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Ithmaar to keep focus on retail growth

Manama, March 28, 2011

Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based licensed Islamic retail bank, will continue to focus on growing its core retail and corporate business in the year ahead, said a senior official.

Board member Khalid Abdulla-Janahi was speaking on behalf of chairman Prince Amr Mohammed Al Faisal at the bank’s annual general meeting in Bahrain.

“We have good reasons to be happy with our performance in 2010,” said Janahi. “We returned to profitability, posting a consolidated net income before provisions and overseas taxation of $51.4 million – a sharp contrast to the loss of $44.0 million we reported the previous year.”

“Nevertheless, the fact that we are reporting a loss, after all the significant achievements of the year, is a major source of disappointment to us. We charged a net sum of $197.4 million as impairment provisions, a significant portion of which was for investment portfolios which were estimated on a conservative basis – hence the resulting net loss of $150.1 million attributable to the shareholders of the bank,” he added.

Janahi said that the bank’s new strategy is focused on developing its retail banking in Bahrain and the GCC with a view to become the leading regional Islamic retail bank.

Bank chief executive officer and member of the board, Mohammed Bucheerei described 2010 as a “year of transformation.”

“Following Ithmaar’s transformation into an Islamic, retail focused Bank after its reorganisation with its then wholly-owned subsidiary, Shamil Bank, we developed a comprehensive strategy for the next three years,” said Bucheerei.

“The cornerstone of this strategy is the new focus on Islamic retail banking as our core business. In 2010, for example, we expanded our customer reach in Bahrain by adding five new automated teller machines (ATMs) and introducing a new, first of its kind mobile online banking service. We also introduced new customer-focused products, including Thimaar, a best of its kind prize-based savings account, and improved a number of our retail products including our personal and auto finance offerings,” he said.

“The bank also continues to focus on growing its core retail business overseas,” said Bucheerei.

“Our Pakistan subsidiary, Faysal Bank Limited (FBL), for example, fully acquired the operations of RBS Pakistan in 2010, increasing the number of FBL branches to 220. Despite our retail expansions, both in Bahrain and overseas, operating expenses have been strictly controlled,” he concluded. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | retail bank | Islamic bank | Ithmaar |

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