers 21 main categories, with this year featuring two additional aspects namely ‘Employee Wellbeing’, Diversity & Inclusion’.

The survey that ran for 3 weeks in 4 languages attained a remarkable response rate at 86%, significantly higher than the global average response rate, showing high levels of pride and commitment to NBK as a great organization to work for, with the number of participants reaching 5,200 employees It also achieved a high ‘Sustainable Engagement’ score of 84% for NBK Group, ahead of the global average rate for financial institutions, with main strengths being Learning & Development, Image and Reputation, and Employee Well-Being.

Other key highlights of the survey included 93% of employees expressing their pride to be associated with NBK, 96% stating they work beyond what is required to help it succeed, and 86% seeing that their work gives them a sense of personal accomplishment. In addition, 92% of employees said they fully support the values for which the Bank stands, and 84% believe strongly its goals and objectives.

On this occasion, Mr. Emad Al-Ablani, Head of Group Human Resources at National Bank of Kuwait said, “Your Voice Matters survey is a great opportunity for our employees to play an active role in shaping the future of the work environment at NBK.”

“Our role is to listen to the opinions of our employees and work with them to improve the work environment in the bank, reflecting our belief that every voice in NBK really matters and contributes to change,” he noted.

“The survey results are shared directly with the executive management, and we have started working on implementing the received feedback by a specialized team formed from different departments that works carefully to address the issues and suggestions raised in the survey,” he explained.

“This initiative reflects NBK’s unwavering dedication to enhancing the work environment, by evaluating employees’ opinions, interests and experiences, and taking decisions and actions accordingly,” he added.

It is worth mention that NBK has taken many actions in response to employees’ feedback received in the previous surveys; mainly including entitling female employees to tickets payout for their spouse and children, allowing flexible working hours, enabling employees to benefit from annual leave balance in advance, and outsourcing the management of NBK Clinic to ensure high-quality healthcare services.

Regarding its human capital as the most valuable asset and an instrumental element for success and growth, NBK strives to attract and nurture high-caliber talent, and to create a diverse, inclusive and equitable workplace. It always focuses on employees’ physical, mental, and financial well-being to thrive at work.

As the leading organization in the banking sector, NBK stands out as the employer of choice for Kuwaiti talent, leading the entire private sector in terms of national labor ratio, while also enjoying the highest retention rates of Kuwaiti employees.



Kuwait: Al-Othman: NBK’s Digital Excellence is the Result of a Forward-looking Banking Vision

28.01.2024

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) hosted a panel discussion for Mr. Mohammed Al-Othman, CEO-Consumer and Digital Banking with Tamakan program trainees, in which he shared his extensive experience gained through a long career in the banking industry.

Tamakan is an immersive and innovative training initiative designed for young Kuwaiti graduates organized Creative by Confidence with a strategic partnership with NBK for the fifth year in a row. This program offers a unique opportunity for Kuwaiti fresh graduates to benefit from the expertise of the members of bank’s executive management.

The session saw remarkable interaction, as Al-Othman shared the milestones of his career in Kuwait’s leading banking institution, and the challenges he faced throughout this journey. He also answered a number of questions posed by the participants, as well as exchanged ideas and visions, and raised issues preoccupying the youth during their early career.

Joining NBK

Al-Othman talked about his early career when he worked as a teller at NBK branches and his progression in the branches, saying: “I joined NBK in 2006, where I started in branches. I enjoyed working in the branches because of direct contact with customers, as I always had a passion for serving people and meeting their needs. Working in branches gave me great experience in identifying customer problems and the ways to solve them.”

“From day one, I had a great passion for continuous development and learning, and working in the branches was a two-shift system. I used to stay at work between the shifts to continue working on developing my skills. So, the key advice I can give to young people at the beginning of their career is to be committed to learning, development and enhancing their skills, especially at a young age, as learning at this stage is better and easier,” he added.

“After moving from the branches to the head office, I sought to serve people and meet customer needs in a broader way, especially after the experiences I gained from working in branches and understanding the needs of customers from different segments and ages,” he continued.

“I participated in many training courses at Harvard and Columbia Business Schools, which represented a major turning point in my career, as it helped to upskill me in different area, which was reflected in my performance and had a significant impact on my career development, and made me more passionate and determined to success,” he noted.

Mistakes are the key to learning

Al-Othman talked about the fear of making mistakes at early career saying, “There is no work without mistakes. The employee will not learn without making mistakes, but what is most important is the effort made and the added value that the employee gives to the work team and the organization he works for.”

“Be brave and let go of the fear of making mistakes in your work. Work to acquire new skills every day, and try to benefit from the experienced and professional colleagues at the workplace, whether they are juniors or seniors,” he advised the youth.

“Learning and development create self-confidence and upskilling yourself makes you stand on solid ground. Therefore, the easiest way to progress to leadership positions is to acquire the necessary experience and skills and be prepared to seize the available opportunities,” he remarked.

“At NBK, career progress is based only on employee’s competence, commitment, dedication, productivity, added value provided to the organization, and his role in improving the quality of the bank’s products and services,” he emphasized.

Work environment

Listing the key factors that enabled him to reach this position, Al-Othman said: “The work environment at NBK is ideal for those who have passion and ambition for advancement by accommodating creativity and innovation. The bank also helps employees to achieve their ambitions, thanks to the unique opportunities for continuous professional development, through the high-quality training programs provided both to employees and fresh graduates, in partnership with globally reputable educational institutions.”

“Working at NBK has instilled in me the culture of continuous development, creativity, innovation, and always looking for solutions to develop work and provide high-quality products and services. I always strive to make my mark in every position, and to add value to the organization, customers, and my team members,” he added.

“NBK has a set of principles defining work culture and all the details related to the work environment and communication between team members, which represents a melting pot for all ideas and different management approaches on all levels, with open-door policy and one-team spirit representing key characteristics of NBK’s work environment. 

Finding passion in NBK

Answering a question from one of the participants about whether he was offered positions in the public sector, Al-Othman said: “Working in the private sector gives me more room for creativity, innovation and continuous development, especially in an institution like NBK. Conversely, the public sector is still characterized by rigidity and routine, so I always follow my passion and choose the place where I feel able to develop work and provide added value.”

Al-Othman advised the youth not to focus on job grade or financial returns only, but most importantly the passion and love of their job. Success is not limited to finding a specific jobs in a large organization, but you must from day one set your goals and work to achieve these goals by doubling effort and continuing education and training so that you can add value to your team and organization.

