Nemeh Sabbagh

CEO OF ARAB BANK

Jordan 2016  I  Finance  I  Interview

BIOGRAPHY With an MA from John Hopkins University and an MBA from University of Chicago, he has worked previously with National Bank of Kuwait, the World Bank and First Chicago and served as CEO of Arab National Bank and Bankmed. He became CEO of Arab Bank in January 2010.

DESPITE THE CHALLENGES FACING THE REGION, JORDAN CONTINUES TO BE AN OASIS OF SECURITY AND POLITICAL STABILITY.

CAN YOU OUTLINE ARAB BANK’S MAJOR COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES FOR FOREIGN INVESTORS?

With over eight decades of experience operating in the Middle East and as the largest global Arab banking network with over 600 branches across 5 continents, Arab Bank continues to be a primary gateway to and from the MENA region. The Bank’s extensive global network makes it uniquely positioned to help international companies tap into Middle East markets and at the same time act as a primary enabler and supporter of local companies with international growth ambitions to expand their business within the region and globally. This has always been, and will continue to be, one of Arab Bank’s unique competitive advantages.

 

Arab Bank was able to reinforce its position as an economic bridge during its long history by relying on a deep and thorough understanding of the region, a historically-proven prudent approach and well-diversified income streams. All of this has enabled the Bank to deliver solid performance and unparalleled ability to serve its customers across the different markets and sectors as well as protecting the interests of its shareholders.

HOW WOULD YOU APPRAISE THE BANK’S POSITION TODAY?

Arab Bank Group continued its solid financial performance during 2015, posting net profit after tax and provisions for the period ending September 2015 of $615.1 million, compared to $614.2 million in the same period last year. The Group’s net profit before tax reached $818.7 million.

 

The results confirm the Bank’s commitment to grow its business and strengthen its capital base with total shareholders equity reaching $8.2 billion as of September 30th, 2015. Loans and advances grew to $23.6 billion and customer deposits reached $34.8 billion. Loans and customer deposits increased by 2% and 5%, respectively as compared to last year, excluding the effect of exchange rate devaluations.

 

These financial results demonstrated the Bank’s focus on a diversified business model and a prudent risk strategy. Arab Bank manages businesses and risks on a global basis. Its ability over the last few years to largely avoid the negative repercussions of the regional challenges and to continue to grow its businesses safely and to achieve solid financial results reflects its thorough and well diversified set of skills and experience.

CURRENTLY WHAT ARE ARAB BANK’S MAIN BUSINESS LINES?

Arab Bank provides a wide range of financial products and services for individuals, corporations and other financial institutions. The Bank’s main business lines cover corporate and Institutional banking, consumer banking and treasury services. Since its establishment, Arab Bank has played an integral role in financing major infrastructural projects in Jordan and across the region. We continue to build on our experience in this field through financing projects in infrastructure and economic sectors that show strong potential. We also focus on financing environmentally friendly projects to promote sustainable development in the region.

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO FOREIGN INVESTORS INTERESTED IN JORDAN?

Despite the challenges facing the region, Jordan continues to be an oasis of security and political stability. With its sound macro-economic basis, modern infrastructure and communications, well educated and skilled workforce and its strategic location within the region, Jordan remains a favorable business and investment destination.

 

The Jordanian economy continues to hold potential for investors covering the infrastructure development as well as direct investments in local projects. Such opportunities entail manufacturing, healthcare, services industry, renewable energy, ICT, water treatment and desalination and road infrastructure projects. Jordan enjoys a very solid and well-developed banking sector which has repeatedly shown resilience and strength through times of financial crisis.

 

The Central Bank of Jordan has been key to this continued success as a result of its prudent fiscal policies and its strong regulatory supervision and monitoring.