The Business Year

Vision 2035, combined with private-sector efforts, might be the stimulus needed to further diversify Kuwait's economy and fast track growth.

Fatah Adour

Managing Director & CEO, Citibank N.A. Kuwait

Citi is harnessing technology to drive growth and client engagement. Globally on the retail front, through our app, Citi is one of the few global banks to deliver banking, trading, and money movement on mobile. On an institutional front, Citi is among the first to offer online corporate banking on a global scale. Today, our CitiDirect cash management platform has over a half a million users, is active in 135 currencies, and operates in 26 languages. Since launching our mobile CitiDirect, volumes have grown from USD1 billion in 2012 to over USD2 trillion recently. In addition, Citi uses a multipronged approach. Through Citi Ventures, we co-create with our clients in our innovation laboratories around the world, collaborating with other external stakeholders, from corporations to universities. The scale and breadth of our footprint makes us a great partner to start-ups. We can work with them in order to pilot different solutions that, if viable, can easily be taken globally thanks to Citi. In Kuwait, and as part of our corporate social responsibility, we have organized several workshops around technology and innovations themes, such as “the Bank of the Future“ and “Cybersecurity“ workshops in collaboration with the Kuwait Banking Association. These have received extremely positive feedback from the entire banking community.

Thuwaini Khaled Al Thuwaini

Acting Chief Investment Banking Officer, Investment Banking Group, Warba Bank

Investment has always been a core focus of the bank. We are a sharia-compliant bank, and sharia-compliant lending is not the sole revenue generator for Islamic banks. Investing in the real economy and in tangible assets is intrinsic to Islamic banking, which is a key distinguishing feature of Islamic banking. Part of our strategy has always been to invest a portion of the bank’s balance sheet in assets that would diversify the revenue sources over the years. Today, the asset management business in Kuwait is dominated by conventional banks and conventional investment managers. Sharia-compliant banks occupy about 42% of the market share from an asset base standpoint. However, in terms of assets under management between conventional products and Islamic products, only 10% is held under Islamic asset managers. In addition, there is a natural affinity by locals toward Islamic banking, as we have been witnessing the growth of the Islamic banking market share over the years. Even though the sharia-compliant asset management sector is still nascent, the Islamic sector is vibrant, and it is up to institutions such as Warba Bank to bring products into the market that cater to their financial ambitions. Our goal is to contribute to the development of the sharia-compliant investment management sphere.

Tareq Muhmood

Acting CEO, Tareq Muhmood

In 2018, AUB announced a partnership with Ajar Online to allow people to make their rental payment online. The new online service allows landlords to remind tenants that rental payments are due and tenants to pay their dues in a fast and secure method through mobile or online. In order to cater to those who do not wish to pay online, we have established new cash collection points found at any one of AUB’s Kuwait branches. Hence, whilst we wish to automate and digitize as much as possible, we remain conscious that not all customers fully embrace new technology, and we do not want to exclude them from the services we offer. Our approach to innovation is driven by solving such challenges and creating new opportunities. Another example is AUB’s advanced cash management solution for corporates called B2B. It supports customers in all aspects of payments, liquidity management, and reconciliation. In recent months we have made a mobile version of this tool. This allows the key individuals of our corporate clients to be able to monitor balances and approve payments on the go. We have a number of other new solutions being rolled out in the coming months that will help our corporate and individual customers.



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