Al-Othman mentioned that the ambitious Kuwaiti youth are highly interested to join the private sector, and from our side, we are seeking to attract national talent to join NBK, the largest banking institution in the private sector.

“Supporting the youth is instrumental in NBK’s strategy, as we are always keen to attract national talent and provide a series of professional training courses and academic programs to develop upskill and qualify them to take on leadership roles in the future,” he added.

Advancement of payment systems

On a question about the future of payment systems, Al-Othman said: “The payment landscape will see significant advancement during the coming period, as we always strive to develop the services provided to the public, using cutting-edge technology.”

Al-Othman mentioned that Kuwait is a regional leader in digital banking and payment solutions, as the young nature of Kuwaiti society enabled faster spread of technology and wider adoption of digitization among all segments.

Speaking on Weyay, Kuwait’s first digital bank, Al-Othman said, “The launch of Weyay Bank echoes NBK’s digital transformation culture and strategy, as well as our endeavors to stay relevant to the needs of the youth by providing them with all innovative banking services. The idea of establishing Weyay was primarily to attract a segment of young people whose preferences we have studied very carefully according to specialized research and data analysis using advanced scientific methods.”

“The huge digital advancement and boom in banking services over the past years was the fruit of years of work by all departments in the bank, as we developed plans and strategies and set goals to provide customers with the best innovative and advanced products that serve their needs and expectations,” he added.

“Today, we are reaping the fruits of long years of hard work and successful strategies that fostered our excellence in the area of cutting-edge digital services and payment solutions. 

These results also prove our prudent management and forward-looking vision for the changes now taking place in the banking industry,” he noted. “The ideal work environment at NBK propels everyone to do their best to maintain the bank’s leadership among local banks, and ensure its superiority in providing the most advanced digital banking services,” he concluded.

It is worth mentioning that “Tamakan” is part of NBK’s CSR contributions and strategy to achieve sustainable development, which depends on building an innovative, hardworking and responsible generation. The bank also always places the youth as a top priority being the cornerstone for creating a prosperous future for Kuwait.



Kuwait: NBK Celebrates Graduation of the Eighth Cohort of “High-Fliers” Program

25.01.2024

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) celebrated the graduation of the 8th cohort of its leadership development program “NBK High-Fliers” which is held in collaboration with IE Business School, Madrid.

The closing ceremony was attended by NBK Executives, as well as representatives of IE Business School, Madrid.

This cohort extended over a period of 6 months and graduated 21 participants from different areas in the bank including NBK Capital, as well as international locations (NBK KSA Wealth Management, London, Shanghai, Paris and Bahrain).

The program covered a variety of important topics including key leadership skills, new trends in marketing, negotiation skills, building a culture of excellence, change management and innovation, measuring and managing performance, as well as management science, effective communication, developing new and unconventional thinking, and combining technical and leadership skills to cultivate strategic thinking in leadership.

The participating teams presented their projects for innovative banking themes and solutions; and the panel consisting of executives at NBK and representatives of IE Business School, Madrid, selected 3 winners in the top performance ranking, and a winning innovation project team, whose project will be implemented subject to a set of criteria and conditions set by NBK.

On this occasion, Najla Al-Sager, Head of Talent Management, Group Human Resources at National Bank of Kuwait, said, “The NBK High-Fliers program for developing young banking leaders is part of the ongoing efforts to develop our human capital and talent. It also echoes the bank’s vision of placing the sustainable development of human resources as a top priority, especially young leaders, who are considered essential for achieving the bank’s long-term ambitions.”

“NBK places the development of its people as a top priority, harnessing all its capabilities to contribute to their career progression by providing training and development programs held in partnership with globally renowned educational institutions, in order to keep pace with the key changes in the banking business,” she added.

NBK boasts a unique work environment that is comparable with international peers, where it harnesses all its capabilities to develop employees and stimulate their creativity and innovation. This reflects positively on employees’ performance, and helps the bank maintain its leadership position, both locally and regionally.

Founded in 1973, IE Business School is considered one of the leading and top ranked business schools in the world according to international magazines and newspapers including Forbes, The Economist, Financial Times and Bloomberg.



Kuwait: Al-Bahar Visits Al-Ghanim Bilingual School, Overseeing the "Bankee" Program Rollout

22.01.2024

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) paid a special visit to Al-Ghanim Bilingual School in Salwa to assess the progress of the "Bankee" Program, marking its official launch in the current academic year.

NBK executive management conducted a school tour to observe key advancements in the implementation of the "Bankee" program across schools. This initiative seeks to raise awareness and foster financial literacy among students in both public and private schools. The program is carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, the Anti-Corruption Authority "Nazaha," and Creative Confidence.

The visitors included Ms. Shaikha Al-Bahar, Deputy Group CEO at National Bank of Kuwait, Dr. Salman Al-Lafi – Assistant under Secretary of Private and Qualitative Education and Eng. Abrar Al- Hammad, Assistant Secretary-General of the Prevention Sector at Nazaha and Sumayah Al-Jasem, Founder, Managing Director at Creative Confidence.

The school's program managers briefed Al-Bahar on the students' engagement with the unique content of “Bankee” Program. They discussed details related to the program's application, including the virtual bank experience enabling students to have a financial account and trade using the virtual currency "Bankoz." The students earn rewards by accumulating program currency in their accounts.

Al-Bahar visited several classrooms to observe how the program has integrated into students' daily routines, witnessing firsthand the awards given for exceptional performance and behavior. 

The visit attracted a significant number of parents who engaged with their children, discussing the program's features. 

Al-Bahar expressed her satisfaction with the notable progress of the Bankee Program, highlighting the excellent engagement from the entire system, including schools, students, and supportive parents who have embraced the idea since its inception.

Al-Bahar emphasized that the Bankee program aligns with NBK’s overarching commitment to promote financial inclusion across all societal segments. She stressed the importance of supporting initiatives that empower children to manage their financial resources effectively, enabling them to build a secure future for themselves and their families.

Al-Bahar expressed that NBK, driven by a sense of national duty and responsibility, is committed to leveraging its unique capabilities and extensive financial experience. This commitment aims to make a substantial contribution in promoting awareness of financial stability and independence among the present generation of Kuwaiti youth.

“Comprehensive financial education not only opens doors but also plays a crucial role in fostering the long-term well-being of individuals, families, and communities. Increased financial literacy serves as a foundation for both personal and national prosperity,” Al-Bahar said.

“Empowering our children with financial knowledge is an investment in our future. Equipping them with the skills to make informed financial decisions sets them on the path to success and prosperity,” Al-Bahar added.

