Annual Report - Ahli United Bank

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Annual Report - Ahli United Bank

Group Business& Risk Review (Contd.)With a strong regional and international network spanning the GCC countries, Egypt, Iraq and the UK, AUB is able to offer customers awealth of local knowledge, experience and support across various markets. In meeting customers’ banking needs, both in their homecountry and country of residence, services and relationships to facilitate convenient cross border banking continued to be extended.The MyGlobal Clients facility has been developed to access the AUB network and services from any location, supported by dedicatedrelationship managers with in-depth knowledge of local markets to support customer requirements. During the year the Bank’s serviceswere further strengthened with the launch of MyGlobal consolidated statement providing customers with a single view of all their depositsacross the AUB network.Raising customer satisfaction levels and improving turnaround times continued to be key priorities. Centralising account opening andupgrading other branch related activities were among several initiatives implemented to improve the efficiency of operations across theAUB network.In Bahrain, the retail banking product suite was further strengthened with the successful launch of Banc Assurance that complimentsa range of Takaful life Insurance products offered through a joint venture with the UK based Legal & General group. The product rangecovers customer requirements through various life stages from saving for children to financing retirement.During the year, with the launch of EMV chip based cards, all existing debit card holders were migrated to the new EMV cards. In addition,AUB’s continued commitment in the field of e-commerce led to successful partnerships with various governments, in providing onlinepayment systems for services provided by their departments.In addressing future challenges on lending across the region, operations were reviewed to identify avenues that will ensure sustainedgrowth going forward. Consumer loans with variable rates to capitalize on low interbank rates are among products and services plannedto increase the asset portfolio. The introduction of a new packaged bundled product has also been developed to grow assets and liabilitiesacross the network and to meet the Bank’s objectives of increasing low cost liabilities and broadening customer relationships.Development of the Islamic banking franchise will continue to be a key area of focus going forward. In Kuwait, Bank of Kuwait and Middle East(BKME) is being converted to an Islamic bank with effect from 1st April 2010 providing a full range of Sharia’a compliant products. In Bahrain,the distribution of AlHilal Islamic services was further extended in 2009 with the introduction of Islamic windows in selected conventionalbranches in addition to opening two new Islamic branches, increasing the total Islamic branch network in the Kingdom to five. Furtherexpansion of Islamic banking is evident in Qatar where selected conventional branches are being converted to provide AlHilal Islamic servicesand a Sharia’a compliant MyHassad savings offering is planned for to be introduced throughout AUB’s Islamic banking network.COST TO INCOME RATIOCORPORATE BANKING5040302034.2 %39.1 %37.5 %40.1 %37.6 %The global economic downturn, which began in late 2008, continued to presentmajor challenges to the banking system worldwide throughout 2009.With government intervention, on an unprecedented scale, providing globalfinancial institutions with over US$1 trillion in debt and equity capital, the globalbanking system was maintained. Inter bank liquidity, however, remained very tightand the risk appetite of financial institutions was significantly diminished leading toa slowdown in the real economy.1002005 2006 2007 2008 2009As a consequence, the Gulf region witnessed the collapse of some prominentcommercial houses as well as major financial difficulties for certain government relatedentities. In these challenging market conditions, new business opportunities in theregion remained very limited.32 AUB Annual Report 2009

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