The Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2020, which is the world’s global financial sector’s most esteemed accolades, recently awarded a bank from the Kingdom of Bahrain the title of ‘The Middle East’s Best Bank Transformation.’ This went to The National Bank of Bahrain (NBB), which also won the award for ‘Bahrain’s Best Bank’ for the second consecutive year.
NBB was nominated as a result of its significant transformation, positive results delivered over the past year, as well as its continued market leadership and ongoing efforts and investments in innovation. These coveted awards are a milestone of NBB’s successful growth journey which has seen the Bank heavily invest in the latest technologies and talent skill to digitally transform and modernise every aspect of the banking experience, converting it into a leading customer centric financial institution.
Commenting on the two auspicious awards, Farouk Yousuf Khalil Almoayyed, the Chairman of NBB, said, “This recognition is without doubt a proud accomplishment for NBB, and an even prouder moment for the Kingdom of Bahrain, which is regionally acknowledged as a regulatory benchmark and still holds firm as the financial hub of the Middle East. The awards stand testament to the efforts exerted over the course of the last three years to transform NBB into an institution focused towards the future and a solid, and agile entity that can adapt to changing market dynamics.”
Almoayyed further adds, “Today, NBB is reaping the rewards of its strategic shift as a customer-centric, digitally capable, modern and accessible banking institution with a unique value proposition for everyone it serves. I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the Bank’s Board and management for navigating the complex market conditions and steering the organisation to new heights, and above all, to our customers for their unwavering loyalty and the people of NBB whose efforts have paved the way for the Bank’s numerous milestones including this regional accolade.”
Over the last three years, in light of the shift in customer expectations, banking habits and increased demand for digital solutions, NBB remained focused on serving the evolving needs of each and every segment of its customer base, spanning retail, corporate and SMEs, while maintaining high level standards in risk management and controls framework. With the customer experience as the driver of its strategy, the Bank prioritised its transformation across all customer touch points, serving different community members, including the special needs, who are being provided with physical, visual, and hearing supported services.
Further remarking on the Euromoney awards, Jean-Christophe Durand, Chief Executive Officer of NBB, said, “It is an honour for us at NBB to have received such recognition at local and regional level. These two awards underline the remarkable progress we have made in the past three years in executing and bringing to life our transformation strategy, despite the industry and market challenges. These accolades underscore our achievements to-date and further boost our drive to realize all our business ambitions.”
Durand adds, “Today, we are in the position to be delivering on our brand promise, ‘Closer to You’; a commitment we made to our customers to add value and elevate their banking experience through service quality, innovation and the latest offerings. It is a journey that has taken a lot of work and dedication to achieve by every single person at NBB, and I would like to thank our teams, board members, and particularly our customers for putting their trust in NBB, and for continuously supporting us on our growth path as we continue to make further progress.”
Virginia Furness, Middle East editor at Euromoney said, “This award recognises NBB’s radical transformation programme, which is already delivering impressive results. Digital has been at the heart of the bank’s strategy, becoming the first bank in MENA to roll out Open Banking Solutions. It has invested in areas such as IT, internal processes, risk management structures and is raising the compliance function to international standards. Underpinning it all is the contribution made by the bank’s people.”
NBB has set many firsts in its quest for innovation and customer-centricity, on a local and regional front, the most recent being the first Bank in the country to successfully complete the SWIFT Global Payments Innovation (“SWIFT gpi”) certification, the latest initiative launched by SWIFT to improve the customer experience in the world of international (cross border) payments; taking a leading position in the local Debt Capital Markets (DCM) bridging the gap between Bahraini based issuers and international institutional investors; and setting a leading example by being the first Bank in the MENA region to roll out Open Banking Solutions, an investment closely aligned to the Kingdom’s national efforts to progress as a digital economy and solidify its standing as a digital FinTech hub.
From having grown its reach and presence locally to have the largest network of branches and ATMs with advanced omnichannel presence, NBB is also expanding in key GCC markets in an effort to capture regional business opportunities. The recent acquisition of the majority stake in Bahrain Islamic Bank, further supported NBB’s diversification and growth strategy, and its ability to penetrate the growing Islamic Banking segment one that supports the Bank’s strategic vision for a more integrated banking Group.
Investments in human capital development have been fundamental to achieving the Bank’s vision, with a major part of its transformation focus being the re-engineering and upskilling of its internal talent pool. NBB committed to building a solid, harmonious corporate culture underlined by the principles of Diversity and Inclusion, and through comprehensive training and development programs, has empowered its employees to support their career progression, while giving them the tools to excel in their various job functions. This commitment has garnered the Bank a reputation as ‘Employer of Choice’ for Bahrainis.
NBB implemented Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting in 2019, an achievement which the Bank is especially proud of and which showcases its desire to integrate sustainability into its corporate strategy and business practices and contributing towards the Bank’s position as a local benchmark in best practice.
Established in 1957, the National Bank of Bahrain is the Kingdom’s first locally-owned bank. According to its website, “A proudly Bahrain brand, we continue to develop our capabilities every day, across the years, using our expertise to better serve those who put their trust in us. Regionally present and dedicated to our local community, our history is Bahrain’s.”