Al-Bahar also emphasized NBK’s strong belief that the youth are the future leaders of our nation, and the bank’s aims to play a key role in their development journey by imparting valuable lessons on managing money wisely.

The success of the program in the pilot phase has garnered interest from schools and students, prompting the initial registration of 30 out of 150 applicants. Additionally, a special needs school (Joan Al Kuwait Elementary School), has also joined "Bankee" Program. Over 16,000 students are currently benefiting from the program, with the active involvement of 3,000 teachers.

"Bankee" Program has expanded its reach by launching its website in both Arabic and English. Additionally, it has established a presence on various social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. These initiatives aim to facilitate access for all participants to the program's content, activities, and events taking place in different schools throughout the year.

NBK has recently been honored with the Bronze Award from Qorus in the Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) category for Bankee Program. This recognition signifies the bank’s commitment to incorporating innovations that integrate sustainability and environmental, social, and governance standards into its activities.

"Bankee" stands as the pioneering program launched by NBK, designed to contribute to financial inclusion within the community. Specifically tailored for students in schools, the program seeks to enhance levels of financial literacy, ensuring sustainable improvement for the future. NBK officially inaugurated the program in October in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Nazaha.

The program's objective is to familiarize students with fundamental economic concepts and practices, including earning, spending, saving, and financial responsibilities. This is achieved through the implementation of a classroom system that mirrors the real economic environment, employing practical methods within an interactive setting.



Kuwait: Al-Kharafi to the Youth: Never Stop Striving for Development.. Unleash Your Creativity

21.01.2024

As part of the ongoing panel discussions of “Tamakan” with the executives of National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the program hosted Mr. Mohammed Al Kharafi, COO – Head of Group Operations and Information Technology, who shared his extensive experience gained through a long career in the banking sector, and gave them advice on the best ways to develop their career.

This is the third the panel discussion of “Tamakan” program for training Kuwaiti fresh university graduates, organized by Creative Confidence for the fifth year in a row with NBK’s strategic sponsorship.

The discussion focused on key insights for a successful career in a dynamic landscape of the banking business, where the ambitious graduates gained insights into career success and the future of information technology in the banking sector.

A unique opportunity

Commencing his discussion with the youth, Al-Kharafi said: “Tamakan” program is a unique opportunity to enhance the skills required to navigate your way into the labor market. Over the past years, the program has achieved many excellent outcomes, so, every participant should make the most of this opportunity, considering it as the starting point for a successful and sustainable career.”

“At NBK, we believe in the importance of supporting the youth, and therefore, we are always keen to attract and develop young national talents. This program has been designed for the youth who are ambitious and passionate about their career, by helping graduates choose their professional and academic path more clearly. Therefore, the program is an opportunity for fresh graduates to develop their knowledge and become an effective workforce,” he added.

Al-Kharafi called on the young people to take advantage of training opportunities, saying, “Make your ambitions sky-high, and strive to develop the necessary capabilities, experiences and skills that help realize these ambitions. Do not lose passion or let frustration creep into you just because of the obstacles you encounter at the beginning of your career. On the contrary, you should rather learn how to overcome these obstacles and learn from them until you reach your goal.”

Successful career

Speaking of his early career, Al-Kharafi mentioned: “ My passion  and my first choice was to work in the banking sector; because it always propels me to learn, develop, acquire new skills and exposes me to new experiences every day, and stay ahead of the latest technologies, which I utilize to improve and to develop the products and services provided to customers,” he noted.

I joined NBK and started at Branches division, where I worked my way up to become branch manager. Afterwards, I held several positions until I currently reached the position of Head of Group Operations and Information Technology.”

“The transition from working as a branch manager to joining Group Operations & IT was not easy, due to the difference in work nature, but my passion for learning, developing, facing challenges and overcoming obstacles was undoubtedly crucial to my career accomplishment,” he continued.

Al-Kharafi highlighted the importance of discipline and adhering to high work ethics, having a continuous learning mindset, and adaptability to the ever-evolving labor market landscape.

He shared real-life tips on navigating the early stages of career, noting that focusing on problem solving and critical thinking are key characteristics of a successful personality, as well as the ability to analyze complex situations and develop creative solutions is essential for success in any job role.

“Curiosity and passion for continuous learning is what we look for in new employees, because this desire is the main driver for building a successful career. New employees have a margin of risk at their early career, as well as the opportunity to benefit from the expertise of team members in each department,” he added.

Al-Kharafi called on the trainees to go the extra mile in continuous learning and developing skills, and to try to make the utmost benefit from all the top-notch training programs at the beginning of their career to raise their efficiency and skills with knowledge, which will help them make the right decisions in the future.

Continuous development

Al-Kharafi spoke about the development of banking, especially with technological advancement and mobile banking apps that revolutionized how banking transactions are made, and have grown to account now for the largest share of banking transactions. “NBK led the way in digital transformation, and Group Operations play a fundamental role in achieving NBK Group’s goals by providing top-notch innovative digital banking solutions. We are also constantly working to advance the bank’s digital agenda, as one of the trailblazers of digital innovation in Kuwait and across the entire region,” he explained.

“We are always seeking to embrace innovation and apply it in all of the bank’s operations and business models. We also provide a work environment promoting continuous development and flexibility, which enables us to keep pace with the ever-evolving customer requirements in light of the fast-paced technological advancement in the banking industry,” he added.

Robotics for speed and accuracy

In the discussion, Al-Kharafi highlighted the emerging trends, innovations and intersection of banking and technology as well as the future of IT in banking and new technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and leveraging new technologies to advance the bank’s digital agenda.

He gave an insight into the important role of RPA in banking operations, highlighting its potentials and impacts, and explaining how RPA improves efficiency, simplifies operations, and propels the industry to higher levels of innovation.

Al-Kharafi discussed how these technologies are transforming the way banks operate, making them more efficient, secure and customer-centric.

“With customers increasing reliance on smartphones for their banking transactions via the NBK Mobile Banking App, we continue to focus on robots to automate our operations using AI, which helps reduce service turnaround times while improving accuracy and customer experience,” Al-Kharafi noted.

“Al-Kharafi Confirmed that In line with the instructions and directions of the Central Bank of Kuwait & The Cybersecurity Strategic Frame work , Cybersecurity is the a key pillar of our digital transformation agenda. NBK adopts a proactive cybersecurity strategy to meet the dynamic development of cyber threats, in addition to its endeavors to improve internal operations and create a robust digital culture across the bank, including a comprehensive framework for data governance, privacy and security,

NBK Group Operations & IT organizes a program titled “Innovation Lab”, which serves as provides an incubator to help stimulate employees’ creativity to provide innovative solutions for challenges simulating their work nature in the bank. At the end of the program, the participant with the best idea is named and honored.

Golden tips

Al-Kharafi advised the young people to look for a work environment that provides them with continuous development and helps their progress to the highest positions. He noted that NBK regards supporting the youth as a fundamental part of its strategy, and always seeks to attract national talent and develop and upskill them through a series of training courses and professional academic programs, in preparation for taking on leadership positions in the future.

It is worth mentioning that the goal of “Tamakan” program is to develop the personal skills needed to become compelling candidates, in addition to encouraging the Kuwaiti youth to explore their potentials and unlock their creativity. 

The program adopts the Blended Learning methodology and focuses on many themes and workshops about creativity and innovation, design thinking, business model design, career exploration and innovative de-risking solutions.

NBK is a key contributor in different social initiatives aligning with Kuwait National Development Plan (KNDP), including youth empowerment and education development, reflecting its belief that the youth are Kuwait’s most valuable resource and the main driver of national development.



Kuwait: NBK Hosts a Series of Workshops for the Employees of Kuwait Fund

18.01.2024

In line with its strategic partnership with many government institutions across all sectors, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) hosted a series of workshops for the employees of Kuwait Fund For Arab Economic Development (KFAED), which focused on key areas related to the Fund’s activities including Treasury, Trade Finance, and Money Transfers.

The series included 2 workshops held over 4 days at NBK Headquarters and attended by 25 KFAED employees during the period from 10 December 2023 to 14 January 2024.

The sessions included interactive discussions and knowledge sharing, with the aim of fostering a stronger connection between KFAED and NBK, and ensuring continued support for its vital contributions and strategic initiatives in global economic development. KFAED plays an active role in the international development efforts by providing technical assistance, as well as loans on concessionary terms to finance development projects in many developing countries. 

Speaking on this, Ghena Ben-Ghareeb, Head of HR Strategic Business Partners, Group Human Resources at National bank of Kuwait said, “These workshops underline NBK’s dedication to actively engage in developing the human capital of government entities, aligning with its role as the main banking partner of the government sector.”

“NBK has unwavering dedication to developing human resources, within its partnerships with all institutions, especially in the government sector, in line with delivering its social and development responsibilities. This complements the bank’s annual initiatives stemming from its belief in the profound impact of these purposeful programs in serving society and people, and reflecting its leading role in this field over long decades,” she noted.

“Disseminating the banking culture and familiarizing the government sector cadres with the banking business in general comes within NBK’s endeavors to align the Group's economic sustainability goals with those of the country, which are also driven by highly trained and qualified human resources,” she added.

“NBK maintains solid relations with Kuwaiti government institutions, and the training plans for national cadres come within this synergy and the bank’s effective contribution in preparing a competitive and productive generation to elevate national workforce,” she emphasized.

NBK’s initiatives underline its profound strategy for investing in the human capital and raising financial awareness in all entities in Kuwait. To this end, the bank allocates a team of prominent banking experts to share their knowledge and expertise with the promising talents.



Kuwait: NBK Organizes a Masterclass on Leadership and Influence, in Partnership with IE Madrid

17.01.2024

Regarding its employees as the most valuable resource, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) always strives to develop them and increase their efficiency through the best training and development programs and workshops in collaboration with globally renowned educational institutions and experts. In this context, the bank organized a masterclass focusing on Leadership & Influence titled “Achieve Greater Influence and Impact with Less Effort”, in partnership with IE University - Business School Madrid.

This masterclass is the last of a series of 6 masterclasses organized by NBK covering a number of key topics including Innovation and Leadership and Effective Communication and Negotiation Skills.

The Masterclass was delivered by Professor Mark Fritz, the prominent leadership speaker, and professor at IE University - Business School Madrid and attended by 40 NBK leaders.

In the Masterclass, Mark shared with participants a framework with the ways for leaders to extend their influence to places they cannot personally reach. When leaders extend their influence and impact, they expand success, not just for themselves, but also for everyone in their team. 

Mark has mentored leaders and delivered masterclasses in over 50 countries across the world. He has also delivered leadership development programs for leading companies, banks and other institutions, and taught courses on ownership, leadership and influence at prestigious business schools across Europe.

Speaking on this, Maryam Al-Nasrallah, Talent Management Manager, Group Human Resources at National Bank of Kuwait, said: “We are always working to enhance the competencies and technical skills of our employees, including leadership capabilities and personal and professional skills. This aligns with NBK’s belief that work team efficiency is essential to ensure the quality of different banking services provided to customers, and that continuous training keeps employees abreast of the changes and developments taking place in the banking industry.”

“Investing in our employees is instrumental in our strategy to achieve sustainable growth and maintain our excellence and leadership. Therefore, NBK strives to keep pace with the latest developments in the training and development area, as part of the continuous support provided to employees to empower and qualify them through specialized programs,” she added.

“NBK has a unique work environment that is comparable with international peers. We harness all our capabilities to develop employees and always seek to unlock their creativity and innovation, which positively reflects on their performance, and help maintain our leadership position, both locally and regionally,” she noted.

Founded in 1973, IE Business School is considered one of the leading and top ranked business schools in the world according to international magazines and newspapers including Forbes, The Economist, Financial Times and Bloomberg.



Kuwait: Al-Marzouq: NBK is the Perfect Arena for Ambitious Goal-Setters 

14.01.2024

 

In its second panel discussion featuring executive management members of National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the TAMAKAN Program welcomed Mr. Sulaiman Al-Marzouq, Deputy CEO for Kuwait at National Bank of Kuwait. During the session, Mr. Al-Marzouq shared valuable insights into the pivotal stages of his career with the Kuwaiti youth, offering insights into the most significant stages of his career that eventually led to his assumption of top leadership positions within the largest banking institution in Kuwait.

Al-Marzouq discussed the challenges he encountered during his enriching journey with the participants of the TAMAKAN Program, dedicated to training university graduates. This program, now in its fifth consecutive year, is sponsored and strategically supported by NBK and organized by Creative Confidence. In addition to sharing insights into his experiences, Al-Marzouq offered valuable advice to the participants, serving as a guiding light for them to forge a successful career path.

Fostering an Inspiring Workplace Atmosphere  

Al-Marzouq emphasized the significance of establishing goals early in life for success, along with the importance of selecting a work environment that fuels energy and creativity. During his conversation with young individuals, he remarked, "In the prime of your professional life, each person should define their goals and align their job choices accordingly. While a job can be a means to achieve financial and professional objectives, passion for the work remains the fundamental cornerstone for success, progress, and the realization of one's aspirations."

NBK offers an optimal work environment for individuals driven by passion and ambition to attain top leadership roles. With a workplace atmosphere comparable to international institutions, the bank is dedicated to supporting employees in realizing their aspirations. NBK provides outstanding opportunities for continuous professional development, extending to its workforce, including recent graduates, through high-level training programs in collaboration with renowned educational institutions," Al-Marzouq added.

Al-Marzouq offered guidance to the youth, advising them to embrace the current phase of their lives. His advice included finding joy in their work while their responsibilities are still minimal, pursuing their passion wherever it may lead, maintaining ambition, striving to acquire new skills daily, and making the most of the competencies and experiences gained through their work.

Courage & Accountability

In reference to the commencement of his professional journey, Al-Marzouq remarked, "I initiated my career in the treasury department, drawn to the multitude of skills and experiences it imparts—vital for anyone in the banking sector. I developed a deep appreciation for this role and dedicated 12 years to it, recognizing that the department serves as a crucial link between the bank and the dynamic local and international financial markets, demanding swift decision-making."

“Engaging in treasury management not only deepened my love for banking but also instilled in me the courage to embrace greater work responsibilities. Hence, every ambitious individual should be fearless and unafraid of making mistakes, recognizing that one cannot learn without them. A mistake serves as the initiation of the journey toward success and growth. However, the crucial lesson lies in avoiding the repetition of the same mistake,” Al-Marzouq advised.

Continuing his discussion on his professional journey, Al-Marzouq mentioned, "Following a 12-year tenure in treasury management, I transitioned to the Central Bank of Kuwait. This move afforded me the opportunity to gain extensive skills and knowledge concerning the regulatory and administrative framework that govern the operations of the banking sector in Kuwait."

Emphasizing the significance of the Central Bank of Kuwait, Al-Marzouq highlighted it as a venerable and crucial institution for the operations of local banks. He noted that the Central Bank houses experienced bankers whose wealth of expertise significantly contributes to bolstering confidence in both the local banking sector and Kuwait’s economy.

The Crucial Role of Confidentiality in Banking Careers

Al-Marzouq directed the focus of the youth engaged in the "TAMAKAN" Program to a crucial aspect when embarking on a career in the banking sector – the importance of safeguarding work confidentiality. He emphasized that an employee's reputation is inseparable from the institution they work for, highlighting how a strong personal reputation significantly contributes to one's professional development. Stressing the need for responsibility, he underscored the importance of maintaining both personal and organizational reputations, particularly in the banking sector, where the nature of the work often involves handling sensitive information.

Team Spirit

In response to a participant's inquiry regarding rapid development, Al-Marzouq emphasized the advantages of collaborative teamwork, highlighting how the exchange of experiences and skills among team members is mutually beneficial. 

Encouraging continuous learning, Al-Marzouq emphasized that it enhances an individual's promptness and accuracy. He advised young professionals to exercise patience, urging them not to leave their roles or organizations solely due to factors related to a specific person in a managerial position or within the same team. Instead, Al-Marzouq recommended having a well-thought-out plan and goals, rooted in personal decisions, as circumstances may change, presenting unforeseen opportunities. The key is to be fully prepared to seize these opportunities when they arise.

Al-Marzouq advocated prioritizing the enhancement of skills that contribute to swift and accurate work completion. He encouraged individuals to regularly seek advice from those in their surroundings on the most effective and efficient approaches to completing tasks. Emphasizing the importance of accumulating ample experience and acquiring the necessary skills, he underscored that such efforts are essential for securing higher positions and deserving promotions in one's career.

Emphasizing that career advancement at NBK is contingent on skill and achieving work with excellence, Al-Marzouq highlighted that the career path doesn't conclude solely with promotion or attaining a higher rank. He pointed out that several factors should be considered, with a primary focus on the added value one can contribute to the new role or position.

Charting an Exceptional Career Path

Al-Marzouq recommended that participants in the "TAMAKAN" Program seize the valuable opportunity offered by NBK. He encouraged them to leverage this exceptional experience to enhance their skills and readiness for the job market. The program, he emphasized, serves as a crucial steppingstone for newly graduated university students, facilitating their transition into a dynamic and active workforce within the Kuwaiti economy.

Al-Marzouq further counseled them to focus on honing essential skills and gaining the requisite experience, positioning themselves to meet the demands of a highly competitive labor market across various sectors. He underscored that acquiring these capabilities not only prepares them for employment but also empowers them to potentially establish their own businesses. Al-Marzouq emphasized that the program aligns with NBK's strategy, dedicated to supporting Kuwaiti youth, paving the way for them to forge a bright and successful future.

A Program of Exceptional Empowerment

The TAMAKAN Program aims to cultivate essential personal skills for active participation in professional life. Moreover, it strives to inspire Kuwaiti youth to discover their hidden potential and capabilities, while also fostering the creativity of emerging talents.

The program adopts a blended learning approach, combining in-person sessions with online training through electronic platforms and interactive tools for remote learning. It covers various subjects and workshops, delving into creativity, innovation, design thinking, business model design, career exploration, and the development of solutions to mitigate risks.

The program adopts a blended learning approach, combining in-person sessions with online training through electronic platforms and interactive tools for remote learning. It covers various subjects and workshops, delving into creativity, innovation, design thinking, business model design, career exploration, and innovative de-risking solutions.

NBK is dedicated to supporting Kuwait’s strategic agenda, particularly in fostering economic growth through backing the private sector and alignment with the state's development plans. This commitment is in line with the long-term national goals outlined in New Kuwait Vision 2035.

Navigating a Successful Career Path: Insights Shared by Al-Marzouq

In his session with TMAKAN Program’s participants, Al-Marzouq shared a set of guidance, following which could aid those entering the job market in excelling, progressing, and forging a successful career path.

• Clearly define your goals and align your job choices accordingly.
• Equip yourself with ample experience and the necessary skills.
• Don't fear making mistakes; learning often stems from them.
• Prioritize continuous self-development to stay prepared for opportune moments.
• Pursue your passion and find joy in your work.
• Always consider the added value you contribute to the organization.
• Recognize that an employee's reputation is intertwined with the workplace’s overall reputation.

 

 



Kuwait: NBK Awarded “Best Foreign Exchange Provider in Kuwait” for 2024

11.01.2024

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) was awarded “Best Foreign Exchange Provider in Kuwait” for 2024, for the 12th consecutive time in Global Finance’s annual survey based on the input from industry analysts, corporate executives and technology experts around the world.

The criteria for choosing the Foreign Exchange Providers Award winners included transaction volume, market share, scope of global coverage, customer service, competitive pricing and innovative technologies. Global Finance also considered bank submissions, input from industry analysts, corporate executives and technology specialists.

On this occasion, Global Finance mentioned, “This year’s winning FX banks have invested heavily to both increase the breadth of the FX services they offer and provide innovative FX tools to help their clients navigate headwinds.”

Global Finance magazine has named its 24th annual World’s Best Foreign Exchange Providers in 87 countries including 7 different global regions, as well as the winning providers for FX research and analysis and for FX trading technology.

NBK was listed among the Best Foreign Exchange Providers in the Middle East and the World, in terms of providing FX market services along with major international financial institutions such as J.P. Morgan, BBVA, Société Générale, and UBS.

Receiving this prestigious award reaffirms NBK’s position as a local and regional leader in providing top-notch innovative banking solutions to its clients. This leadership is the fruit of the bank’s huge investments in developing its infrastructure to offer high-quality services as well as its investments in high-caliber banking professionals.

Furthermore, it is a testimonial to the dedication and hard work of NBK Treasury team who strive tirelessly to ensure providing clients with highly competitive rates, top-notch customer service, and innovative solutions tailored to their individual needs.

Global Finance, founded in 1987 and headquartered in New York, is one of the most reputable magazines specialized in finance and economics. It has a circulation of 50,000 readers in 193 countries around the world, including senior corporate and financial officers responsible for making investment and strategic decisions at multinational companies and financial institutions.

The magazine conducts various surveys annually about innovation and profitability for banks and financial institutions all over the world, based on which it selects top performers on the regional and international levels.



Kuwait: NBK Tops Social Media in Kuwait with the Highest Followers and Interactions

09.01.2024

As we are approaching the end of 2023, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) continued to dominate banking social media landscape in Kuwait, in terms of the number of followers as well as interactions and engagement across different platforms. In addition, the bank’s social media pages played an instrumental role in enriching customer experience through the proactive response, and customers’ impressive interaction with its engaging content.

NBK has the highest number of followers among all banks in Kuwait, with over 2.2 million followers across all platforms by the end of 2023.

During this year, the bank received 3.2 million interactions and increased the number of its followers by 160,000 followers on all platforms including Instagram, X, Facebook, TikTok and YouTube.

In addition, staying up to date with trends on TikTok was an important goal in 2023, as the bank succeeded in achieving more than 332,000 views on this platform, demonstrating impressive engagement from a large audience.

Commenting on these accomplishments, Abdul-Mohsen Al-Rushaid, AGM, Head of Digital Communications at National Bank of Kuwait said, “We are proud of our achievements in digital communication in 2023, which reflect our commitment to setting standards for meaningful and effective communicating with our customers, employees, and other stakeholders. This stems from our belief in the powerful role of effective communication in strengthening relationships and stimulating innovation.”

“During 2023, NBK’s Communications team worked hard to develop and implement effective communication strategies that had a positive impact on our business, noting that the engaging content and proactive responses took our platforms to new levels of excellence and leadership,” he added.

 “We continue to benefit from social media, which recorded a growth in the follower base by 10% during 2023, as a vital means of communication and engagement, while focusing on real-time interaction with customers, in addition to highlighting the different aspects of our social contributions,” he emphasized.

“Last year witnessed the launch of campaigns aimed at attracting potential customers, in addition to our pivotal role in supporting the regulatory authorities’ campaigns and keen endeavors to educate customers, most notably the Central Bank of Kuwait’s “Let’s Be Aware” campaign, which aims to promote financial inclusion and disseminate educational materials and awareness content,” he noted.

NBK is constantly updating its social media content, ranging from educational and media awareness campaigns, in addition to engaging content and challenge competitions that give followers the opportunity to enter draws on valuable prizes and exceptional rewards.

It is worth mentioning that NBK’s presence spans various social media platforms including Facebook, X, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube, underscoring its keenness to keep pace with all developments in order to satisfy customers’ needs and expectations, in addition to its constant endeavors to optimize communication with followers on these platforms.

Internal Communications

Recognizing the importance of internal communications, NBK has revolutionized its internal communication strategy. Using innovative channels and personalized content, we have fostered a cohesive environment where every employee feels connected, informed and empowered.

The introduction of interactive platforms, real-time updates, and comprehensive information dissemination resulted in developing a comprehensive strategy for internal communications that act as a hub for news and announcements delivered to all employees across different locations.

Improving website user experience

NBK’s commitment to providing an enhanced user experience has been embodied through continuous improvements to the website, by focusing on transparency, accessibility, customer centricity, as well as attractive design.

During 2023, NBK focused on improving website user experience through a new, more attractive and interactive journey that helped achieve unprecedented increase in the number of website users.

The new design of some website pages includes more visually attractive elements when browsing the website content via mobile, which represents 89% of website visits.

During the year, the number of visits exceeded 8 million visits, 73% of which were interactive visits, where users browsed more than one page during the same session, which boosted the number of webpages views to 12 million views.



Kuwait: NBK Hosts a Media Awareness Workshop on Sustainability and Climate Change

08.01.2024

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) took a pioneering step by organizing a workshop, the first of its kind in Kuwait, inviting diverse media outlets and newspapers. The focus was on showcasing ESG initiatives, along with discussions on strategies to promote awareness about sustainability and climate change concerns.

Dr. Ehab Shalaby, Chairman and CEO of DCarbon Global, a renowned expert in the field, delivered a lecture during the workshop conducted at NBK’s headquarters.

Journalists from diverse media platforms participated in the workshop, which delved into wide-ranging subjects such as the significance of environmental and social investment and financing to the hurdles in governance and reporting concerning environmental and social issues. Additionally, it delved into the journalists' role in advocating awareness about sustainability issues and climate change. The presentations within the workshop encompassed various themes, including comprehending ESG principles and their influence on companies and investors, pinpointing significant environmental, social, and governance trends and challenges within the Kuwaiti market and neighboring regions. Additionally, emphasis was placed on the significance of crafting reports on initiatives, measuring their impact, and effectively engaging all stakeholders regarding ESG issues.

At the workshop, attending journalists were offered a unique chance to delve deeply into comprehensive discussions about ESG issues and their profound effects on the corporate landscape. They explored the risks and opportunities associated with investing in sustainability-related facets, engaging in thorough and expansive conversations on these crucial topics.

Shalaby emphasized the media’s pivotal role in shedding light on the risks posed by climate change and its extensive influence on the business landscape across various sectors. He underscored the significance of this narrative at local, regional, and global scales, highlighting its widespread importance across various spheres.

He emphasized the evolution of "Sustainable Journalism" into a pivotal element in raising awareness and directing focus towards addressing the multifaceted challenges that societies encounter on the economic, environmental, and social fronts. He also highlighted the interconnectedness between decisions, operations, and activities in shaping the capacities of the present and future generations in these realms.

He elaborated on the pivotal role of banking and financial institutions in this domain, citing their integral connection to the companies and entities they finance as the primary drivers within this sphere.

Shalaby further highlighted that progress toward sustainability and the shift towards renewable energy should encompass the entire system. This comprehensive approach involves active participation from financial and banking institutions, pertinent government bodies, and all entities within both the public and private sectors.

He continued by pointing out that recent manifestations of climate change, like floods and forest fires, have adversely impacted certain companies and organizations involved in projects related to these areas. This has intensified the focus on the risks associated with climate change and the evaluation conducted by financial institutions before financing such projects. Ensuring the highest standards of ESG becomes imperative in this context.

Shalaby highlighted that certain countries in the region have made significant advancements and notable strides towards achieving specific sustainable development goals. However, he underscored the necessity for other countries to address pressing environmental concerns, water management, and pollution issues urgently to avoid lagging behind on the global stage.

Meanwhile, Amir Hanna, Head of Investor Relations & Communications at National Bank of Kuwait said: "The media stands as a crucial partner in the endeavor to raise awareness regarding the significance of sustainability. It serves as a pivotal pathway for shaping the future of upcoming generations.”

Hanna emphasized that NBK's initiative stems from a core belief in the importance of transparency and informed discussions that unite relevant organizations. Such collaborative efforts are deemed essential to instigate positive change and actively contribute to supporting Kuwait's sustainable development agenda.

He further added that comprehending and disclosing ESG concerns stands as a crucial step. This understanding equips media professionals with the requisite knowledge and tools needed to accurately report on these issues and illuminate their profound impact on both companies and society as a whole.

He emphasized that NBK has diligently undertaken significant measures in recent years to embed ESG standards at the core of its business framework, operational procedures, and organizational culture.  

Hanna detailed that in the preceding year, the Group restructured its ESG strategy, transitioning from a six-pillar approach to a more integrated model comprising four interconnected pillars: Governance for Resilience, Responsible Banking, Capitalizing on our Capabilities, and Investing in our Communities.

He emphasized that NBK is an industry leader in sustainability, having made significant strides in ESG issues. The bank initiated a comprehensive framework for sustainable financing to fortify and elevate its efforts in this domain. This commitment has now become a foundational pillar woven into all aspects of its business models, operational protocols, and organizational culture, thereby facilitating the transition towards a more sustainable and low-carbon economy. This alignment also resonates with Kuwait's economic plans.

Hanna highlighted that NBK stands among the leading institutions capitalizing on the widespread shift towards sustainable financing. The bank has proactively introduced services and products aligned with the green transformation journey. These include offerings like green mortgage loans, consumer loans to finance electric vehicles, financing for low-emission housing, and various sustainability-related financing options.

NBK has laid out clear plans and targets aimed at curbing carbon emissions within specific timeframes. Notably, the bank pledged to decrease total operational emissions by 25% by 2025 and aspiring to reach net zero operationally by 2035. These efforts are integral components of the bank's comprehensive strategy geared towards attaining carbon neutrality by 2060.



Kuwait: Al-Hamad: The Ultimate Return on Investment in Self-Development

07.01.2024

The inaugural session of the “TMAKAN” training program was launched featuring executive management members from National Bank of Kuwait (NBK). The first panel discussion welcomed Faisal Al-Hamad, Chief Executive Officer - Global Wealth Management at National Bank of Kuwait. Al-Hamad shared his extensive experience spanning numerous years in the banking industry with the youth audience and engaged in an interactive session, responding to inquiries posed by program participants.

This panel discussion is part of the fifth edition of the "TMAKAN" training program, designed to train young Kuwaiti graduates. Organized by "Creative Confidence" and sponsored by NBK, this program offers a unique chance for trainees to tap into the expertise of the bank's executive management through discussion sessions. These open dialogues connect participants with NBK leaders boasting decades of extensive experience in the banking industry, providing invaluable insights to help them forge sustainably successful career paths.

Al-Hamad initiated the discussion by reflecting on the beginning of his career path. He said, "A specialized academic background isn't a requisite to attain a particular position or ascend to the pinnacle of a career. What truly matters is commencing from any point, focusing on growth, creativity, innovation, swift learning, and leveraging experiences within your work milieu."

Professional Debut 

At the outset of his career, Al-Hamad shared, "Following getting my degree from a university in the United States, I spent four years in asset management there. Subsequently, I pursued a master’s degree in business administration before transitioning to employment in Kuwait."

"Upon joining NBK Capital in 2007, the team comprised of just 25 members. However, the corporate culture ingrained within an organization of NBK’s stature instilled in me a fervor for continuous growth and an unwavering commitment to learning. I've imbibed a culture that influences my work decisions, prompting me to derive value from every nugget of information or news I encounter," Al-Hamad continued.

Al-Hamad reassured TMAKAN youth that channeling resources into honing skills and nurturing capabilities through learning and training represents the most lucrative investment, continuously expanding and accumulating gains with each passing day. He emphasized that regardless of one's career stage, there's an ever-expanding pool of knowledge to tap into. Al-Hamad highlighted training as a golden opportunity for recent graduates, urging them to seize this chance, particularly at the outset of their careers.

Work Environment

Al-Hamad delved into the significance of the work environment in fostering employee development, stating, "For anyone aspiring to forge a successful and sustainable career, finding an optimal work setting that fosters ongoing growth is paramount. The employee should harbor an innate passion for learning and maintain an inquisitive nature, constantly seeking to glean insights from those surrounding them."

Al-Hamad pointed out that NBK stands among the select few institutions embodying this attribute. He highlighted the bank's exceptional and distinctive work environment, akin to international standards. This distinction stems from NBK’s commitment to continuous learning, offering top-tier training courses in collaboration with prestigious educational institutions. These efforts aim to holistically develop employees' skills, ensuring they carve out independent, promising, and sustainable careers.

He offered advice to the attending youth, urging them to avoid wasting time on matters beyond their control. Instead, he recommended that they channel their energy into enhancing their job performance. “Foster ambition and prioritize cultivating positive relationships with your colleagues. This approach ensures a tranquil and conducive work environment that nurtures creativity and innovation."

Al-Hamad also underscored the importance of consistently acquiring new skills daily as the sole pathway toward personal advancement and reaching envisioned positions. He emphasized that resting is not a viable option, particularly amidst intensifying competition—both at individual and institutional levels. Every entity aims to draw in the necessary competencies and talents, seeking to distinguish itself from competitors. Hence, continuous skill development becomes imperative in this landscape.

Analytical Thinking

Al-Hamad emphasized the importance of staying abreast of the latest reports and studies while maintaining an analytical and critical perspective. He said, "I possess an innate drive to seek new information daily, honing my analytical thinking through the demands of my profession. I don't merely receive news passively; rather, I habitually analyze its potential impact on our business sector and decision-making processes."

Job Burnout

Addressing a participant's question on job burnout, Al-Hamad highlighted, "Each employee should seek motivations that drive ongoing professional growth. Losing the zest for learning might hinder an employee's ability to fulfill job demands and tasks, potentially leading to job burnout. This burnout can stem from the work environment or the place of work itself. Therefore, I consistently recommend seeking out the optimal work environment, which is precisely what NBK offers."

"Job burnout often arises from sustained work pressures, leading to diminished motivation, exhaustion, reduced enjoyment in tasks, and a loss of confidence in one's abilities. Hence, employees must continuously revitalize their engagement through various solutions. These may include taking vacations to alleviate work pressures, engaging in exercise, pursuing hobbies, or activities that bring joy, aiming to restore mental and physical vitality," Al-Hamad explained.

Practical Challenges

The “TAMAKAN" training program panel discussion proved to be a significant opportunity for recent graduates. It allowed them to hear directly from the CEO of Global Wealth Management at NBK Group, gaining insights into the work environment and strategies for success in their careers. Al-Hamad's advice provided attendees with valuable insights to shape their future professional journeys.

Al-Hamad highlighted the potential challenges awaiting new graduates in their professional journeys and offered guidance on overcoming them. He emphasized the significance of seeking assistance from colleagues and mentors when encountering obstacles. Additionally, he emphasized the value of maintaining an open mind and a readiness to continuously learn as essential strategies for navigating these challenges successfully.

It is worth mentioning that “TAMAKAN” received “The Social work Pioneer Project Award” from the GCC Council of Ministers of Social Affairs and Labor, recognizing it as an innovative training experience for Kuwaiti fresh graduates to achieve professional self-development in pursuit of emerging as active and efficient workforce.

Golden Advice

Al-Hamad offered a series of advice to new graduates, emphasizing the importance of cultivating a strong work ethic and maintaining a professional demeanor in their careers.

He also highlighted the significance of fostering positive relationships with colleagues, cultivating a constructive attitude, embracing adaptability in the face of change, and continuously seeking opportunities for learning and personal growth among other valuable tips for success in one's career.

• Invest in honing your skills and developing your capabilities; it's an investment with continually growing returns.

• Seek out an optimal work environment that fosters continuous development.

• Acquire new skills daily as the key pathway to progress.

• Concentrate on enhancing job performance, nurturing ambition, and fostering passion.

• Foster positive relationships with colleagues.

• Recognize that family understanding is pivotal for success in business.

• Rejuvenate mental and physical vitality through exercise or vacationing.

 



Kuwait: NBK Announces Exclusive Partnership with X-cite for KWT Visa Infinite Cardholders

03.01.2024

Seeking to enhance customer banking experience with top-notch offers and rewards, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has announced an exclusive partnership with X-cite by Alghanim Electronics, subsidiary of Alghanim Industries (Kutayba Alghanim Group), to provide NBK KWT Visa Infinite Credit Cardholders with exclusive offers that meet their expectations.

Under this partnership, cardholders will get 10% NBK KWT Points when using their NBK KWT Visa Infinite Credit Card to shop at X-cite instore, online or through the app, as well as 2% instant discount on selected products, effective from 1st of January 2024.

Speaking on this partnership, Mr. Mohammed Al-Othman, CEO of Consumer and Digital Banking Group said, “As we approach the beginning of the new year, we aim to provide our customers with exclusive offers tailored to meet their different needs and categories. This comes within our continuous endeavors to keep pace with their changing needs and evolving expectations.”

“NBK maintains solid relationships with leading institutions across different sectors, which we leverage to enhance customer banking experience by delivering top-notch offers, discounts and benefits for unmatched banking experience” he added.

“Service excellence and top-notch customer experience are instrumental parts of NBK’s culture. We depend on the extensive experience gained over long decades to understand customers’ needs, evaluate their goals, and even exceed their expectations, he noted.

On his part, Hussam Ibrahim, Senior Vice President at X-cite, mentioned, “We consider our partnership with National Bank of Kuwait as a strategic and innovative step in the world of e-commerce and banking arenas. This partnership is not just a commercial alliance, but rather a bridge linking cutting-edge technology and top-notch banking services, reflecting our mutual dedication to create an impeccable customer experience.”

“Through this cooperation, we seek to create an interactive system that allows NBK KWT Visa Infinite Credit Cardholders to avail exceptional offers and exclusive technological benefits that resonate with their dynamic lifestyle. We believe that this partnership will strengthen our position as a leading tech company and enable us to provide innovative solutions that go beyond our customers’ expectations,” he added.

The most popular credit card in Kuwait

NBK KWT Visa Infinite Credit Card is the most popular credit card in Kuwait, as it offers customers a unique lifestyle with exceptional rewards, benefits and offers tailored to meet customers’ needs and expectations, and cashback up to KD 1,000 in NBK KWT Points every month.

The card combines an exclusive package of exceptional rewards with a design inspiring national pride, making it a card like no other, and gives customers the flexibility to choose the way they want to earn rewards based on their lifestyle; either the “Spends Tier” or “Merchant Category” option.

When choosing the “Merchant Category”, customers can earn NBK KWT Points on all payments made using NBK KWT Visa Infinite Credit Card at the selected categories, with 10% on dining and telecom, 5% on fitness and beauty and 3% on clothing, grocery and education.

Meanwhile, when choosing the “Spends Tier” earning option, based on their monthly spends, with up to 5% on digital payments, up to 5% on international POS and up to 3% on all other spends.

The earned NBK KWT Points can be redeemed through NBK Online or Mobile Banking whether as cashback directly to the card, travel booking at more than 800 airlines and 150,000 hotels, e-vouchers from over 190 merchants, or points exchange with most preferred airlines.

NBK Visa Credit Cards offer the best payment method for the convenience and benefits they provide to customers, especially when using them in shopping including NBK Rewards Program as well as Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty.