Ithmaar Holding hosts annual shareholder meeting

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 25 March 2019 – Ithmaar Holding (Ithmaar or the Group) hosted today (ed note: 25/03/19) its Annual General Meeting (AGM) where the consolidated financial statements for 2018 were approved.

The annual shareholder meeting was attended by members of the Ithmaar Board of Directors, its executive management team and its Sharia Supervisory Board, as well as representatives from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, the Bahrain Bourse, and statutory auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“On behalf of the Chairman, His Royal Highness, Prince Amr Al Faisal and Members of the Board of Directors, we are pleased to announce that efforts to significantly transform the Group’s operations in line with the strategic decisions taken by shareholders in 2016 have paid off in 2018, with Ithmaar Holding reporting profits for the year,” said Abdulellah Ebrahim Al-Qassimi, an Independent Member of the Ithmaar Board of Directors who chaired the meeting. “In particular, we are pleased to announce that Ithmaar Holding reported a total net profit of US$10.06 million for the year ended 31 December 2018, compared to a net loss of US$72.40 million for 2017, with net loss attributable to shareholders of US$24 million compared to a net loss of US$84.7 million for 2017. The improvement in results compared to last year is, in a large part, a result of the persistent efforts over the past two years which paved the way for the Group’s gradual transformation and set the stage for a return to sustainable profitability,” he said.

Al-Qassimi clarified that trading of Ithmaar Holding’s shares continues on both the Bahrain Bourse and Dubai Financial Market, but was recently suspended on Boursa Kuwait in accordance with Article 9.8.2 of the Kuwait Stock Exchange’s rules relating to companies whose accumulated losses exceed 75 percent of the share capital. He reconfirmed that the accumulated losses, as of 31 December 2018, represent mainly impairment provisions resulting from non-core investments and due to FAS 30 impact.  The shareholder equity as at 31 December 2018 stood at US$116 million.

“The Board of Directors are in discussions to recapitalize Ithmaar Holding during 2019 including restructuring the existing share capital by setting off the accumulated losses against the share capital,” said Al-Qassimi. “In addition, the major shareholder has stated its intention to inject new capital of up to US$300 million during the second half of 2019. The capital plans are being reviewed and will be announced in due course, following necessary shareholder and regulatory approvals,” he said.

“Ithmaar Holding’s audited 2018 financial results show that net income before provision for impairment and overseas taxation for the year increased to US$43.42 million, a 96.8 percent increase from the US$22.10 million reported for the same period last year,” said Al-Qassimi.  “As a result, our operating income for the year increased to US$259.82 million, a 12.7 percent increase from the US$230.56 million reported for 2017,” he said.

“These achievements, which are made all the more significant by the challenging market conditions that continue to prevail both in our region and beyond, are only part of the ongoing success story,” said Ithmaar Holding Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “The Group continued its planned transformation in 2018, and concluded the year with remarkable achievements, both at the Group and subsidiary levels, that included improved financial performance as well as the realisation of key growth initiatives,” he said.

“Ithmaar Holding started the year, for example, with the successful listing of its shares on the Dubai Financial Market on 29 January 2018. The additional listing, which added a new key market alongside our listing on the Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait, opened trading on Ithmaar Holding’s shares to new, exciting markets. This, in turn, created new investment opportunities for investors in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) markets,” said Abdul Rahim. “Similarly, Ithmaar Holding’s key subsidiary, Ithmaar Bank, began the year by completing the implementation of major enhancements to its Information Technology (IT) infrastructure. These enhancements were implemented to help support future business growth, improve operational efficiency, improve internal controls and enhance customer experience, included a major project of upgrading the Bank’s core banking system as well as the implementation of a new eBanking system. The new system provides a strong foundation to support growth, allowing for the flexibility of quickly launching new, customer centric products and services and further enhance the management information system,” he said.

“This, and other key customer-focused initiatives, helped Ithmaar Bank report improved financial performance in 2018, with net profit for the year increasing to US$37.5 million, a more than 127 percent increase over the net profit of US$16.5 million reported in 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “This significant improvement is clear testimony to the fact that the Bank’s renewed focus on its core retail banking business is paying off. Meanwhile, Ithmaar Bank’s flagship retail banking subsidiary in Pakistan, Faysal Bank Limited, maintained its growth momentum in 2018 and the Bank’s footprint now extends to 455 branches in more than 100 cities across Pakistan, after having added 50 branches during the year,” he said.

“Ithmaar Bank is committed to becoming one of the region’s leading Islamic retail banks, and the Board of Directors continues towards realising that same, shared goal,” said Abdul Rahim. “To do so, the Bank will continue to invest heavily in its infrastructure to provide better products and services, and further enhance its’ customers banking experience,” he said.

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Press Statement- Ithmaar Holding

Press Statement

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 14 March 2019 – Ithmaar Holding, a Bahrain-based holding company that is licenced and regulated as a Category 1 Investment Firm by the Central Bank of Bahrain and listed on the Bahrain Bourse, Boursa Kuwait and Dubai Financial Market, said that trading of its shares on Boursa Kuwait was suspended this morning (ed note 14/03/19) in accordance with Article 9.8.2 of the Kuwait Stock Exchange’s rules relating to companies whose accumulated losses exceed 75 percent of the share capital.
Ithmaar Holding clarified that the accumulated losses, as of 31 December 2018, represent mainly impairment provisions resulting from non-core investments.
The Board of Directors are in discussions to recapitalize Ithmaar Holding during 2019 and are reviewing plans that include restructuring the existing share capital by setting off the accumulated losses against the share capital. In addition, the major shareholder has informed the Board that it is considering injection of new capital of up to USD 300 million during the second half of 2019.
The capital plans are being reviewed and will be announced in due course, following necessary shareholder and regulatory approvals.
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Press Statement- Ithmaar Bank

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 14 March 2019 – The Board of Directors of Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail Bank that is licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), issued today (ed note: 14/03/19) a statement clarifying that the shares of its parent company, Ithmaar Holding, have been suspended today from trading in Boursa Kuwait.
The Bank is a subsidiary of Ithmaar Holding and is a distinct legal entity from its parent and, since the implementation of the new Group structure on 2 January 2017, Ithmaar Bank has reported profits for 2017 and 2018, and continues to report stable, consistent improvements to its financial performance.
The Board of Directors of Ithmaar Bank assures all customers that the Bank is committed to remaining one of the leading retail banks in Bahrain and to growing closer to its customers.
The Bank will continue to invest heavily in its infrastructure to provide better products and services, and further enhance its’ customers banking experience.

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Ithmaar Holding & Ithmaar Bank report 2018 financial results

Ithmaar Holding and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ithmaar Bank, report 2018 financial results

  • Ithmaar Holding’s wholly-owned subsidiary, IB Capital, acquired an additional stake in Solidarity Group Holding, and becomes a subsidiary of IB Capital
  • As part of its Digital Strategy, Ithmaar Bank completed a major upgrade during 2018 to its IT infrastructure and systems

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 13 February 2019 – Ithmaar Holding B.S.C., a Bahrain-based financial institution, and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ithmaar Bank B.S.C. (closed), a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, both reported profits as they each announced their financial results for 2018.

The announcement by the Ithmaar Holding Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, who is also the Ithmaar Bank Chairman, follows the review and approval of both Board of Directors of the consolidated financial results for the year ended 31 December 2018.

Ithmaar Holding reported a net profit of US$10.06 million for the year ended 31 December 2018, as compared to a net loss of US$72.40 million for 2017. This included a net loss attributable to equity holders for the year ended 31 December 2018 of US$23.98 million, as compared to the US$84.71 million net loss reported for the same period in 2017. EPS for the year has improved to negative US Cents 0.82 compared from negative US Cents 2.91 for the same period in 2017.

The results included a net loss of US$1.28 million for the three-month period ended 31 December 2018, as compared to a net loss of US$56.2 million for 2017. Net loss attributable to equity holders for the three-month period ended 31 December 2018 was US$26.71 million, a decrease of 53.7 percent as compared to a net loss of US$57.67 million reported for the same period in 2017. EPS for the three-month period ended 31 December 2018 decreased by US Cents 0.92 compared to negative US Cents 1.98 for the same period in 2017.

Also in December 2018, Ithmaar Holding’s other wholly-owned subsidiary, IB Capital, acquired,  an additional stake in Solidarity Group Holding, one of the largest Takaful Group companies in Bahrain. As a result, Solidarity Group Holding became a subsidiary of IB Capital. During December 2018, Dilmunia Development Fund I L.P, a fund which is managed by Ithmaar’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Ithmaar Bank, became subsidiary of Ithmaar Bank after the Bank’s shareholding in the company increased to more than 50 percent.

“On behalf of the Ithmaar Holding Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that, despite increasingly challenging market conditions, the Group is continuing its planned transformation in 2018 and concluded the year with remarkable achievements,” said HRH Prince Amr. “These included improved financial performance, as well as the realisation of key growth initiatives,” he said.

“The 2018 results show that net income before provision for impairment and overseas taxation for the year ended 31 December 2018 increased to US$43.42 million, a 96.8 percent increase from the US$22.10 million reported for the same period last year,” said HRH Prince Amr. This was mainly due to higher share of profit after tax from associates resulting from reclassification from held-for-sale to associate during the period,” he said.

“As a result, our operating income for the year ended 31 December 2018 increased to US$259.82 million, a 12.7 percent increase from the US$230.56 million reported for 2017. Operating income for the three-month period ended 31 December 2018 was US$48.34 million, a 2.3 percent decrease from the US$49.48 million reported for the same period in 2017,” said HRH Prince Amr.

“Ithmaar’s balance sheet decreased marginally by 1.4% with total assets at US$8.49 billion as at 31 December 2018, compared to US$8.61 billion as at 31 December 2017,” said HRH Prince Amr. Total owners’ equity stood at US$116.36 million as at 31 December 2018, a 67.3 percent decrease compared to US$355.33 million as 31 December 2017, mainly due to the Accounting standard, FAS 30 impact of previous year recognized in equity and the foreign exchange impact of devaluation of Pak rupee during the year recognized in equity,” he said.

“On behalf of both Boards of Directors, I take this opportunity to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to our shareholders for their confidence, and to the relevant regulators and other authorities for their guidance and support,” said HRH Prince Amr. “In particular, we are grateful to the Central Bank of Bahrain, to the Bahrain Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, the Bahrain Bourse, Boursa Kuwait and the Dubai Financial Market for their continuous guidance and support,” he said.

“I am pleased to inform you that as part of its Digital Strategy, Ithmaar Bank completed a major upgrade during 2018 to its IT infrastructure and systems. The upgrade, which was implemented to help support business growth, improve operational efficiency, improve internal controls and enhance customer experience, included a major project of upgrading the Bank’s core banking system and implementation of new eBanking system. The new system provides a strong foundation to support growth, allowing for the flexibility of quickly launching new products and services with focus on customer centricity,” said HRH Prince Amr.

Ithmaar Holding Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, who is also the Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, said that performance of both institutions against the challenging market conditions of 2018 further reconfirm that sustained efforts to turn the Group around are indeed paying off.

“Ithmaar Bank’s financial results show a net profit of BD14.14 million for the year ended 31 December 2018, an increase of 126.7 percent compared to the net profit of BD6.24 million reported in 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “Net profit attributable to equity holders for the year ended 31 December 2018 was BD1.41 million, a decrease of 10.9 percent compared to the net profit of BD1.58 million reported in 2017,” he said.

“The results included a net profit of BD9.38 million of the three-month period ended 31 December 2018, compared to a net loss of BD0.44 million reported in 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “Net loss attributable to equity holders for the three-month period ended remains unchanged at $0.15 million compared to same period previous year,” he said.

“Net income before provision for impairment and overseas taxation for the year ended 31 December 2018 was BD13.70 million, a 28 percent decrease compared to the BD19.03 million reported for 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “Total income remained stable in 2018, with the Bank reporting BD151.7 million for the year ended 31 December 2018,” he said.

“Ithmaar Bank’s balance sheet decreased marginally by 3.5% with total assets at BD3.13 billion as at 31 December 2018, compared to BD3.24 billion as at 31 December 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “Meanwhile, due to market conditions, the equity of unrestricted investment account holders stood at BD1 billion as at 31 December 2018, a decrease of 6.6% as compared to BD1.06 billion as at 31 December 2017. Total owners’ equity stood at BD85.39 million as at 31 December 2018, a 44.8 percent decrease compared to BD154.60 million as 31 December 2017, mainly due to the Accounting standard, FAS 30 impact of previous year recognized in equity and the foreign exchange impact of devaluation of Pak rupee during the year recognized in equity,” he said.

“I am also delighted to inform you that Ithmaar Bank’s retail banking subsidiary in Pakistan, Faysal Bank Limited, has maintained growth momentum and the Bank’s footprint now extends to 455 branches in more than 100 cities across Pakistan, after having added 50 branches during 2018. The Bank aims to have expanded its retail banking network by 100 during 2019 to reach 555 branches by the end of 2019,” he said.

Early in 2018, the Bank launched the Ithmaar eQ app, which is a smartphone electronic queuing app designed to significantly reduce and potentially even eliminate customer waiting time altogether. The Ithmaar eQ app allows customers to directly book appointments or issue virtual eTickets for the nearest or most convenient branch, timings and directions, and notifies customers when their turn approaches. The app also provides significant MIS on customer behaviour. Ithmaar Bank operates one of the largest retail banking networks in Bahrain with 16 branches and 45 ATMs in strategic locations around the Kingdom.

Later in the year, Ithmaar Bank announced plans to launch the region’s first biometric payment network. The Bahrain-created solution by Eazy Financial Services will provide consumers with a safer, more convenient and more secure way to bank, and will bring a revolutionary improvement in customers’ experience with banks. When implemented, Ithmaar Bank customers will no longer be required to use their bank cards at Ithmaar ATMs. Instead, they will simply be able to use their fingerprint along with their PIN to process financial transactions. This provides a simpler, more secure way to process financial transactions than ever before.

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Ithmaar Holding report profit for the third quarter of 2018

 

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 13 November 2018 – Ithmaar Holding B.S.C., a Bahrain-based financial institution, and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ithmaar Bank B.S.C. (closed), a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, each announced their financial results for the third quarter of 2018 with both reporting profits.

The announcement by the Ithmaar Holding Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, who is also the Ithmaar Bank Chairman, follows the review and approval of both Board of Directors of the consolidated financial results for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2018.

Ithmaar Holding reported a net profit of US$11.34 million for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2018, as compared to a net loss of US$16.25 million for the same period in 2017. Net profit attributable to equity holders for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2018 was US$2.73 million, as compared to the US$27.04 million net loss reported for the same period in 2017. The increase net profit is mainly due to higher impairment provision in the previous period resulting from classification of an associate to held-for-sale. This has been reclassified as an associate during 2018. Earnings per share (EPS) for the nine month period increased to US Cents 0.09 compared to negative US Cents 0.93 for the same period in 2017.

The results included a net profit of US$0.51 million for the three-month period ended 30 September 2018, as compared to a net loss of US$14.66 million for the same period in 2017, and a net loss of US$2.12 million attributable to equity holders for the three-month period ended 30 September 2018, as compared to a net loss of US$17.80 million reported for the same period in 2017. EPS for the three-month period increased to negative US Cents 0.07 compared to negative US Cents 0.61 for the same period in 2017.

“On behalf of the Ithmaar Holding Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that our 2018 results continue to highlight the turnaround in our financial performance,” said HRH Prince Amr. “This achievement, which is made all the more significant by the challenging market conditions that characterised much of 2018, is testimony to the strength of the Group’s core retail banking business,” he said.

“The 2018 results show that total income for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2018 increased to US$334.52 million, a 10.6 percent increase from the US$302.34 million reported for the same period last year. This included total income of US$109.09 million for the three-month period ended 30 September 2018, a 15.7 percent increase compared to US$94.27 million reported for the same period last year. This was mainly due to higher share of profit after tax from associates resulting from reclassification from held-for-sale to associate during the period,” said HRH Prince Amr. “As a result, our operating income for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2018 increased to US$211.47 million, a 16.8 percent increase from the US$181.08 million reported for the same period last year. This included an operating income of US$62.79 million for the three-month period ended 30 September 2018, a 16.6 percent increase compared to US$53.87 million for the same period last year,” said HRH Prince Amr.

Ithmaar Holding Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, who is also the Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, said the financial performance of both institutions demonstrate that efforts to turn the Group around are paying off.

“Ithmaar Holding’s balance sheet remained stable with total assets at US$7.99 billion as at 30 September 2018, compared to US$8.61 billion as at 31 December 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “Total owners’ equity stood at US$187.29 million as at 30 September 2018, a 47.3% decrease compared to US$355.33 million as 31 December 2017, and the decrease is mainly due to the early adoption of the new Financial Accounting Standard (FAS 30) “Impairment, credit losses and onerous commitments” that was issued by the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI),” he said.

“Meanwhile, Ithmaar Bank’s financial results show a net profit of BD4.76 million for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2018, a decrease of 17.8 percent compared to a net profit of BD5.79 million for the same period in 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “Net profit attributable to equity holders for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2018 was BD1.56 million, a decrease of 9.9 percent compared to the BD1.73 million net profit reported for the same period in 2017,” he said.

“The results included a net profit of BD1.15 million of the three-month period ended 30 September 2018, a decrease of 18.3 percent compared to a net profit of BD1.41 million for the same period in 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “Net profit attributable to equity holders for the three-month period ended 30 September 2018 was BD0.19 million, a decrease of 0.5 percent compared to the BD0.19 million profit reported for the same period in 2017,” he said.

“Core income continued to grow in 2018, with Group’s share of income from unrestricted investment accounts increasing BD20.86 million for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2018, a 6.6 percent increase from the BD19.56 million reported for the same period last year. Income from murabaha and other financings also increased to BD50.11 million, a 7.9 percent increase from the BD46.45 million reported for the same period last year,” said Abdul Rahim. “These significant increases reflect growing customer confidence in the Bank,” he said.

“The Bank’s financial results include an operating income of BD62.79 million for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2018, a 4.7 percent decrease as compared to the BD65.87 million reported for the same period last year,” said Abdul Rahim. “This included an operating income of BD20.59 million for the three-month period ended 30 September 2018, a 2.4 percent increase compared to BD20.11 million reported for the same period last year,” he said.

“Ithmaar Bank’s balance sheet remained stable with total assets at BD3.02 billion as at 30 September 2018, compared to BD3.24 billion as at 31 December 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “Meanwhile, despite market conditions, the equity of unrestricted investment account holders stood at BD1.01 billion as at 30 September 2018, as compared to BD1.06 billion as at 31 December 2017, and as compared to BD1.06 billion as at 30 September 2017. Total owners’ equity stood at BD96.14 million as at 30 September 2018, a 37.8 percent decrease compared to BD154.60 million as 31 December 2017, mainly due to the FAS 30 impact of previous period recognized in equity,” he said.

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TEN ITHMAAR BANK CUSTOMERS WIN PERSONAL FINANCE INSTALMENTS

26 Dec 2018

Manama, Bahrain– 26 December 2018: Ten Ithmaar Bank customers will each pay only half of their instalments for one year as their remaining instalments for that year will be paid by the Bank for a year as part of the recent “Win six instalments per year” promotion.

The promotion was valid until 31 October, and the draw was held at the Ithmaar Bank headquarters in Seef on 3 December under the supervision of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, internal auditors and external supervisors BDO (Bahrain).

The winners, Ahmed Saad Ahmed Saad Burshaid, Mahmood Mohammed Akbar Al Thahabi, Nayla Mohamed Jasim Al Ahmed, Isa Ali Abdulla Mohammed Danesh, Abdulla Ebrahim Hasan Mohamed Ali, Saud Abdulaziz Mohamed Isa Al Romaihi, Feras Mohamed Kadhem Taha, Lulwa Mubarak A.Aziz Al Azmi, Mohammed Saleh Mohammed Saleh, Amnah Abdulkarim Abdulla Hussain were formally informed about their prizes by Ithmaar Bank Executive Senior Manager- Head of Branch Network, Yasser Hamza. Hamza congratulated the winners and wished them continued luck and good fortune.

“It is a pleasure to be able to contribute in improving our customers’ lives,” said Hamza. “This latest Personal Finance promotion is one of the many ways we try to continuously improve our products and services by listening to our customers’ needs and developing products that meet their specific demands,” he said.

Following the draw, Ithmaar Bank will, for each of the ten winners, deposit their instalment amount every alternative month for one year, after which each customer will continue paying all remaining instalments due until the full repayment of their financing facility. In addition to the chance to win the instalments, all Ithmaar Bank customers who participated in the personal finance promotion also enjoyed many benefits such as optional three-month grace period, and tenor periods of up to 84 months with competitive profit rates.
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BAHRAINI WINS US$250,000 CASH IN ITHMAAR BANK’S THIRD GRAND PRIZE THIMAAR DRAW

18 Nov 2018

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 18 November 2018 – Khalifa Mohamed Khalifa, a retired Bahraini, took home a US$250,000 cash prize after becoming the third grand prize winner of a Thimaar draw this year from Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank.
Thimaar, a prize-based savings account, rewards Ithmaar Bank customers who save using the account with a chance to win up to 4,015 prizes totalling US$3,170,000 throughout the year.
The US$250,000 cash prize was presented by Ithmaar Bank Deputy Chief Executive Officer – Banking Group, Abdulhakeem Al Mutawa, at a ceremony held at the Seef Mall and attended by other Thimaar winners, as well as Ithmaar Bank Assistant General Manager – Head of Retail Banking, Mohammed Janahi, and other members of the Ithmaar Bank management team.
“We are delighted to win the grand prize of Thimaar,” said Ahmed Khalifa- the winner’s son. “I have received a call from the Bank on behalf of my father stating that he has won the grand prize. At first, I thought it was a joke as I have a good relation with the Bank’s employees. Then the branch manager confirmed it’s true,” he said. “I would like to thank the Bank for offering its customers such a high chance of winning these valuable prizes. We will continue to save with Thimaar savings accounts as they offer many cash prizes and also encourage people to get into the habit of saving.”
“On behalf of Ithmaar Bank, I would like to congratulate Khalifa and his family, and all the other Thimaar winners,” said Al Mutawa. “We are pleased to be able to bring so much joy and prosperity to so many families in Bahrain. The Thimaar scheme, now in its eighth year, offers the highest chances of winning of any comparable product in Bahrain, which is an extremely attractive prospect for savers,” he said.
In 2018, Thimaar offers its Thimaar account holders 4,015 prizes – one of the highest by any bank in Bahrain. Ithmaar Bank also increased the total prize purse to US$3,170,000, including three grand prizes of US$250,000 each, making it one of the largest to be won in the Kingdom.
Every BD30 maintained as an average monthly balance qualifies a customer to enter the draws. The more customers save, and the longer they maintain balances in multiples of BD30, the more opportunities they have to win.

ITHMAAR HOLDING AND ITS WHOLLY-OWNED SUBSIDIARY, ITHMAAR BANK, REPORT PROFIT

13 Nov 2018

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 13 November 2018 – Ithmaar Holding B.S.C., a Bahrain-based financial institution, and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ithmaar Bank B.S.C. (closed), a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, each announced their financial results for the third quarter of 2018 with both reporting profits.
The announcement by the Ithmaar Holding Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, who is also the Ithmaar Bank Chairman, follows the review and approval of both Board of Directors of the consolidated financial results for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2018.
Ithmaar Holding reported a net profit of US$11.34 million for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2018, as compared to a net loss of US$16.25 million for the same period in 2017. Net profit attributable to equity holders for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2018 was US$2.73 million, as compared to the US$27.04 million net loss reported for the same period in 2017. The increase net profit is mainly due to higher impairment provision in the previous period resulting from classification of an associate to held-for-sale. This has been reclassified as an associate during 2018. Earnings per share (EPS) for the nine month period increased to US Cents 0.09 compared to negative US Cents 0.93 for the same period in 2017.
The results included a net profit of US$0.51 million for the three-month period ended 30 September 2018, as compared to a net loss of US$14.66 million for the same period in 2017, and a net loss of US$2.12 million attributable to equity holders for the three-month period ended 30 September 2018, as compared to a net loss of US$17.80 million reported for the same period in 2017. EPS for the three-month period increased to negative US Cents 0.07 compared to negative US Cents 0.61 for the same period in 2017.
“On behalf of the Ithmaar Holding Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that our 2018 results continue to highlight the turnaround in our financial performance,” said HRH Prince Amr. “This achievement, which is made all the more significant by the challenging market conditions that characterised much of 2018, is testimony to the strength of the Group’s core retail banking business,” he said.
“The 2018 results show that total income for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2018 increased to US$334.52 million, a 10.6 percent increase from the US$302.34 million reported for the same period last year. This included total income of US$109.09 million for the three-month period ended 30 September 2018, a 15.7 percent increase compared to US$94.27 million reported for the same period last year. This was mainly due to higher share of profit after tax from associates resulting from reclassification from held-for-sale to associate during the period,” said HRH Prince Amr. “As a result, our operating income for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2018 increased to US$211.47 million, a 16.8 percent increase from the US$181.08 million reported for the same period last year. This included an operating income of US$62.79 million for the three-month period ended 30 September 2018, a 16.6 percent increase compared to US$53.87 million for the same period last year,” said HRH Prince Amr.
Ithmaar Holding Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, who is also the Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, said the financial performance of both institutions demonstrate that efforts to turn the Group around are paying off.
“Ithmaar Holding’s balance sheet remained stable with total assets at US$7.99 billion as at 30 September 2018, compared to US$8.61 billion as at 31 December 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “Total owners’ equity stood at US$187.29 million as at 30 September 2018, a 47.3% decrease compared to US$355.33 million as 31 December 2017, and the decrease is mainly due to the early adoption of the new Financial Accounting Standard (FAS 30) “Impairment, credit losses and onerous commitments” that was issued by the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI),” he said.
“Meanwhile, Ithmaar Bank’s financial results show a net profit of BD4.76 million for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2018, a decrease of 17.8 percent compared to a net profit of BD5.79 million for the same period in 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “Net profit attributable to equity holders for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2018 was BD1.56 million, a decrease of 9.9 percent compared to the BD1.73 million net profit reported for the same period in 2017,” he said.
“The results included a net profit of BD1.15 million of the three-month period ended 30 September 2018, a decrease of 18.3 percent compared to a net profit of BD1.41 million for the same period in 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “Net profit attributable to equity holders for the three-month period ended 30 September 2018 was BD0.19 million, a decrease of 0.5 percent compared to the BD0.19 million profit reported for the same period in 2017,” he said.
“Core income continued to grow in 2018, with Group’s share of income from unrestricted investment accounts increasing BD20.86 million for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2018, a 6.6 percent increase from the BD19.56 million reported for the same period last year. Income from murabaha and other financings also increased to BD50.11 million, a 7.9 percent increase from the BD46.45 million reported for the same period last year,” said Abdul Rahim. “These significant increases reflect growing customer confidence in the Bank,” he said.
“The Bank’s financial results include an operating income of BD62.79 million for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2018, a 4.7 percent decrease as compared to the BD65.87 million reported for the same period last year,” said Abdul Rahim. “This included an operating income of BD20.59 million for the three-month period ended 30 September 2018, a 2.4 percent increase compared to BD20.11 million reported for the same period last year,” he said.
“Ithmaar Bank’s balance sheet remained stable with total assets at BD3.02 billion as at 30 September 2018, compared to BD3.24 billion as at 31 December 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “Meanwhile, despite market conditions, the equity of unrestricted investment account holders stood at BD1.01 billion as at 30 September 2018, as compared to BD1.06 billion as at 31 December 2017, and as compared to BD1.06 billion as at 30 September 2017. Total owners’ equity stood at BD96.14 million as at 30 September 2018, a 37.8 percent decrease compared to BD154.60 million as 31 December 2017, mainly due to the FAS 30 impact of previous period recognized in equity,” he said.

ITHMAAR BANK CELEBRATES EMPLOYEES’ SUCCESS, HIGHLIGHTS THE IMPORTANCE AND COMMITMENT TO TEAM SPIRIT

04 Nov 2018

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 4 November 2018 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, stressed the importance of team work, both at the bank and at the national and regional levels, as it celebrated some of its employees’ many achievements and pledged to continue its long-standing focus on inspiring, encouraging and continuously promoting teamwork at all levels.
Speaking at the Ithmaar Bank Annual Staff gathering, which was this year hosted at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Abdul Rahim, paid rich tribute to employees thanking them for their contributions both to the Bank and, by extension, to the national economy.
“Together, we are each contributing directly and in an important way to Bahrain’s success as a regional banking and financial services hub,” said Abdul Rahim. “It is something we all take great pride in,” he said.
At event, which was attended by over 350 people, including Bank employees as well as third party contractors and outsourced staff, Abdul Rahim honoured long-serving employees, thanking them in particular for their dedication over the years.
“At Ithmaar Bank, we have long maintained that, ultimately, it is the quality of our people that drives our continued success,” said Abdul Rahim. “Our collective success, both as a financial institution and as a nation, is a direct result of our individual achievements. Today, we celebrate some of these many achievements, and we commit to continuing to work together, as a team, towards an even better, brighter future,” he said.
“This year has been a very successful year for us, with some very significant achievements,” said Abdul Rahim. “As part of our digital transformation strategy, for example, we launched a new state-of-the-art eBanking service earlier this year to offer customers a faster, friendlier and more secure online banking experience. We are now building on this major milestone, and working on continuously enhancing our customers’ experience,” he said.
“Most recently, we partnered with a Bahrain Fintech start-up, Eazy Financial Services, and announced plans to become the region’s first biometric enabled bank,” said Abdul Rahim. “The plans, which potentially brings revolutionary improvements in customers’ experience with banks, will provide consumers a safer, more convenient and more secure way to bank. The announcement also helped showcase Bahrain as a hub for innovation, specifically in the financial services industry,” he said.

The Annual Staff Gathering was organised by the Ithmaar Bank’s Human Resources, Administration, Information Technology and Marketing and Corporate Communications Departments.
“At Ithmaar Bank, we have long maintained that our employees are our most valued assets,” said Ithmaar Bank Head of Human Resources, Enas Mohamed Rahimi, who also heads the Bank’s Social Committee.
“The Annual Staff Gathering is an opportunity to celebrate our joint achievements and reinforce our shared commitments. It is also an opportunity to celebrate our long-serving employees – especially those who have completed 30, 25, 15 and ten years – as well as our long-serving office attendants and security guards who have served five years. The fact that so many of us have been with the Bank for so long is a reflection of the shared, mutual commitment between the employees and the Bank,” she said.
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CITYVIEW PROJECT FORMALLY INAUGURATED, APARTMENT HANDOVER BEGINS

23 Oct 2018

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 23 October 2018 – Cityview Real Estate Development Company (Cityview), a Bahrain-based real estate development company, announced today (ed note: 23/10/18) the formal inauguration of the Company’s Cityview building and said it had started handover apartments to their owners.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Cityview Chairman, Abdulhakeem Al Mutawa, said he is pleased that, despite the many complex challenges, the project was successfully completed.
The Cityview project, a residential tower in the Seef District near Dana Mall, was put on hold in 2011 due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control. The Project’s completion makes it the only project of its kind in Bahrain to be resolved internally, without external intervention after Ithmaar Bank, one of the shareholders, provided the necessary financing. Ithmaar Holding, an investment firm listed on the Bahrain Bourse, Boursa Kuwait and Dubai Financial Market, owns through its subsidiary 51 percent shareholding in Cityview.
Present at the inauguration ceremony were representatives of Ithmaar Bank and Cityview as well as Ithmaar Development Company (IDC), which represents Ithmaar Group, Dheya Tawfiqi Engineering Consultancy Bureau W.L.L. (DTEB) as the Project Consultant, Poullaides Construction Company (PCC) as the main contractor of the Project and Ithmaar Bank’s Home Finance team.
When announcing the completion of the Cityview project in August, Al Mutawa had said the achievement, which remains unique in Bahrain, was made possible by Ithmaar Bank’s determination to see the project through, and a demonstration of the potential that can be realised when everyone pulls in the same direction.
“The building is now fully operational with all utilities functional after having received all municipal and authority approvals,” said Al Mutawa. “In fact, with the de-snagging works completed, and the testing and commissioning successful, we are handing over the building to Olive V.F.M (a wholly owned subsidiary of Ithmaar Holding), the appointed facility management team who will be welcoming the first residents,” he said.
The Cityview building comprises a total of 88 apartments offering amenities such as a gym, health club, and swimming pool dedicated to the residents.
Al Mutawa thanked the buyers of the project’s apartments for their support during the previous period, which ended with completing construction works of the building.
Al Mutawa also thanked the Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Ministerial Committee for Urbanisation and Infrastructure, His Excellency Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, for his continuous efforts and support for helping drive the Project towards its completion.
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ITHMAAR GROUP HOSTS CORPORATE GOVERNANCE TRAINING FOR ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT

07 Oct 2018

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 7 October 2018 – Ithmaar Group, which includes Ithmaar Holding and its two wholly-owned subsidiaries, Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail Bank, and IB Capital, a Bahrain-based Islamic Investment firm, hosted a Board Evaluation training session for members of its Board of Directors and its Executive Management team.
The training session, which was delivered by a trainer from the Bahrain Institute for Banking and Finance (BIBF), focused on the assessment of the Board’s efficiency and aimed to identify and address any performance gaps. This will help in making high-quality decisions, achieve objectives, manage risks, and safeguard the Bank’s reputation.
“Board evaluations have become one of the most important innovations in governance thinking and has become best practice within the industry,” said Ithmaar Group Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “The returns from our investment in this training session will be reflected on the Group’s performance and will help improve our capabilities to grow and build on our continued success,” he said.
“An effective Board of Directors helps building trust and confidence among investors, regulators, customers, employees and all stakeholders,” said Abdul Rahim. “These specialized training courses, which we host on a regular basis, help ensure we remain abreast with the latest developments and current best practice applications,” he said.
“Ithmaar Group has long maintained that, ultimately, our success is dependent on our people,” said Ithmaar Bank Head of Human Resources, Enas Rahimi. “To do so, we invest heavily in continuous training and development across the Group. This is a true for our members of our Board of Directors as it is for members of the Executive Management team and the entire workforce,” she said.
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ITHMAAR BANK NURTURES FUTURE LEADERS IN BANKING AND FINANCE THROUGH ITS SUMMER INTERNSHIP PROGRAMME

25 Sep 2018

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 25 September 2018 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, concluded its annual summer internship programme with thirty-two undergraduate students from various local and international universities participating in this year’s programme.
The two-month programme included an induction session that covered various training sessions, such as information security, anti-money laundering, and the basics of Islamic banking and finance in addition to on-the-job training. The trainees also took part in the “Head Start” programme, an InJaz initiative targeted at university students in their senior years and designed to help them develop their CV and prepare for job interviews.
“As leaders in Islamic banking, Ithmaar Bank recognises its responsibility not just to the community in which it operates, but also towards nurturing the national banking and finance industry,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “Our internship programme helps university students kick-start their preparation for careers by developing their knowledge and offering them the experience they need to enter the work environment. It also contributes to the development of the next generation of banking and finance leaders, who will support the contribution of the banking industry to the national economy. The Kingdom of Bahrain enjoys a reputation as a key regional banking hub, particularly for Islamic banking, and we view it as our responsibility to help maintain this position,” he said.
Ithmaar Bank Head of Human Resources, Enas Rahimi said: “Ithmaar Bank’s summer internship programme is developed annually according to market requirements, complementing the theoretical studies taught at universities with practical, on-the-job training.”
In line with the Bank’s commitment to helping develop the next generation of banking professionals, the internship offers trainees first-hand insight into the Bank’s organisational structure, as well as the key functional areas of Islamic retail banks and an understanding of day-to-day operations.
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ITHMAAR BANK AND EAZY FINANCIAL SERVICES ANNOUNCE PLANS TO LAUNCH THE REGION’S FIRST BIOMETRIC PAYMENT NETWORK

17 Sep 2018

Ithmaar Bank and Eazy Financial Services announce plans to launch the region’s first biometric payment network, and it will bring a revolutionary improvement in customers’ experience with banks

The Bahraini-created solution will provide consumers with a safer, more convenient and more secure way to bank

Bahrain, 17th September 2018: Ithmaar Bank and Eazy Financial Services today announced plans to launch the region’s first biometric payment network, supported by the Labour Fund “Tamkeen”, providing new and more efficient alternative for customers to conduct many of their financial transactions.

When implemented, Ithmaar Bank customers will no longer be required to use their bank cards at ATMs. Instead, they will simply be able to use their fingerprint along with their PIN to process financial transactions. This provides a simpler, more secure way to process financial transactions than ever before. In future, this may also include points of sale.

Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) Chief Executive, Khalid Al Rumaihi, commented: “With this announcement Ithmaar Bank and Eazy Financial Services are truly showcasing Bahrain as a hub for innovation, specifically in the financial services industry. This partnership comes in line with our strategy to encourage innovation that supports high value job creation in the Kingdom. Bahrain’s forward -thinking regulatory approach provides an attractive environment for FinTech – particularly in areas such as Islamic finance and payments. We look forward to welcoming more home-grown initiatives such as this.”

Praising the initiative, Tamkeen Chief Executive Dr. Ebrahim Janahi said: “Tamkeen’s support for the FinTech industry comes as part of our efforts to support enterprises across stages of development and making the private sector a key driver of economic growth. We believe Ithmaar Bank and Eazy are both well ahead of the curve, and this strategic initiative will result in a major positive change in the Kingdom’s economy and capital market.”

Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) Executive Director, Khalid Hamad, said: “This very forward-looking partnership is proof that FinTech initiatives are delivering tangible, real-world results – ahead of similar initiatives across the region – while maintaining the overall safety and soundness of the financial system in Bahrain.”

The platform, developed by Eazy Financial Services, is built on a powerful Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) one of the most reliable and trusted biometric engines which is deployed and implemented in many countries around the world for both civil and forensic applications. Eazy Financial Services adopts a rigorous “Identification Algorithm” which has earned the highest honours by several standards organizations and authorities.

Praising the initiative, Tamkeen CEO Dr. Ebrahim Janahi said: “Tamkeen’s support for the FinTech industry comes as part of our efforts to support enterprises across stages of development and making the private sector a key driver of economic growth. We believe Ithmaar Bank and Eazy are both well ahead of the curve, and this strategic initiative will result in a major positive change in the Kingdom’s economy and capital market.”

Ithmaar Bank CEO, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said: “As part of our Digital Strategy, we continue to invest heavily in technology that provides our customers a more convenient, simpler and more secure way to conduct their financial transactions. Our customers are tech-savvy and expect friction-less access to banking services – and the introduction of biometrics is another major step that direction. We are leading the financial industry with this new, tangible solution which is a real-time example of how we put innovation and our customers at the forefront of everything we do.”

Eazy Financial Services CEO, Khaled Al Ahli, said: “Payments stand out as the single largest driver for the biometrics market. We are driving biometric verification in the region, which is the future of the financial industry.

“As a local Bahraini start-up, we are extremely proud to bring a regional first solution from Bahrain, in partnership with a renowned local bank. Going forward, biometrics for financial products and services are expected to represent one third of the total market for biometric solutions in 2020,” he continued.

The agreement is a result of the financial support of Tamkeen, with the support of the EDB and CBB, and will see the new Biometric Payment Network available in phases for Ithmaar Bank customers as early as Q1 2019.

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Ithmaar Holding and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ithmaar Bank, report half-year profits

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 13 August2018 –Ithmaar Holding B.S.C., a Bahrain-based financial institution, and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ithmaar Bank B.S.C. (closed), a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, each announced their financial results for the first half of 2018 with both reporting profits for the period.

The announcement by the Ithmaar Holding Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, who is also the Ithmaar Bank Chairman, follows the review and approvalof both Board of Directors of the consolidated financial results for the six-month period ended 30 June 2018.

Ithmaar Holding reported a net profit of US$10.82million for the six-month period ended 30 June 2018, as compared to a net loss of US$1.59 million for the same period in 2017.  Net profit attributable to equity holders for the six-month period ended 30June 2018 was US$4.85million, ascompared to the US$9.25 million net loss reported for the same period in 2017.Earnings per share (EPS) for the six month period increased to US Cents 0.17 compared to negative US Cents 0.32 for the sameperiod in 2017.

The half-year results included a net profit of US$6.01 million for the three-month period ended 30 June 2018,  as compared to a net loss of US$7.38 million for the same period in 2017. Net profit attributable to equity holders for the three-month period ended 30June 2018 was US$3.20million, as compared to the US$9.82 million net loss reported for the same period in 2017. EPS for the three-month period increased to USD Cents 0.11 compared to negative US Cents 0.34 for the same period in 2017.

“On behalf of the Ithmaar Holding Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that the 2018 half-year results show a turnaround in our financial performance,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Total income for the six-month period ended 30 June 2018increased to US$225.43 million, a8.3 percent increase from the US$208.07 million reported for the same period last year.This was mainly due to higher share of profit after tax from associates,” he said.

“As a result, our operating income for the six-month period ended 30 June 2018increased to US$148.68 million, a 16.9 percent increase from the US$127.21 million reported for the same period last year,” said HRH Prince Amr.

Ithmaar Holding Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, who is also the Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, said the half-year result of both institutions reflect the strength of the Group’s core retail banking business.

“Ithmaar Holding’s total assets stood at US$8.62billion as at 30June 2018, compared to US$8.61 billion as at 31 December 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “Total owners’ equity stood at US$185.19million as at 30June 2018, a 47.9percent reduction compared to US$355.33 million as 31 December 2017, mainly due tothe early adoption of the new Financial Accounting Standard (FAS) “Impairment, credit losses and onerous commitments” that was issued by the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI),” he said.

“Also, Ithmaar Bank’s financial results show a net profit of BD3.61 million for the six-month period ended 30 June 2018,a decrease of 17.6 percent compared to a net profit of BD4.38 million for the same period in 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “Net profit attributable to equity holders for the six-month period ended 30June 2018 was BD1.37 million, a decrease of 11.0 percent compared to the BD1.54 million net profit reported for the same period in 2017,” he said.

“The half-year results of Ithmaar Bank included a net profit of BD1.58 million of the three-month period ended 30 June 2018, an increase of 22.0 percent compared to a net profit of BD1.30 million for the same period in 2017,” said Abdul Rahim.  “Net profit attributable to equity holders for the three-month period ended 30June 2018 was BD0.54 million, an increase of 35.2 percent compared to the BD0.40 million profit reported for the same period in 2017. Although core income continued to grow during the period as evidenced by increase of 6.3% and 2.5% in income from murabaha and other financings and share of income from unrestricted investment accounts respectively, operating income was lower by 7.8 percent mainly because the2017 results include realised gains from the sale of certain investment assets by the Bank’s subsidiary in Pakistan, Faysal Bank Limited,” he said.

“Ithmaar Bank’s balance sheet remained stable with total assets at BD3.25 billion as at 30June 2018, compared to BD3.24 billion as at 31 December 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “Core income continued to grow with total financings increasing by 3.8 percent to BD2.16 billion as at 30 June 2018 compared to BD2.08 billion as at 31 December 2017 and increase of 5.0 percent from BD2.06 billion as at 30 June 2017. Meanwhile, despite market conditions, the equity of unrestricted investment account holders stood at BD1.03 billion as at 30 June 2018, as compared to BD1.06 billion as at 31 December2017, and as compared to BD1.05 billion as at 30 June 2017.”

“Total owners’ equity stood at BD97.05million as at 30 June 2018, a 37.2 percent decrease  compared to BD154.60 million as 31 December 2017, mainly due to the FAS 30 impact of previous period recognized in equity,” he said.

ITHMAAR HOLDING AND ITHMAAR BANK REPORT HALF-YEAR PROFITS

13 Aug 2018

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 13 August 2018 – Ithmaar Holding B.S.C., a Bahrain-based financial institution, and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ithmaar Bank B.S.C. (closed), a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, each announced their financial results for the first half of 2018 with both reporting profits for the period.
The announcement by the Ithmaar Holding Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, who is also the Ithmaar Bank Chairman, follows the review and approval of both Board of Directors of the consolidated financial results for the six-month period ended 30 June 2018.
Ithmaar Holding reported a net profit of US$10.82 million for the six-month period ended 30 June 2018, as compared to a net loss of US$1.59 million for the same period in 2017. Net profit attributable to equity holders for the six-month period ended 30 June 2018 was US$4.85 million, as compared to the US$9.25 million net loss reported for the same period in 2017. Earnings per share (EPS) for the six month period increased to US Cents 0.17 compared to negative US Cents 0.32 for the same period in 2017.
The half-year results included a net profit of US$6.01 million for the three-month period ended 30 June 2018, as compared to a net loss of US$7.38 million for the same period in 2017. Net profit attributable to equity holders for the three-month period ended 30 June 2018 was US$3.20 million, as compared to the US$9.82 million net loss reported for the same period in 2017. EPS for the three-month period increased to USD Cents 0.11 compared to negative US Cents 0.34 for the same period in 2017.
“On behalf of the Ithmaar Holding Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that the 2018 half-year results show a turnaround in our financial performance,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Total income for the six-month period ended 30 June 2018 increased to US$225.43 million, a 8.3 percent increase from the US$208.07 million reported for the same period last year. This was mainly due to higher share of profit after tax from associates,” he said.
“As a result, our operating income for the six-month period ended 30 June 2018 increased to US$148.68 million, a 16.9 percent increase from the US$127.21 million reported for the same period last year,” said HRH Prince Amr.
Ithmaar Holding Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, who is also the Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, said the half-year result of both institutions reflect the strength of the Group’s core retail banking business.
“Ithmaar Holding’s total assets stood at US$8.62 billion as at 30 June 2018, compared to US$8.61 billion as at 31 December 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “Total owners’ equity stood at US$185.19 million as at 30 June 2018, a 47.9 percent reduction compared to US$355.33 million as 31 December 2017, mainly due to the early adoption of the new Financial Accounting Standard (FAS) “Impairment, credit losses and onerous commitments” that was issued by the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI),” he said.
“Also, Ithmaar Bank’s financial results show a net profit of BD3.61 million for the six-month period ended 30 June 2018, a decrease of 17.6 percent compared to a net profit of BD4.38 million for the same period in 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “Net profit attributable to equity holders for the six-month period ended 30 June 2018 was BD1.37 million, a decrease of 11.0 percent compared to the BD1.54 million net profit reported for the same period in 2017,” he said.
“The half-year results of Ithmaar Bank included a net profit of BD1.58 million of the three-month period ended 30 June 2018, an increase of 22.0 percent compared to a net profit of BD1.30 million for the same period in 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “Net profit attributable to equity holders for the three-month period ended 30 June 2018 was BD0.54 million, an increase of 35.2 percent compared to the BD0.40 million profit reported for the same period in 2017. Although core income continued to grow during the period as evidenced by increase of 6.3% and 2.5% in income from murabaha and other financings and share of income from unrestricted investment accounts respectively, operating income was lower by 7.8 percent mainly because the 2017 results include realised gains from the sale of certain investment assets by the Bank’s subsidiary in Pakistan, Faysal Bank Limited,” he said.
“Ithmaar Bank’s balance sheet remained stable with total assets at BD3.25 billion as at 30 June 2018, compared to BD3.24 billion as at 31 December 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “Core income continued to grow with total financings increasing by 3.8 percent to BD2.16 billion as at 30 June 2018 compared to BD2.08 billion as at 31 December 2017 and increase of 5.0 percent from BD2.06 billion as at 30 June 2017. Meanwhile, despite market conditions, the equity of unrestricted investment account holders stood at BD1.03 billion as at 30 June 2018, as compared to BD1.06 billion as at 31 December 2017, and as compared to BD1.05 billion as at 30 June 2017.”
“Total owners’ equity stood at BD97.05 million as at 30 June 2018, a 37.2 percent decrease compared to BD154.60 million as 31 December 2017, mainly due to the FAS 30 impact of previous period recognized in equity,” he said.
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ITHMAAR BANK OFFERS CARDHOLDERS DISCOUNTED RATES ON GULF AIR FLIGHTS

22 Jul 2018

MANAMA, BAHRAIN– 22 July 2018: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, has renewed an agreement with the Kingdom’s national carrier, Gulf Air, granting the Bank’s credit card and debit cardholders exclusive discounts on flights purchased on the official Gulf Air website, gulfair.com until 31 March 2019.
The offer is applicable to all Gulf Air’s online fares for both Falcon Gold (business class) and economy class tickets. A discount code will be distributed to all Ithmaar Bank cardholders.

“In line with our customer-centric approach, we aim to give our customers the greatest value possible,” said Ithmaar Bank Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Banking Group, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa. “Card holders today expect a range of value added benefits to come along with their cards. This is our way of providing them with preferential rates on Gulf Air’s entire network, which is being enhanced to include new routes to places such as Baku, Azerbaijan, Alexandria and Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt and Casablanca, Morocco, and more frequent flights to popular neighbouring destinations across the GCC and MENA region,” he said.
“We are pleased to be continuing this activity with one of the Kingdom’s premier banking institutions for the third consecutive year, giving their customers the chance to experience Gulf Air’s hallmark Arabian hospitality and award-winning services at exclusive rates,” said Gulf Air Deputy Chief Executive Officer Captain Waleed Abdulhameed Al Alawi. “Gulf Air is in the process of upgrading its services across its network. The addition of new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft to our fleet will transform the passenger experience even more, offering the quietest and most comfortable long haul flights available. This, in turn, translates to a better offering, with better value, for Ithmaar Bank customers,” he concluded.
Ithmaar Bank customers earn points with every purchase using credit cards and eCards. Points can be redeemed online with the easy-to-use Ithmaar Rewards portal, which offers a choice of 700 airlines, 150,000 hotels, car rental services, cash back or the opportunity to donate directly to the Royal Charity Organisation.
World and Platinum credit card holders also enjoy free of charge access to more than 900 key airport lounges in more than 415 cities in over 135 countries worldwide.
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ITHMAAR BANK CUSTOMER WINS US$250,000

17 Jul 2018

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 17 July 2018 – Jaber Shamsaldin, a Bahraini father of three, took home a US$250,000 cash prize after becoming the latest winner of a Thimaar grand prize from Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank.
Thimar, a prize-based savings account, rewards Ithmaar Bank customers who save using the account with a chance to win up to 4,015 prizes totalling US$3,170,000 throughout the year.
The US$250,000 cash prize was presented by Ithmaar Bank Deputy Chief Executive Officer – Banking Group, Abdulhakeem Al Mutawa, at a ceremony held at the Seef Mall and attended by other Thimaar winners, as well as Ithmaar Bank Assistant General Manager – Head of Retail Banking, Mohammed Janahi, and other members of the Ithmaar Bank management team.
“I am very happy to win the grand prize of Thimaar,” said Shamsaldin. “I have been banking at Ithmaar Bank for many years because of the fast, friendly service, along with its online offerings and large number of branches across the Kingdom which make it convenient for me to carry out my banking transactions,” he said.
“I have also been saving with the Thimaar saving account for a long time, and this prize money comes at the perfect time for me,” said Shamsaldin. “I am glad that, finally, my wish to win a top prize came true this year,” he said.
“On behalf of Ithmaar Bank, I would like to congratulate Jaber and his family, as well as all the other Thimaar winners,” said Al Mutawa. “In line with the Bank’s customer-centric commitment to delivering a superior banking service, we work hard to improve the Thimaar savings account as part of the Bank’s commitment to listening closely to its customers’ requirements and actively responding to their feedback. We are pleased to be able to bring so much joy and prosperity to so many families in Bahrain,” he said.
In 2018, Thimaar offers its Thimaar account holders 4,015 prizes – one of the highest by any bank in Bahrain. Ithmaar Bank also increased the total prize purse to US$3,170,000, including three grand prizes of US$250,000 each, making it one of the largest to be won in the Kingdom.
Every BD30 maintained as an average monthly balance qualifies a customer to enter the draws. The more customers save, and the longer they maintain balances in multiples of BD30, the more opportunities they have to win.
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DFM WELCOMES THE LISTING OF BAHRAIN’S ITHMAAR HOLDING

30 Jan 2018

• HE/ Essa Kazim: “The fifth of its kind dual listing underlines the strong ties between the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain”
• Ithmaar Holding: “The DFM listing, alongside Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait, opens trading on Ithmaar Holding’s shares to a new and exciting market”

Dubai, 29 January 2018: Dubai Financial Market (DFM) today announced the listing of Bahrain’s Ithmaar Holding B.S.C. (Ithmaar), one of the leading investment institutions in the Kingdom of Bahrain, as trading commenced on the bank’s shares under the trading symbol (ITHMR), which appears on DFM screens, trading system and publications within the Banking Sector.

This listing further strengthens the prominent position of DFM as the most favored listing venue for leading local and regional companies and lifts the total number of listed companies to 66. It also lifts number of Dual listings to 16 including five Bahraini companies.

Ithmaar Holding Board Member, Abdulelah Ebrahim Al-Qassimi, rang the market-opening bell in the presence of His Excellency Essa Kazim, Chairman of DFM and senior representatives from both sides.

Commenting on this development, H.E. Essa Kazim said: “We are delighted to welcome the listing of Ithmaar Holding on DFM. This is the fifth of its kind dual listing from Bahrain, which underlines the strong ties between the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain and represents a strong addition to the Banking sector on our market, providing investors with new investment opportunities. The listing also reinforces DFM’s position as the market of choice for companies seeking Dual listing in a clear indication on businesses’ high level of confidence in our exchange due its world-class infrastructure, enormous and diversified investor base and innovative issuer services. These factors further strengthened DFM’s leading position as most favoured listing venue for companies from the UAE and across the region and fortifies Dubai’s position as an international financial hub. DFM is constantly endeavours to diversify the range of investment opportunities offered to its enormous investor base by encouraging and partnering with companies from various sectors across the region to benefit from listing on the region’s leading stock exchange.”
Ithmaar Holding Board Member, Abdulelah Ebrahim Al-Qassimi, said: “We are pleased with listing on the DFM, adding a new key market alongside our current listing on the Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait. The listing is testimony to the important role that Dubai, alongside the Kingdom of Bahrain, plays as a key banking and financial services hub in the region with its reputation for excellence”.

Ahmed Abdul Rahim, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Ithmaar Holding, said: “Ithmaar Holding is a widely diversified financial services company that is licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) DFM listing adds further diversity for our shareholders and opens trading on Ithmaar Holding’s shares to a new and exciting market, and will create new investment opportunities for investors in the GCC markets. The listing concludes preparation under the guidance of the CBB, the Bahrain Bourse, the United Arab Emirate’s Securities and Commodities Authority, and the DFM, and we are deeply grateful for the advice and support we received.”

Ithmaar Holding owns two wholly-owned subsidiaries: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, and IB Capital, an investment subsidiary. Ithmaar Bank and IB Capital are both licensed and regulated by the CBB. Ithmaar Bank owns 66.6 percent of Faysal Bank Limited (FBL), a retail banking subsidiary in Pakistan that is listed on the Pakistan Stock Exchange and is mainly engaged in corporate, commercial, retail and consumer banking activities.

ITHMAAR BANK’S RETAIL BANKING SUBSIDIARY IN PAKISTAN, FAYSAL BANK LIMITED, REPORTS CONTINUED PROFITS

11 Jun 2018

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 11 June 2018 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced today (ed note: 11/06/18) that its retail banking subsidiary in Pakistan, Faysal Bank Limited (FBL) has made steady progress over the years and is now recognised as a major player in the financial industry of Pakistan.
Ithmaar Bank owns 66.6 percent of FBL which is listed on the Pakistan Stock Exchange and is mainly engaged in corporate, commercial, retail and consumer banking activities.
The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer and FBL Vice Chairman, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, follows the review and approval by the FBL Board of Directors of the financial results for the quarter ended 31 March 2018.
“I am pleased to announce that FBL registered a profit after tax of US$10.6 million (PKR 1.22 billion) during the first quarter of 2018, compared to a profit of US$16.2 million (PKR 1.87 billion) during the corresponding period in 2017. The decrease in profit is mainly due to one- off capital gain earned on government securities amounting to US$8.3 million (PKR 960 million) in the first quarter of 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “The economic landscape in Pakistan is changing and, as a result, bench mark profit rates have started to improve and the Bank has decided to increase its lending books in selective segments to improve margins and profitability. The Bank shall also continue to build core and low cost deposit base, as well as pursue recoveries from delinquent clients,” he said.
“The Bank is formulating a digital strategy to provide secure, state of the art and user-friendly banking services to our customers at a rationalized cost,” said Abdul Rahim. “It is also working to add new products and services that cater to the financial need of its customers,” he said.
FBL’s footprint now spreads to 124 cities with 404 branches and 404 ATM’s across the Pakistan, and the Bank intends to increase its branch network by 50 branches in 2018, in continuation to a total of 125 branches opened during 2016 and 2017. The Bank’s deposits have reached US$3.3 billion and assets have crossed the US$4.2 billion mark with a capital base of more than US$350 million.
FBL’s financial performance has earned the Bank “AA” and “A1+” ratings for the long and short terms respectively, with stable outlook from JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Limited and Pakistan Credit Rating Agency Limited.

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ITHMAAR BANK RENEWS ITS PCI-DSS CERTIFICATION

11 Jun 2018

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 3 July 2018– Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced that SISA Information Security, the Middle East region’s leading security assessor, has renewed its certification of the Bank to confirm the highest payment security standard possible for any organisation dealing with payment card related information.
The announcement follows Ithmaar Bank’s successful completion of a comprehensive audit and its compliance to all requirements necessary for the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard v3.2 (PCI-DSS)certification. The PCI-DSS is a data security standard for organizations that handle payment cards. It is mandated by the card brands and regulator, administered by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council, and widely recognised as one of the most stringent and most coveted security standards in the world. SISA Information Security,an international authorised assessor for various payments standards, is a payment security specialist firmwitha presence in more than thirty-five countries.
“Ithmaar Bank had first earned the certification on 26April 2017, making us one of the first in Bahrain to be certified to the PCI-DSS standard,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “Maintaining this certification is testimony to the importance that we attach to our customers’ information security and underscores our commitment to ensuring their satisfaction and enhancing their Islamic banking experience,” he said.
“The purpose of the PCI-DSS is to protect card data from unauthorised users, including hackers and thieves, and by following this standard, banks can keep data confidential and secure, avoiding costly data breaches and protecting employees and customers, ” said SISA WorldwideCEO and Founder, DharshanShanthamurthy. “Ithmaar Bank’s certification shows their in-depth understanding of the security measures and precautions they are taking to keep their payment data safe – particularly as the PCI-DSS doesn’t remain as a static standard, but keeps on evolving with the changing threat landscape worldwide,” he said.
“This achievement reconfirms Ithmaar Bank as a pioneer among all other Bahrain financial organizations who adhere to the PCI security standards,” said Shanthamurthy. “We believe that Ithmaar Bank will maintain its leadership in being the top-of-the-line secure payment infrastructure in Bahrain,” he said.

BAHRAINI FAMILY WINS LIFE CHANGING $250,000 THIMAAR PRIZE

21 May 2018

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 21 May 2018 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, presented US$250,000, the first Thimaar grand prize for the year 2018, to Nawal Yousif Abdulghani, a retired Bahraini national.
The prize was presented by Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Abdul Rahim at a ceremony held at the Bank’s headquarters in the Seef District which was attended by the winner’s husband on her behalf and members of the Bank’s management team.
“I am thrilled to have won the first Thimaar grand prize of the year, which is sure to change our lives. I will be looking to use it for some investment opportunities in the near future,” said Nawal Abdulghani. “My family and I have been banking with Ithmaar Bank since its inception because of its quick and reliable customer service. There is a branch close to where we live, which makes it very convenient to carry out all our banking transactions,” she said.
“On behalf of Ithmaar Bank, I would like to congratulate Nawal and her family, as well as all the other Thimaar winners of this month,” said Abdul Rahim. “The Thimaar savings account incentivises saving and investing for the future and we are truly honoured to be part of this journey with our customers,” he said.
“In line with the Bank’s customer-centric commitment to delivering a superior banking service, we are continuously improving our Thimaar savings account,” said Abdul Rahim. “This year, to encourage people to adopt a more responsible saving pattern, we have added a further incentive by offering additional cash prizes while continuing to offer an expected profit rate” he said.
In 2018, Thimaar offers its Thimaar account holders 4,015 prizes – the highest by any bank in Bahrain. Ithmaar Bank also increased the total prize purse to US$3,170,000, including three grand prizes of US$250,000 each, making it one of the largest to be won in the Kingdom.
Every BD30 maintained as an average monthly balance qualifies a customer to enter the draws. The more customers save, and the longer they maintain balances in multiples of BD30, the more opportunities they have to win.
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Ithmaar Holding and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ithmaar Bank, report first quarter profits

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 14 May 2018 – Ithmaar Holding B.S.C., a Bahrain-based financial institution, and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ithmaar Bank B.S.C. (closed), a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, each announced their financial results for the first quarter of 2018 with both reporting profits for the period.

The announcement by the Ithmaar Holding Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, who is also the Ithmaar Bank Chairman, follows the review and approval of both Board of Directors of the consolidated financial results for the three-month period ended 31 March 2018.

The Ithmaar Holding reported a net profit of US$4.81 million for the three-month period ended 31 March 2018, a decrease of 16.9 percent compared to a net profit of US$5.79 million for the same period in 2017. Net profit attributable to equity holders for the three-month period ended 31 March 2018 was US$1.66 million, an increase of 187.8 percent compared to the US$0.58 million net profit reported for the same period in 2017. Earning per share (EPS) increased to US cents 0.06 compared to 0.02 for the three-month period ended 31 March 2017.

“On behalf of the Ithmaar Holding Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that the financial results show that the unwavering focus on our core retail banking business continues to pay off,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Our total income for the three-month period ended 31 March 2018 increased to US$112.42 million, a 5.6 percent increase from the USS106.49 million reported for the same period last year, mainly due to income from investments. Consequently, our operating income for the three-month period ended 31 March 2018 increased to US$72.16 million, a 5.6 percent increase from the US$68.34 million reported for the same period last year ,” he said.

Ithmaar Holding Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, who is also the Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, said the results of both the company and the Bank were encouraging and reconfirm that efforts to turn the Group around are paying off.

“Ithmaar Holding’s total assets stood at US$8.29 billion as at 31 March 2018, compared to US$8.61 billion as at 31 December 2017, and remaining stable compared to US$8.30 billion as at 31 March 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “Total owners’ equity stood at US$233.48 million as at 31 March 2018, a 34 percent reduction compared to US$355.33 million as 31 December 2017, mainly due to early adoption of the new Financial Accounting Standard (FAS) “Impairment, credit losses and onerous commitments” that was issued by the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI),” he said.

“I am pleased, also, to report that Ithmaar Bank’s financial results show a net profit of BD2.03 million for the three-month period ended 31 March 2018, compared to a net profit of BD3.08  million for the same period in 2017. Net profit attributable to equity holders for the three-month period ended 31 March 2018 was BD0.832 million, compared to the BD1.14 million net profit reported for the same period in 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “Although core income continued to grow during the period, operating income was lower by 9.5 percent mainly because 2017 capital gains by the Bank’s subsidiary in Pakistan, Faysal Bank Limited, during the previous period,” he said.

“Ithmaar Bank’s total assets stood at BD3.11 billion as at 31 March 2018, compared to BD3.24 billion as at 31 December 2017 and are stable compared to BD3.11 billion as at 31 March 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “Meanwhile, despite market conditions, the equity of unrestricted investment account holders stood at BD1.063 billion as at 31 March 2018, increasing 6.4 percent compared to BD0.999 billion as at 31 March 2017 but are stable compared to BD1.064 as at 31 December 2017. Total owners’ equity stood at BD101.2 million as at 31 March 2018, a 34.6 percent reduction compared to BD154.6 million as 31 December 2017, mainly due to the FAS 30 impact of previous period recognized in equity,” he said.

ITHMAAR HOLDING AND ITHMAAR BANK REPORT FIRST QUARTER PROFITS

14 May 2018

Ithmaar Holding and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ithmaar Bank, report first quarter profits

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 14 May 2018 – Ithmaar Holding B.S.C., a Bahrain-based financial institution, and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ithmaar Bank B.S.C. (closed), a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, each announced their financial results for the first quarter of 2018 with both reporting profits for the period.
The announcement by the Ithmaar Holding Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, who is also the Ithmaar Bank Chairman, follows the review and approval of both Board of Directors of the consolidated financial results for the three-month period ended 31 March 2018.
The Ithmaar Holding reported a net profit of US$4.81 million for the three-month period ended 31 March 2018, a decrease of 16.9 percent compared to a net profit of US$5.79 million for the same period in 2017. Net profit attributable to equity holders for the three-month period ended 31 March 2018 was US$1.66 million, an increase of 187.8 percent compared to the US$0.58 million net profit reported for the same period in 2017. Earning per share (EPS) increased to US cents 0.06 compared to 0.02 for the three-month period ended 31 March 2017.
“On behalf of the Ithmaar Holding Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that the financial results show that the unwavering focus on our core retail banking business continues to pay off,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Our total income for the three-month period ended 31 March 2018 increased to US$112.42 million, a 5.6 percent increase from the USS106.49 million reported for the same period last year, mainly due to income from investments. Consequently, our operating income for the three-month period ended 31 March 2018 increased to US$72.16 million, a 5.6 percent increase from the US$68.34 million reported for the same period last year ,” he said.
Ithmaar Holding Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, who is also the Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, said the results of both the company and the Bank were encouraging and reconfirm that efforts to turn the Group around are paying off.
“Ithmaar Holding’s total assets stood at US$8.29 billion as at 31 March 2018, compared to US$8.61 billion as at 31 December 2017, and remaining stable compared to US$8.30 billion as at 31 March 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “Total owners’ equity stood at US$233.48 million as at 31 March 2018, a 34 percent reduction compared to US$355.33 million as 31 December 2017, mainly due to early adoption of the new Financial Accounting Standard (FAS) “Impairment, credit losses and onerous commitments” that was issued by the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI),” he said.
“I am pleased, also, to report that Ithmaar Bank’s financial results show a net profit of BD2.03 million for the three-month period ended 31 March 2018, compared to a net profit of BD3.08 million for the same period in 2017. Net profit attributable to equity holders for the three-month period ended 31 March 2018 was BD0.832 million, compared to the BD1.14 million net profit reported for the same period in 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “Although core income continued to grow during the period, operating income was lower by 9.5 percent mainly because 2017 capital gains by the Bank’s subsidiary in Pakistan, Faysal Bank Limited, during the previous period,” he said.
“Ithmaar Bank’s total assets stood at BD3.11 billion as at 31 March 2018, compared to BD3.24 billion as at 31 December 2017 and are stable compared to BD3.11 billion as at 31 March 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “Meanwhile, despite market conditions, the equity of unrestricted investment account holders stood at BD1.063 billion as at 31 March 2018, increasing 6.4 percent compared to BD0.999 billion as at 31 March 2017 but are stable compared to BD1.064 as at 31 December 2017. Total owners’ equity stood at BD101.2 million as at 31 March 2018, a 34.6 percent reduction compared to BD154.6 million as 31 December 2017, mainly due to the FAS 30 impact of previous period recognized in equity,” he said.
-ENDS-

ITHMAAR BANK PAKISTAN SUBSIDIARY REPORTS INCREASED PROFITS OF US$40.8 MILLION

08 Apr 2018

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 08 April 2018 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced today (ed note: 08/04/18) that its retail banking subsidiary in Pakistan, Faysal Bank Limited (FBL), Annual General Meeting approved 2017 results with profits of US$ 40.8 million. Ithmaar Bank owns 66.6 percent of FBL, which is listed on the Pakistan Stock Exchange and is mainly engaged in corporate, commercial, retail and consumer banking activities.
The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer and FBL Vice Chairman, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, follows the review and approval by the FBL Board of Directors of the financial results for the year ended 31 December 2017.
“I am pleased to announce that FBL registered a profit after tax of US$40.8 million (PKR 4.51 billion) during the year ended 31 December 2017, compared to a profit of US$38.9 million (PKR 4.30 billion) during the corresponding period in 2016,” said Abdul Rahim. “This performance is commendable as the Pakistan banking industry is witnessing a period of low interest rates which has affected banking spreads. The Bank’s performance is testimony to its ability to address the challenge by realigning its strategy,” he said.
“The Bank is now working to further build capacity in the key areas of Human Resources and Product development,” said Abdul Rahim. “It is also promoting Digital Banking as solution to providing secure, user-friendly banking services to customers. Meanwhile, the Bank continues to play an important role in contributing to the economic growth of the country by extending loans to all segment of industry including large corporates, Small and Medium Enterprises, and individual customers,” he said.
“In 2017, FBL added 50 new branches to its retail banking network, and plans further expansion of its branch network in 2018 as it continues to further consolidate its position in the financial sector,” said Abdul Rahim. “The Bank’s footprint now spreads over to 124 cities with 404 branches across country. The Bank’s deposits have reached US$3.4 billion and assets have crossed the US$4.4 billion mark with a capital base of more than US$355 million,” he said.
FBL’s financial performance has earned the Bank “AA” and “A1+” ratings for the long and short terms respectively, with stable outlook from JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Limited and Pakistan Credit Rating Agency Limited.
-ENDS-

Ithmaar Holding hosts annual shareholder meeting

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 26 March 2018 – Ithmaar Holding B.S.C. (formerly Ithmaar Bank BSC) [“Ithmaar”] [“the Group”] hosted today (ed note: 26/03/18) its Annual General Meeting (AGM) and the consolidated financial statements for 2017 were approved.
The meeting was chaired by Ithmaar Chairman, His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, and attended by members of the Ithmaar Board of Directors, its executive management team and its Sharia Supervisory Board, as well as representatives from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, the Bahrain Bourse, and statutory auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Speaking to shareholders, HRH Prince Amr said Ithmaar Holding’s 2017 achievements are paving the way for the Group’s continued transformation, and set the stage for a return to sustainable profitability.
“We are pleased to announce that, with the new group structure fully implemented at the start of 2017, Ithmaar Holding’s efforts during the year were directed at taking important steps towards significantly transforming operations in line with the strategic decisions taken by shareholders in 2016,” said HRH Prince Amr. “One important initiative was the successful listing of Ithmaar Holding shares on the Dubai Financial Market on 29 January 2018. This additional listing, which added a new key market alongside our listing on the Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait, opens trading on Ithmaar Holding’s shares to new, exciting markets. This, in turn, creates new investment opportunities for investors in the GCC markets. Ithmaar Holding is traded, on all three stock exchanges, under the ticker ITHMR,” he said.
“Ithmaar Holding’s two wholly-owned subsidiaries, Ithmaar Bank and IB Capital, and their various subsidiaries, associates and other investments, also took important steps throughout 2017 to support the Group’s transformation,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Ithmaar Bank, for example, embarked on multiple strategic initiatives designed to bring about transformational change to the Bank. The initiatives, some of which are in the process of implementation, include upgrading the core banking system and enhancing the e-Banking offering to make the Bank more customer centric as it embarks on its next growth phase, as well as introducing a new consolidation, budgeting and planning solution. A new application has been implemented to facilitate compliance with the new FAS 30 accounting and regulatory requirements,” he said.
Ithmaar Holding Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said the Group is taking important steps in the right direction, including a greater focus on its core retail banking business. This has been evident in the positive results achieved by Ithmaar Bank during 2017.
“In 2017, Ithmaar Bank’s efforts to become closer to its customers earned the Bank local, regional and international awards as recognition both for its success as an Islamic retail bank
and, perhaps more importantly, for its role in, and support for, the community,” said Abdul Rahim. “Meanwhile, Ithmaar Bank’s flagship subsidiary, Faysal Bank Limited, already one of the most prominent retail banks in Pakistan, continued its remarkable growth in 2017, adding 50 new branches throughout the year to bring the total number to more than 400 branches,” he said.
HRH Prince Amr and Abdul Rahim both stressed that the Group’s 2017 achievements would not have been possible without the continued support of shareholders and the guidance of regulators.
“We take this opportunity to thank the Board and all our shareholders, as well as the CBB, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, the Bahrain Bourse, Boursa Kuwait and the Dubai Financial Market,” they said.
-ENDS-

ITHMAAR HOLDING HOSTS ANNUAL SHAREHOLDER MEETING

26 Mar 2018

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 26 March 2018 – Ithmaar Holding B.S.C. (formerly Ithmaar Bank BSC) [“Ithmaar”] [“the Group”] hosted today (ed note: 26/03/18) its Annual General Meeting (AGM) and the consolidated financial statements for 2017 were approved.
The meeting was chaired by Ithmaar Chairman, His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, and attended by members of the Ithmaar Board of Directors, its executive management team and its Sharia Supervisory Board, as well as representatives from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, the Bahrain Bourse, and statutory auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Speaking to shareholders, HRH Prince Amr said Ithmaar Holding’s 2017 achievements are paving the way for the Group’s continued transformation, and set the stage for a return to sustainable profitability.
“We are pleased to announce that, with the new group structure fully implemented at the start of 2017, Ithmaar Holding’s efforts during the year were directed at taking important steps towards significantly transforming operations in line with the strategic decisions taken by shareholders in 2016,” said HRH Prince Amr. “One important initiative was the successful listing of Ithmaar Holding shares on the Dubai Financial Market on 29 January 2018. This additional listing, which added a new key market alongside our listing on the Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait, opens trading on Ithmaar Holding’s shares to new, exciting markets. This, in turn, creates new investment opportunities for investors in the GCC markets. Ithmaar Holding is traded, on all three stock exchanges, under the ticker ITHMR,” he said.
“Ithmaar Holding’s two wholly-owned subsidiaries, Ithmaar Bank and IB Capital, and their various subsidiaries, associates and other investments, also took important steps throughout 2017 to support the Group’s transformation,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Ithmaar Bank, for example, embarked on multiple strategic initiatives designed to bring about transformational change to the Bank. The initiatives, some of which are in the process of implementation, include upgrading the core banking system and enhancing the e-Banking offering to make the Bank more customer centric as it embarks on its next growth phase, as well as introducing a new consolidation, budgeting and planning solution. A new application has been implemented to facilitate compliance with the new FAS 30 accounting and regulatory requirements,” he said.
Ithmaar Holding Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said the Group is taking important steps in the right direction, including a greater focus on its core retail banking business. This has been evident in the positive results achieved by Ithmaar Bank during 2017.
“In 2017, Ithmaar Bank’s efforts to become closer to its customers earned the Bank local, regional and international awards as recognition both for its success as an Islamic retail bank
and, perhaps more importantly, for its role in, and support for, the community,” said Abdul Rahim. “Meanwhile, Ithmaar Bank’s flagship subsidiary, Faysal Bank Limited, already one of the most prominent retail banks in Pakistan, continued its remarkable growth in 2017, adding 50 new branches throughout the year to bring the total number to more than 400 branches,” he said.
HRH Prince Amr and Abdul Rahim both stressed that the Group’s 2017 achievements would not have been possible without the continued support of shareholders and the guidance of regulators.
“We take this opportunity to thank the Board and all our shareholders, as well as the CBB, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, the Bahrain Bourse, Boursa Kuwait and the Dubai Financial Market,” they said.
-ENDS-

ITHMAAR BANK LAUNCHES ITS NEW STATE-OF-ART EBANKING SERVICE

13 May 2018

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 13 May 2018 – As part of its digital transformation strategy, Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail Bank, launched its new state-of-the-art eBanking service today (ed note: 13/05/18), which offers customers a faster, friendlier and more secure online banking experience.
In line with the Bank’s customer-centric approach and commitment to continuously enhance its’ customer experience, the revamped Ithmaar Bank eBanking services offering includes new services and innovative solutions that are now available entirely online.
The user-friendly new eBanking service from Veripark provides Ithmaar Bank customers with a dynamic digital platform, which is accessible directly from tablets, mobile phones and computers at any time and from anywhere in the world. It also allows existing customers to seamlessly execute many of their regular banking transactions and services without ever having to visit a branch. They can, for example, immediately and in real-time, open various types of accounts, order new cheque books, issue eCards or transfer funds at the click of a button or the tap of a touchscreen. They can also apply for financing or credit cards or even supplementary credit cards for family members, pay multiple bills and manage their personal budgets. As an additional feature, Ithmaar Bank has also introduced the feature of secure image for login to the new eBanking service to provide customers with additional cyber security.
“Our new eBanking services brings the most sophisticated banking services to our customers’ fingertips,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “It is a reflection of our commitment to listen closely to our customers’ evolving digital requirements and work hard to ensure that we meet and exceed their expectations. This commitment, part of our customer-centric philosophy, drives our efforts to continuously enhance and upgrade our cutting-edge products and services to become the Islamic retail bank of choice in the Kingdom,” he said.
“This new service is launched as part of the Bank’s digital transformation initiative that will put us on par with some of the best in the world,” said Abdul Rahim. “This is complemented by the recently launched state of the art queuing system accessible from mobile devices and the upgrade of the Bank’s Core Banking System from legacy Oracle FLEXCUBE to the new FLEXCUBE, providing a strong foundation for future business growth, enabling automation of several processes for back office and risk, thereby improving operational control, efficiency and doing away with adhoc manual overheads. We have also implemented the latest FLEXCUBE origination for end-to-end tracking of finance from sales desk application for all our finance products. Oracle Hyperion solution has been implemented for consolidation, budgeting and planning,” he said.
“This strategic, technology-driven revamp sets the stage for Ithmaar Bank’s continued growth,” said Abdul Rahim. “Moving forward, it will allow us to respond faster and more efficiently to customer requirements, particularly in terms of our ability to quickly launch convenient and engaging new products and services,” he said.
“KPMG was engaged for the Project Management Office of this year long digital transformation initiative. This initiative also proved to be a great team-building exercise, bringing the entire bank together, with employees interacting amongst themselves towards a common goal,” said Abdul Rahim. “This has helped enhance our sense of togetherness and further reinforced the Ithmaar Bank family spirit,” he said.
“It has also been a valuable learning experience for employees who were earlier exclusively involved in their specific roles and responsibilities. By working on a diverse range of innovative new state-of-art initiatives, they are now exposed to different functions,” said Abdul Rahim. “This has led to a better overall understanding of our business by our employees which, in turn, has led to a significant improvement in their skillsets,” he said.
-Ends –

ITHMAAR BANK REPORTS 2017 PROFITS

27 Feb 2018

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 27 February 2018 – Ithmaar Bank B.S.C. (c) [“Ithmaar Bank”] [“the Bank”], a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ithmaar Holding B.S.C, reported today (ed note: 27/02/18) a net profit of BHD6.24 million for the period ended 31 December 2017. The net profit attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the period ended 31 December 2017 was BHD1.58 million.
The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, follows the review and approval, by the Board of Directors, of the Bank’s consolidated financial results for 2017. These are the Bank’s first period-end financial results since the successful completion of a planned reorganisation and the formal commencement of the new group structure in January 2017 and cover the period from date of incorporation of 12 May 2016 to 31 December 2017.As part of reorganization of erstwhile Ithmaar Bank B.S.C (now Ithmaar Holding B.S.C.), the identified assets & liabilities were transferred to the Bank on 2 January 2017.
“On behalf of the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that the Bank reported profits throughout 2017, its first period as part of the new group structure,” said HRH Prince Amr. “In the three-month period ended 31 December 2017, Ithmaar Bank reported a net profit of BHD0.45 million, with the net loss attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the period being BHD0.15 million,” he said.
“Ithmaar Bank’s 2017 financial results show continued profits and stable income for the period,” said HRH Prince Amr. “During the period, the Bank recorded an Operating Income of BHD89.2 million, including BHD23.3 million for the three-month period ended 31 December 2017. The Bank recorded a total income before provisions for impairment and overseas taxation for the period ended 31 December 2017, of BHD19.0 million, including BHD3.7 million for the three-month period ended 31 December 2017,” he said.
“We take this opportunity to express our thanks and gratitude to our customers and shareholders for their trust and confidence, to the Central Bank of Bahrain and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism for their continued guidance and support and to our employees for their dedications and efforts” said HRH Prince Amr.
Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said the Bank’s continued profitability is testimony to the Bank’s growing success as an Islamic retail bank.
“The focus on our core retail banking business is clearly beginning to pay off, and I am pleased to note that this is being reflected in the Bank’s encouraging financial results in 2017,” said Abdul Rahim. “The results show that the Bank’s total assets grew by 4.4 percent over the past nine months to stand at BHD3.24 billion as at 31 December 2017, up from BHD3.11 billion as at 31 March 2017 (the first reviewed financials released for Ithmaar Bank after the reorganization). Murabaha and other financing grew by 5.3 percent during the same period to stand at BHD2.08 billion as at 31 December 2017, up from BHD1.97 billion as at 31 March 2017. Equity of unrestricted investment accountholders grew by 6.5 percent during the same period to stand at BHD1.06 billion as at 31 December 2017, up from BHD1.00 billion as at 31 March 2017, and Customer current accounts grew by 12.2 percent during the same period to stand at BHD676.9 million as at 31 December 2017, up from BHD603.2 million as at 31 March 2017,” he said.
“The Bank’s financial results for 2017 reflect the tremendous achievements made during the period, and are a result of the commitment, dedication and expertise of our people as well as the confidence of our customers in the Bank,” said Abdul Rahim. “The remarkable 2017 achievements also set the stage for the Bank’s continuous growth, further enhancements and improved profitability,” he said.
“In 2017, the Bank has undertaken several initiatives to upgrade its IT infrastructure and systems to support business growth, improve operational efficiency and enhance customer experience and this includes major project of upgrading its core banking system. The project, which is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2018, is already bringing about transformational change as employees from across the Bank work together with unprecedented levels of interaction,” said Abdul Rahim. “When completed, the upgrade will provide a strong foundation to support future business growth with the flexibility of quickly launching new products and services,” he said.
“Throughout the period, the Bank remained focused on realising its commitment to becoming one of the region’s premier Islamic retail bank by growing ever closer to our customers and by playing a real and meaningful role in the community,” said Abdul Rahim. “This focus was not gone unnoticed and, in 2017, the Bank earned local, regional and international praise and recognition both for its success as an Islamic retail bank and, perhaps more importantly, for its role in, and support for, the community,” he said.
In December 2017, Ithmaar Bank was presented the Arab Eagle Award for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by the Tatweej Academy in recognition of its continuous efforts in support of the community. Ithmaar Bank was nominated by the Union of Arab Bank based on the prestigious international award it received in 2016 at the World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) in recognition of its CSR and Financial Disclosure. Earlier, in July, Ithmaar Bank was honoured at a regional conference for its continuous support of the community and presented with the CSR Award for an Islamic Bank 2017 in recognition of its various initiatives. The award was presented at the CSR Conference and Award for Islamic Banks which was held in Bahrain and attended by senior bankers, CSR experts and representatives of Non-Governmental Organisations as well as government and banking and finance officials from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan, and the Republic of Djibouti. In 2017, Ithmaar Bank was also named Best Islamic Retail Bank in Bahrain and honoured at a ceremony attended by senior bankers from across the Middle East. Ithmaar Bank was presented the prestigious award following a comprehensive selection and review process conducted by a committee of high-level economists and banking professionals, as well the research department of the Union of Arab Banks and the World Union of Arab Bankers. Ithmaar Bank also won two prestigious awards – Best Innovation in Retail Banking Bahrain 2017, and Best Islamic Bank Bahrain 2017 – from the U.K. based “International Banker” magazine. The awards were established to identify the leading organisations within the banking industry that represent the benchmarks of achievement, corporate governance, technological development and customer service that help to drive economic growth in the countries in which they operate. The Banking Awards are open to all banking institutions regardless of size, market cap or number of employees, and the fact Ithmaar Bank has won these award categories is testimony to the significance of its achievements.
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Ithmaar Holding reports 2017 financial results

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 26 February 2018 – Ithmaar Holding B.S.C. (formerly Ithmaar Bank BSC) [“Ithmaar”] [“the Group”] reported today (ed note: 26/02/18) a net loss of US$72.40 million for the year ended 31 December 2017, compared to a net profit of US$13.80 million reported for 2016. Net loss attributable to equity holders for the year ended 31 December 2017 was US$84.71 million, compared to a net profit US$3.28 million reported for 2016.

The 2017 financial results included a net loss of US$56.15 million for the three-month period ended 31 December 2017, compared to a net loss of US$2.93 million for the same period in 2016. Net loss attributable to equity holders for the three-month period ended 31 December 2017 was US$57.67 million, compared to the US$3.23 million net loss reported for the same period in 2016.

The announcement, by Ithmaar Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, follows the review and approval, by the Board of Directors, of Ithmaar’s consolidated financial results for the year ended 31 December 2017.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that Ithmaar’s financial results show that the continued focus on our core retail banking business is paying off, even if the overall results are not immediately obvious as these have been impacted by non-core business,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Although our total income, at US$392.46 million for the year ended 31 December 2017, decreased by five percent from the total income of US$413.17 million reported for the year ended December 31 December 2016, mainly due to unrealized foreign exchange losses as well as assets being classified as Held For Sale, our income from core retail banking business grew by 72.3 percent, with the Group’s share of income from unrestricted investment accounts as a Mudarib, increasing to US$76.86 million for the year ended 31 December 2017, compared to US$44.60 million for 2016,” he said.

“During the year ended 31 December 2017, Ithmaar Group initiated an active programme to sell specific investments. Accordingly, these investments were consequently presented as assets classified as Held For Sale in the consolidated statement of financial position,” said HRH Prince Amr.

“I take this opportunity to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to our shareholders for their confidence, to the Central Bank of Bahrain for their continuous guidance and support, and to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Bahrain Bourse, Boursa Kuwait and Dubai Financial Market for their continuous support,” said HRH Prince Amr.

Ithmaar Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said the results demonstrate that the unwavering focus on core retail banking business is delivering tangible results.

“I am pleased to report that the balance sheet, for example, is stable and continues to grow,” said Abdul Rahim. “Total assets stood at US$8.61 billion as at 31 December 2017, a 3.2 percent increase compared to US$8.34 billion as at 31 December 2016,” he said.

“Murabaha and other financings also increased to US$4.29 billion as at 31 December 2017, a 9.2 percent increase compared to US$3.93 billion as at 31 December 2016,” said Abdul Rahim. “The equity of unrestricted investment accountholders, at US$2.83 billion as at 31 December 2017, also increased by 2.1 percent compared to US$2.77 billion as at 31 December 2016, which reflects customers’ confidence in Ithmaar,” he said.

“On 29 January 2018, Ithmaar was listed on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), adding a new key market alongside our current listing on the Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait,” said Abdul Rahim. “The additional listing opens trading on Ithmaar Holding’s shares to new, exciting markets. This, in turn, will create new investment opportunities for investors in the GCC markets,” he said.

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DFM welcomes the listing of Bahrain’s Ithmaar Holding

  • HE/ Essa Kazim: “The fifth of its kind dual listing underlines the strong ties between the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain”
  • Ithmaar Holding: “The DFM listing, alongside Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait, opens trading on Ithmaar Holding’s shares to a new and exciting market”

 Dubai, 29 January 2018: Dubai Financial Market (DFM) today announced the listing of Bahrain’s Ithmaar Holding B.S.C. (Ithmaar), one of the leading investment institutions in the Kingdom of Bahrain, as trading commenced on the bank’s shares under the trading symbol (ITHMR), which appears on DFM screens, trading system and publications within the Banking Sector.

This listing further strengthens the prominent position of DFM as the most favored listing venue for leading local and regional companies and lifts the total number of listed companies to 66. It also lifts number of Dual listings to 16 including five Bahraini companies.

Ithmaar Holding Board Member, Abdulelah Ebrahim Al-Qassimi, rang the market-opening bell in the presence of His Excellency Essa Kazim, Chairman of DFM and senior representatives from both sides.

Commenting on this development, H.E. Essa Kazim said: “We are delighted to welcome the listing of Ithmaar Holding on DFM. This is the fifth of its kind dual listing from Bahrain, which underlines the strong ties between the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain and represents a strong addition to the Banking sector on our market, providing investors with new investment opportunities. The listing also reinforces DFM’s position as the market of choice for companies seeking Dual listing in a clear indication on businesses’ high level of confidence in our exchange due its world-class infrastructure, enormous and diversified investor base and innovative issuer services. These factors further strengthened DFM’s leading position as most favoured listing venue for companies from the UAE and across the region and fortifies Dubai’s position as an international financial hub. DFM is constantly endeavours to diversify the range of investment opportunities offered to its enormous investor base by encouraging and partnering with companies from various sectors across the region to benefit from listing on the region’s leading stock exchange.”

Ithmaar Holding Board Member, Abdulelah Ebrahim Al-Qassimi, said: “We are pleased with listing on the DFM, adding a new key market alongside our current listing on the Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait. The listing is testimony to the important role that Dubai, alongside the Kingdom of Bahrain, plays as a key banking and financial services hub in the region with its reputation for excellence”.

Ahmed Abdul Rahim, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Ithmaar Holding, said: “Ithmaar Holding is a widely diversified financial services company that is licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) DFM listing adds further diversity for our shareholders and opens trading on Ithmaar Holding’s shares to a new and exciting market, and will create new investment opportunities for investors in the GCC markets. The listing concludes preparation under the guidance of the CBB, the Bahrain Bourse, the United Arab Emirate’s Securities and Commodities Authority, and the DFM, and we are deeply grateful for the advice and support we received.”

Ithmaar Holding owns two wholly-owned subsidiaries: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, and IB Capital, an investment subsidiary. Ithmaar Bank and IB Capital are both licensed and regulated by the CBB. Ithmaar Bank owns 66.6 percent of Faysal Bank Limited (FBL), a retail banking subsidiary in Pakistan that is listed on the Pakistan Stock Exchange and is mainly engaged in corporate, commercial, retail and consumer banking activities.

ITHMAAR BANK URGES CUSTOMERS TO ADOPT BENEFITPAY APP

20 Jan 2018

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 20 January 2018 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail Bank, said the Kingdom has taken a major leap towards transforming itself into a cashless society with the introduction of the National Electronic Wallet Payment System, BenefitPay, and urged its customers to try the easy, secure and revolutionary alternative to cash.
BenefitPay, a joint initiative of the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) and the Benefit Company (Benefit), enables purchases via smart phones through a special application. The application enables customers to pay using registered debit cards, the features to be made available shortly include payment using credit cards, prepaid cards and bank accounts. The first of its kind solution, which was launched in July, is the latest milestone in the CBB-led charge to transform Bahrain into a cashless society with the involvement and support of local banks and financial institutions.
“Ithmaar Bank has long played a pioneering role in the establishment and subsequent development of Islamic banking in the region, and we are pleased to work together with the CBB, as well as banks and other financial institutions like Benefit, to reinforce Bahrain’s position as a key regional banking and finance hub,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “The BenefitPay solution is a perfect example of this very type of cooperation, and the pronounced effect it can have on our industry,” he said.
BenefitPay streamlines payments by allowing consumers and merchants to eliminate both cash and cards and instead use a smartphone application to pay for purchase electronically, securely, and immediately. BenefitPay is currently available at select stores and the participating merchant list is quickly growing. It enhances convenience for both the buyer and the seller.
“This revolutionary technology could go long way towards transforming Bahrain into an efficient, cashless economy,” said Abdul Rahim. “It is both safe and easy to use, and could well redefine the way we shop and even how we interact with cash. To fully realize this great potential however, customers will need to start using the app for themselves,” he said.
Ithmaar Bank, which operates one of the largest retail banking networks in Bahrain, has long played a key role in promoting the CBB-led vision for a cashless society. In January, for example, Ithmaar Bank formally launched Bahrain’s first ever mobile payment solution, EasyPay, in partnership with Batelco and Arab Financial Services. The solution, which was first announced in 2016, uses secure Near Field Communication (NFC) tags to eliminate the need for cash or cards by allowing customers to shop simply by tapping their mobile phones at Point of Sale (POS) machines.
In 2015, in line with CBB Directives, Ithmaar Bank introduced the Electronic Funds Transfer System (EFTS), a country-wide system that allows customers to move funds, electronically, between banks in Bahrain. The pioneering system, which consists of the Fawri, Fawri+ and Fawateer solutions, allows customers to make near real-time fund transfers easily and for free
or at a very low cost, as well as pay their telecom, utility and other bills. In 2015, Ithmaar Bank also announced that it is providing its award-winning card-less cash solution, MobiCash, to customers without a service charge. MobiCash, which was launched in 2012, is Bahrain’s first, and still only, card-less cash withdrawal system and allows customers access to Ithmaar Bank Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) using their mobile phones or computers.
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ITHMAAR BANK OFFERS OVER 4,000 THIMAAR ACCOUNT PRIZES – THE HIGHEST BY ANY BANK IN BAHRAIN

13 Jan 2018

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 13 January 2018: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, re-launched its Thimaar savings account for a new year, offering its Thimaar account holders 4,015 prizes – the highest by any bank in Bahrain. Ithmaar Bank also increased the total prize purse to US$3,170,000, including three grand prizes of US$250,000 each, making it one of the largest to be won in the Kingdom – all for a BD30 deposit.
“Ithmaar Bank is committed to becoming the Islamic retail bank of choice,” said Ithmaar Bank Deputy Chief Executive Officer – Banking Group, Abdulhakeem Al Mutawa. “In line with that commitment, we are constantly working to enhance our customers’ Islamic banking experience,” he said.
“To do so, we work to continuously improve our products and services while growing closer to customers and, as result, our Thimaar offering is revised and improved every year,” said Al Mutawa. “We noticed increased customer interest in Thimaar savings with corresponding increase in business and decided the best way of rewarding these loyal customers is by increasing the number of prizes thereby increasing their chances to win – and we structured Thimaar accordingly, then worked to further enhance our offerings every year,” he said.
“The Thimaar account was designed to encourage people to adopt a more responsible saving pattern by offering cash prizes, along with an expected profit rate, as an additional incentive to save and invest for their future,” said Al Mutawa. “I am delighted to note that, over the years, our Thimaar account has been to be able to touch and change the lives of so many of our customers,” he said.
In 2018, Thimaar account will offer a total of US$3,170,000 in prizes- including US$1,320,000 monthly prizes, US$750,000 grand prizes that includes US$250,000 for each winner, US$600,000 Eid prizes, US$300,000 Thimaar junior and US$200,000 national day prizes- to a total of 4,015 winners.
Every BD30 maintained as an average monthly balance qualifies a customer to enter the draws. The more customers save, and the longer they maintain balances in multiples of BD30, the more opportunities they have to win.

BAHRAINI FAMILY WINS US$100,000 THIMAAR PRIZE

11 Jan 2018

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 11 January 2018 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, presented a US$100,000 cash prize to Yusuf Abdulla Mohamed Al-Mahmood, a retired Bahraini who won the Thimaar semi-annual grand prize.
The prize was presented by Ithmaar Bank Deputy Chief Executive Officer – Banking Group, Abdulhakeem Al Mutawa, at a ceremony held at the Bank’s headquarters in Seef district and attended by the winner, his son and members of the Ithmaar Bank management team.
“My family and I are very happy to win the second grand prize of Thimaar,” said Al-Mahmood. “I have been banking at Ithmaar for many years and continue to do so because of the fast, friendly service. I have also been saving with Thimaar for a long time, mainly because of the large number of prizes offered every year,” said. “This prize money comes at the perfect time for me, and will help better invest for the future,” said Al-Mahmood. “I am glad that, finally, my wish for a top prize came true this year,” he said.
“Congratulations to Yusuf and his family, as well as all the other Thimaar winners of this month,” said Al Mutawa. “We work hard to improve the Thimaar savings account in line with the Bank’s commitment to listening closely to its customers’ requirements and actively responding to their feedback. We are pleased to be able to bring so much joy and happiness to so many families in Bahrain, and to help improve the lives of our customers,” he said.
In 2017, Thimaar offered a total of US$3,055,000 in prizes – including US$1,020,000 monthly prizes, US$900,000 loyalty prizes, US$600,000 Eid prizes, US$200,000 semi-annual prizes, US$210,000 Junior prizes and US$125,000 national day prizes – to a total of 4,044 winners, including 840 Junior winners.
Every BD30 maintained as an average monthly balance qualifies a customer to enter the draws. The more customers save, and the longer they maintain balances in multiples of BD30, the more opportunities they have to win.
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CBB approves Ithmaar’s Dubai listing

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 10 January 2018 –Ithmaar Holding B.S.C. (Ithmaar) received on Monday (ed note: 08/01/18) final approval from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) to list on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM). The CBB’s approval follows an earlier announcement that the United Arab Emirate’s Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) had approved the listing.

Ithmaar, which is licensed and regulated by the CBB and is currently listed on the Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait under the ticker [ITHMR], had announced plans in 2017 to list on additional stock exchange in the region.

The plans, which were presented by an Ithmaar shareholder as an additional agenda item at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in March 2017, were approved by the shareholders who welcomed the initiative.

Ithmaar welcomed the CBB’s final approval, and said it is working on completing remaining requirements for the DFM listing and will announce a listing date in due course.

“We are pleased to announce that all required approvals are in place, and we are now finalising details with a view to complete the listing as soon as possible,” said Ithmaar Group Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “We are deeply grateful to the CBB, SCA and DFM for their guidance and support over the past year, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with our regulators and other relevant authorities to further enhance shareholder value and contribute to our region’s economic growth,” he said.

Abdul Rahim had earlier stressed that the additional listing will open trading on Ithmaar’s shares to new, exciting markets, and said that this, in turn, will create new investment opportunities for investors in the GCC markets.

Ithmaar owns two wholly-owned subsidiaries: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, and IB Capital, an investment subsidiary. Ithmaar Bank and IB Capital are both licensed and regulated by the CBB. Ithmaar Bank owns 66.6 percent of Faysal Bank Limited (FBL), a retail banking subsidiary in Pakistan that is listed on the Pakistan Stock Exchange and is mainly engaged in corporate, commercial, retail and consumer banking activities.

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CBB APPROVES ITHMAAR’S DUBAI LISTING

10 Jan 2018

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 10 January 2018 –Ithmaar Holding B.S.C. (Ithmaar) received on Monday (ed note: 08/01/18) final approval from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) to list on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM). The CBB’s approval follows an earlier announcement that the United Arab Emirate’s Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) had approved the listing.
Ithmaar, which is licensed and regulated by the CBB and is currently listed on the Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait under the ticker [ITHMR], had announced plans in 2017 to list on additional stock exchange in the region.
The plans, which were presented by an Ithmaar shareholder as an additional agenda item at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in March 2017, were approved by the shareholders who welcomed the initiative.
Ithmaar welcomed the CBB’s final approval, and said it is working on completing remaining requirements for the DFM listing and will announce a listing date in due course.
“We are pleased to announce that all required approvals are in place, and we are now finalising details with a view to complete the listing as soon as possible,” said Ithmaar Group Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “We are deeply grateful to the CBB, SCA and DFM for their guidance and support over the past year, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with our regulators and other relevant authorities to further enhance shareholder value and contribute to our region’s economic growth,” he said.
Abdul Rahim had earlier stressed that the additional listing will open trading on Ithmaar’s shares to new, exciting markets, and said that this, in turn, will create new investment opportunities for investors in the GCC markets.
Ithmaar owns two wholly-owned subsidiaries: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, and IB Capital, an investment subsidiary. Ithmaar Bank and IB Capital are both licensed and regulated by the CBB. Ithmaar Bank owns 66.6 percent of Faysal Bank Limited (FBL), a retail banking subsidiary in Pakistan that is listed on the Pakistan Stock Exchange and is mainly engaged in corporate, commercial, retail and consumer banking activities.
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ITHMAAR BANK QUEUING APP SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCES, AIMS TO ELIMINATE CUSTOMER WAITING TIME

07 Jan 2018

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 7 January 2018 – Customers of Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, can now plan visits to the Bank’s branches in advance, significantly reducing and potentially even eliminating waiting time altogether. The announcement follows the successful launch of the Ithmaar eQ app, the Bank’s electronic queuing app.
The Ithmaar eQ app, a smart phone application available for free download on both the App Store for iPhones and Google Play for Androids, allows Ithmaar Bank customers to view real time information on all branches, including how far away and how busy each is. The Ithmaar eQ app allows customers to directly book appointments or issue virtual eTickets for the nearest or most convenient branch, and notifies customers when their turn approaches. The app provides directions to each branch, as well as their specific timings.
Ithmaar Bank operates one of the largest retail banking networks in Bahrain with 16 branches and 44 ATMs in strategic locations around the Kingdom.
“Ithmaar Bank has played a pioneering role in the establishment and subsequent development of Islamic banking in the region,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “It is a role we take great pride in, and we remain as committed as ever to staying abreast with the latest technology,” he said.
“In particular, we remain committed to continuously enhancing our customers’ Islamic banking experience by deploying the latest, most efficient offerings,” said Abdul Rahim. “We listen closely and carefully to our customers, and we work to respond quickly and efficiently to meet or exceed their expectations,” he said.
“The launch of the eQ app, after an extensive period of detailed, exhaustive testing, is an example of this very commitment,” said Abdul Rahim. “The launch marks a significant milestone in our long history of innovation and we are pleased to be able to continue to make banking easier, more accessible and more convenient for our customers,” he said.
Recently, Ithmaar Bank announced the launch of a prestigious new Sharia-compliant contactless credit card with Mastercard, a leading technology company in the global payments industry. The pioneering new Ithmaar Bank World credit card is Bahrain’s first contactless offering.
Earlier, in 2017, Ithmaar Bank formally launched Bahrain’s first ever mobile payment solution, EasyPay, in partnership with Batelco and Arab Financial Services. The solution, which was first announced in 2016, uses secure Near Field Communication (NFC) tags to eliminate the need for cash or cards by allowing customers to shop simply by tapping their mobile phones at Point of Sale (POS) machines. Earlier, in 2015, Ithmaar Bank announced that it is providing its award-winning card-less cash solution, MobiCash, to customers without a service charge. MobiCash, which was launched in 2012, is Bahrain’s first, and still only, card-less cash withdrawal system and allows customers access to Ithmaar Bank ATMs using their mobile phones or computers.

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SPECIALISED TRAINING FOR ITHMAAR GROUP BOARD OF DIRECTORS

02 Jan 2018

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 2 January 2018 – Ithmaar Group, which includes Ithmaar Holding and its two wholly-owned subsidiaries, Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail Bank, and IB Capital, a Bahrain-based Islamic Investment firm, commissioned the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF) to deliver an interactive training course for members of its Board of Directors.
The course was delivered in two parts: the first part, focused on IFRS9 regulations, anti-money laundering (AML) and compliance issues; while the second part, which was delivered by Mirza Baig, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of CTM360, a cyber-threat management company, focused on cyber security and the latest Information Technology (IT) trends.
“This training course, which was designed specifically for members of our Board of Directors, included diverse range of topics which, together, aim to further reinforce their understanding of IFRS9 regulations, AML and compliance issues,” said Ithmaar Group Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “The second part of the course focused on cyber security and the latest IT trends in banking, as well as on the various steps that can be taken to help protect online services. Cyber security and IT are both of growing importance as Bahrain, along with the global banking and finance industry, continues to further develop its online delivery channels,” he said.
“Such training courses, at all levels within the group, significantly contribute to our growth, as well as to improving our performance,” Abdul Rahim said. “To maintain our competitive advantage, we must keep up with developments within the banking industry and the subsequent change in market requirements,” he said.
“Ithmaar has long recognised that continuing human capital development is an important component in supporting the Group’s successful journey,” said Abdul Rahim. “Our efforts to strengthening the capabilities of our Board of Directors and all Group’s members will contribute to our growth and help ensure continued improvements in our performance,” he said.

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Ithmaar in process of completing Dubai listing

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 25 December 2017 –Ithmaar Holding B.S.C. (Ithmaar) received on Thursday (ed note: 14/12/17) approval from the United Arab Emirate’s Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) to list on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM).

Ithmaar, which is licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) and is currently listed on the Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait, said the SCA’s approval marks an important milestone in its plans to list on additional stock exchange in the region. The plan, which was presented by an Ithmaar shareholder as an additional agenda item at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in March 2017, was approved by the shareholders who welcomed the initiative. The listing requirements are subject to completion of remaining requirements of the DFM and subject to CBB’s final approval.

“We are pleased to note the SCA’s approval on plans to list at the DFM,” said Ithmaar Group Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “We are continuing to work closely with the CBB as well as the relevant authorities in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and we hope to have final approval to proceed with the additional listing as soon possible,” he said.

“The additional listing will open trading on Ithmaar’s shares to new, exciting markets,” said Abdul Rahim. “This, in turn, will create new investment opportunities for investors and Ithmaar shareholders in the GCC markets,” he said.

Ithmaar owns two wholly-owned subsidiaries: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, and IB Capital, an investment subsidiary. Ithmaar Bank and IB Capital are both licensed and regulated by the CBB. Ithmaar Bank owns 66.6 percent of Faysal Bank Limited (FBL), a retail banking subsidiary in Pakistan that is listed on the Pakistan Stock Exchange and is mainly engaged in corporate, commercial, retail and consumer banking activities.

ITHMAAR IN PROCESS OF COMPLETING DUBAI LISTING

25 Dec 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 25 December 2017 –Ithmaar Holding B.S.C. (Ithmaar) received on Thursday (ed note: 14/12/17) approval from the United Arab Emirate’s Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) to list on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM).
Ithmaar, which is licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) and is currently listed on the Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait, said the SCA’s approval marks an important milestone in its plans to list on additional stock exchange in the region. The plan, which was presented by an Ithmaar shareholder as an additional agenda item at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in March 2017, was approved by the shareholders who welcomed the initiative. The listing requirements are subject to completion of remaining requirements of the DFM and subject to CBB’s final approval.
“We are pleased to note the SCA’s approval on plans to list at the DFM,” said Ithmaar Group Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “We are continuing to work closely with the CBB as well as the relevant authorities in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and we hope to have final approval to proceed with the additional listing as soon possible,” he said.
“The additional listing will open trading on Ithmaar’s shares to new, exciting markets,” said Abdul Rahim. “This, in turn, will create new investment opportunities for investors and Ithmaar shareholders in the GCC markets,” he said.
Ithmaar owns two wholly-owned subsidiaries: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, and IB Capital, an investment subsidiary. Ithmaar Bank and IB Capital are both licensed and regulated by the CBB. Ithmaar Bank owns 66.6 percent of Faysal Bank Limited (FBL), a retail banking subsidiary in Pakistan that is listed on the Pakistan Stock Exchange and is mainly engaged in corporate, commercial, retail and consumer banking activities.
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ITHMAAR BANK WINS BEST INNOVATION IN RETAIL BANKING AND BEST ISLAMIC BANK OF THE YEAR AWARDS

19 Dec 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 18 December 2017 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, received awards in two categories, Best Innovation in Retail Banking (Bahrain) and Best Islamic Bank of the Year (Bahrain) at UK-based International Banker’s 2017 Banking Awards. Standout institutions working within retail, commercial, investment and private banking in the Middle East and Africa compete for the prestigious annual prizes. The two awards were received on behalf of Ithmaar Bank by Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, who said that this high level industry recognition is further evidence of the soundness of the Bank’s strong customer focus.
“In line with our vision to become the region’s premier Islamic retail bank, Ithmaar Bank’s business model is customer-centric with an ongoing objective to exceed expectations by offering innovation and a high level of efficiency,” said Abdul Rahim. “We have invested in new technologies that have reduced waiting times for customers and turnaround times for financing requests, while implementing state-of-the-art security systems that maintain the confidentiality of private information,” he said.
“Winning these awards is evidence that this strategy, which was spelled out by our Board of Directors, led by the Chairman, His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, are being translated into a tangible reality,” said Abdul Rahim. “Customers have also recognised these enhancements, rewarding us with continued growth in our core retail banking business,” he said.
The Banking Awards honour institutions that have set the bar for industry excellence by driving global economic commerce, creating capital and opportunities for economic growth, and setting benchmarks for technological advancement and customer service, while at the same time maintaining high levels of regulatory compliance and corporate governance.
Finance Publishing Editor-in-Chief, Simon Brown congratulated Ithmaar Bank on winning the award, wishing the Bank continued success in helping to raise regional banking standards.
“A review of Ithmaar Bank’s performance during 2017 is highlighted by the launch of many new and innovative banking products and services, as well as a clear enhancement in its speed of delivery. Ongoing improvements of processes and technology have reduced waiting periods, with customers being provided with a range of service delivery channels, including a 24-hour a day, 7 days a week call centre, eBanking and convenient payments solutions, such as EasyPay, Mobile banking and MobiCash. The turnaround time for approval of financing requests is ensured to be the shortest possible, albeit with comprehensive underwriting of risks,” he said.
International Banker is the flagship brand of Finance Publishing, one of the world’s leading sources of authoritative analysis on finance, international banking and world affairs.
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ITHMAAR BANK’S RETAIL BANKING SUBSIDIARY IN PAKISTAN, FAYSAL BANK LIMITED, REPORTS NET PROFIT OF US$36.3 MILLION

13 Dec 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 13 December 2017– Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced today (ed note: 13/12/17) that its retail banking subsidiary in Pakistan, Faysal Bank Limited (FBL), has maintained growth momentum and reported increased net profits.
Ithmaar Bank owns 66.6 percent of FBL which is listed on the Pakistan Stock Exchange and is mainly engaged in corporate, commercial, retail and consumer banking activities. Ithmaar Bank is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ithmaar Holding (Ithmaar Group).
The announcement, by Ithmaar Group Chief Executive Officer and FBL Vice Chairman, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, follows the review and approval by the FBL Board of Directors of the financial results for the nine months ending September 30, 2017.
“I am pleased to announce that FBL registered a profit after tax of US$36.3 million (PKR 3.83 billion) during the first nine months of 2017, compared to a profit of US$35.5 million (PKR 3.75 billion) during the corresponding period in 2016,” said Abdul Rahim. “I am pleased, also, to note that in October, Ithmaar Bank through Faysal Bank Limited marked thirty years of operations in Pakistan. This is a significant milestone in our history,” he said.
Ithmaar Bank first commenced its operations in Pakistan in October 1987 under its initial predecessor, Faysal Islamic Bank of Bahrain.
“As a monetary measure, the Government of Pakistan has, for many years, deliberately kept benchmark rates at low levels. This has significantly affected returns on financing and investments, and restricted the earning capacity of banks due to margin compression. The Bank has realigned its strategy to these economic realities, and is focusing on mobilising low-cost deposits and rationalising administrative expenses,” he said.
“Strict credit monitoring and aggressive follow up on delinquent clients led to major recoveries,” said Abdul Rahim. “The Bank intends to maintain growth momentum through Human Resource development, enhancing products line and upgrading core banking software. FBL continues to increase its core deposit base and enhance its financing book with primary focus on SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) and Consumer Finance. The Bank is also actively pursuing syndicated financing and advisory business and has undertaken several major projects independently and jointly during the said period,” he said.
“FBL has been making steady growth for years and has now consolidated its position in the Pakistan’s banking sector,” said Abdul Rahim. “The Bank’s footprint now extends to 376 branches in more than 100 cities across Pakistan after having added almost 30 branches during the year. The Bank aims to have expanded its retail banking network by 50 during 2017 to reach 404 branches by the end of 2017. The Bank’s deposits have reached US$3.4 billion and assets have crossed the US$4.5 billion mark with a capital base of more than US$310 million,” he said.
FBL’s financial performance has earned the Bank “AA” and “A1+” ratings for the long and short terms respectively, with stable outlook from JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Limited and Pakistan Credit Rating Agency Limited.

ITHMAAR BANK AWARDED “BEST ISLAMIC RETAIL BANK IN BAHRAIN”

11 Dec 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 11 December 2017 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, was honoured at a ceremony attended by senior bankers from across the Middle East after it was named Best Islamic Retail Bank in Bahrain.
Ithmaar Bank was presented the prestigious award following a comprehensive selection and review process conducted by a committee of high-level economists and banking professionals, as well the research department of the Union of Arab Banks and the World Union of Arab Bankers. The award was received on behalf of the Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, by the Ithmaar Bank Head of Commercial and Financial Institutions, Abdulla Talib.
“Ithmaar Bank is committed to becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank,” said Abdul Rahim. “This is a commitment we take very seriously, and I am pleased to note that our efforts in this direction are being noticed, recognised and celebrated at a regional level,” he said.
“Winning this award is testimony to the fact that the vision spelled out by the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors, led by the Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, is being translated into a tangible reality,” said Abdul Rahim. “It is significant achievement by any measure, and is a result of the commitment, dedication and expertise of our employees,” he said.
“Enhanced customer satisfaction, as well as the subsequent growth of our core retail banking business, is great reward in itself and I am confident that the recognition will help inspire us to even greater achievements,” said Abdul Rahim. “This, in turn, will help further reinforce Bahrain’s position as a key banking and finance hub in the region,” he said.
Wissam Fattouh, Secretary General, World Union of Arab Bankers (WUAB) and Union of Arab Banks (UAB) congratulated Ithmaar Bank on winning the award and wished the Bank continued success.
“The Arab Banking Awards celebrates achievements of excellence across the Arab Banking sector,” said Fattouh. “Winning the Best Islamic Retail Bank in the Bahrain category is testimony to Ithmaar Bank’s reputation for excellence, and we congratulate them on this major achievement,” he said.
“Ithmaar Bank was selected as the Best Islamic Retail Bank in Bahrain by a high level committee of economists and bankers, as well as the WUAB and UAB research teams,” said Fattouh. “It is a great achievement and a powerful testimony to the Bank’s remarkable success,” he said.
The World Union of Arab Bankers (WUAB) is a prominent Arab Forum that is patronized by Arab leaders of economics and finance, as well as influential banking pioneers, top experts, successful businessmen, remarkable professionals and brilliant entrepreneurs. WUAB, a sister organization of the Union of Arab Banks (UAB), is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that enjoys the privileges, immunities and exemptions extended to regional and international organizations operating under the Arab League. The UAB enjoys full financial, administrative and organizational autonomy. It is considered the true representative of the Arab banking and financial community, and the major supporter to Arab banks and financial institutions as well as the Arab mutual banking institutions.

ITHMAAR BANK LAUNCHES BAHRAIN’S FIRST CONTACTLESS WORLD MASTERCARD CREDIT CARD

03 Dec 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 02 December 2017 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced today (ed note: 02/12/17) the launch of a prestigious new Sharia-compliant contactless credit card with Mastercard, a leading technology company in the global payments industry.
The pioneering new Ithmaar Bank World credit card, the country’s first contactless offering, is a result of the Bank’s continuous commitment to listening to, and delivering on, customer expectations.
“Ithmaar Bank is determined to become the region’s premier Islamic retail bank,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “To do so, we continue to invest heavily in developing our products and services while also working to be closer to our customers,” he said.
“We are pleased to have worked with our partners at Mastercard to introduce Bahrain’s first contactless World credit card, and we are delighted to now make it available to our customers,” said Abdul Rahim. “I am confident that the new card will go a long way towards making payments faster, easier and more convenient for our customers,” he said.
“The Ithmaar Bank World credit card allows customers to make quick, secure payments with just a tap of the card. The contactless feature currently works at regional and international points of sale, and will also be available in Bahrain shortly,” said Abdul Rahim. “The Ithmaar Bank World credit card also offers customers enhanced privileges, including for example, unlimited access to over 900 airport lounges in more than 450 cities across more than 135 countries worldwide – catering to the specific needs of the affluent traveller segment.”
“We are pleased to collaborate with Ithmaar Bank to launch Bahrain’s first contactless World Mastercard credit card. The card reflects our commitment to creating tailored payment solutions that address the evolving needs of our cardholders in the market,” said Pankaj Kathuria, Area Business Head, Northern Gulf, Mastercard. “At Mastercard, we have always been at the forefront of introducing bespoke products that provide frequent and discerning travellers convenient payment methods to make their journeys even more comfortable, and our World portfolio complements their lifestyle through a host of exclusive benefits and rewards.”
“The innovative card is powered by secure encryption technology that consists of an embedded computer chip with an antenna that sends the transaction signal wirelessly at a small distance without direct contact with the reader and the contactless device. Payments can be made anywhere a cardholder sees the contactless symbol on the terminal reader. This includes quick-service restaurants, convenience stores, movie theatres, and more,” he said.
The card also offers access to a unique collection of experiences and exclusive discounts through the Mastercard Buy 1 Get 1 application that includes dining, spas, entertainment and more offers, free Life Takaful insurance from Solidarity General Takaful, a minimum repayment of only five percent of the ending balance within 25 days from the statement date, immediate access to Mastercard- enabled Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) around the world. In addition, Ithmaar Bank will also provide free supplementary cards to immediately family members of the primary cardholder as well.
An additional layer of security is embedded in the new contactless Ithmaar World credit card with the SecureCode authentication feature that protects the card against fraud using One Time Password (OTP) for online payment transactions. The card also enables users to accumulate Ithmaar Rewards loyalty points with each transactions, which can be redeemed online on www.ithmaarbank.com/ithmaarrewards to 700 airlines, 150,000 hotels, car rental services, cash back or donations. Customers can look forward to earning one Ithmaar Rewards loyalty point for every BD0.750 spent on purchases while using their card.

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE WORKSHOP FOR ITHMAAR GROUP BOARD

19 Nov 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 19 November 2017 – Ithmaar Group, which consists of Ithmaar Holding and its two wholly-owned subsidiaries, Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail Bank; and IB Capital, a Bahrain-based Islamic Investment firm, commissioned the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF) to deliver an interactive workshop for members of the Group’s Board of Directors and Executive Management teams.
The workshop, which was designed to highlight the importance of good corporate governance while reinforcing Ithmaar’s principles of high-quality governance, aimed to help protect and further grow shareholder value. The workshop was delivered by Seamus Gillen, the founder and Director of Value Alpha Limited, a governance advisory service with significant experience in delivering such programmes.
Ithmaar Group Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, who stressed the critical importance of corporate governance, thanked BIBF Director, Dr. Ahmed Al Shaikh and the BIBF team for their arrangement of such an engaging workshop.
“The workshop allows members of our Board of Directors and Executive Management teams the opportunity to further reinforce their understanding of corporate governance principles,” said Abdul Rahim. “We believe that establishing a proper corporate governance culture in today’s environment reflects emphasis on such organisational values leading to improved performance. Throughout the past decade, corporate governance has occupied further importance in the face of improved cross border regulations and the additional responsibility on financial institutions,” he said.
“At Ithmaar, we acknowledge the importance of continuing human capital development efforts at all levels within the Group,” said Abdul Rahim. “This workshop is a substantial step towards further strengthening the capabilities of our Board of Directors and Executive Management teams,” he said.
“Professional training across all organisational levels is a critical aspect for the growth of any business, most important of which is Board of Directors,” said Dr. Al Shaikh. “As part of this, the BIBF conducts such high-level training workshops to lay special impetus on the role of the Board of Directors in supporting excellent performance and laying down transparent set of rules and regulations in which shareholders, directors and officers have aligned incentives. It is crucial to the achievement of a new frontier of competitive advantage and profitability. Continuous training and development is an investment for any organisation that looks forward to enhancing its overall performance,” he said.
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ITHMAAR HOLDING REPORTS THIRD QUARTER RESULTS

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 13 November 2017 – Ithmaar Holding BSC (formerly Ithmaar Bank BSC) (Ithmaar) reported today (ed note: 13/11/17) a net loss of US$16.3 million for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2017, compared to a net profit of US$16.7 million for the same period last year.

Net loss attributable to equity holders for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2017 was US$27million, compared to a net profit of US$6.5 million reported for the same period last year. This included a net loss of US$14.7 million for the three-month period ended 30 September 2017, compared to a net profit of US$4.8 million for the same period last year. Net loss attributable to equity holders for the three-month period ended 30 September 2017 was US$17.8 million, compared to a net profit of US$2.1 million reported for the same period last year.

The announcement, by Ithmaar Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, follows the review and approval, by the Board of Directors, of Ithmaar’s consolidated financial results for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2017.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that Ithmaar’s financial results for 2017 show that the core business continued to grow throughout the period,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Overall income from our core business grew significantly during the year, as evident from the higher share on income from unrestricted investment accounts as a Mudarib, which grew 49.8 percent to US$51.9 million for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2017, compared to US$34.7 million for the same period last year, as well as the increase in income from murabaha and other financing, which grew by 9.3 percent to US$108.4 million for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2017, compared to US$99.2 million for the same period last year,” he said.

“During the nine-month period ended 30 September 2017, Ithmaar Group initiated an active programme to locate a buyer for a specific asset within the Group. Accordingly, this asset was consequently presented as an asset classified as held for sale in the consolidated statement of financial position,” said HRH Prince Amr. “At 30 September 2017, this asset was classified as held for sale and the resultant impairment loss was recorded in the consolidated statement of income during the period,” he said.

“Although net income, before provision for impairment and overseas taxation, dropped to US$32.8 million for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2017, from US$51.1 million for the same period last year, this loss was mainly due to unrealized foreign exchange losses of US$17.2 million,” said HRH Prince Amr.

Ithmaar Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said the results reflect a clear, unwavering focus on growing the core retail banking business.

“I am pleased to report that the balance sheet is stable and continues to grow,” said Abdul Rahim. “Total assets stood at US$8.6 billion as at 30 September 2017, a 3.5 percent increase compared to US$8.3 billion as at 31 December 2016, and a 9 percent increase compared to US$7.9 billion as at 30 September 2016,” he said.  “Murabaha and other financings also increased to US$3.6 billion as at 30 September 2017, a 4 percent increase compared to US$3.4 billion as at 31 December 2016, and a 9.7 percent increase compared to US$3.3 billion as at 30 September 2016,” said Abdul Rahim. “Sukuk and other investment securities mainly representing investment in government securities also increased to US$2.1 billion as at 30 September 2017, a 9.2 percent increase compared to US$1.9 billion as at 31 December 2016, and a 32 percent increase compared to US$1.6 billion as at 30 September 2016,” he said.

“Customer current accounts also increased to US$1.7 billion as at 30 September 2017, a 7.2 percent increase compared to US$1.6 billion as at 31 December 2016, and a 13.8 percent increase compared to US$1.5 billion as at 30 September 2016,” said Abdul Rahim. “The equity of unrestricted investment accountholders, at US$2.83 billion as at 30 September 2017, increased by 2.1 percent compared to US$2.77 billion as at 31 December 2016, and by 4.7 percent compared to US$2.7 billion as 30 September 2016,” he said.

ITHMAAR BANK REPORTS CONTINUED PROFITS FOR 2017

13 Nov 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 13 November 2017 – Ithmaar Bank B.S.C. (c), a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ithmaar Holding, reported today (ed note: 13/11/17) a net profit of BHD5.8 million for the first three quarters of 2017. The net profit attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2017 was BHD1.7 million.
The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, follows the review and approval, by the Board of Directors, of the Bank’s consolidated financial results for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2017. These are the Bank’s first third-quarter results since the successful completion in January this year of a planned reorganisation and the formal commencement of the new group structure and hence there are no comparatives and alternatively the first quarter numbers are used as these are the first reported numbers post reorganisation.
“On behalf of the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that the Bank continues to report profits in 2017,” said HRH Prince Amr. “In the three-month period ended 30 September 2017, Ithmaar Bank reported a net profit of BHD1.4 million, with the net profit attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the period being BHD0.2 million,” he said.
“Ithmaar Bank’s third-quarter financial results show that the Bank is reporting continued profits and stable income for the year,” said HRH Prince Amr. “In the first three quarters of 2017, the Bank recorded total income of BHD112.7 million, including BHD36.3 million for the three-month period ended 30 September 2017. The Bank recorded a total income for the first three quarters of the year a net income, before provisions for impairment and overseas taxation, of BHD15.3 million, including BHD2.6 million for the three-month period ended 30 September 2017,” he said.
Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said the Bank’s continued profitability is due, in a large part, to the unwavering focus on enhancing products and services while striving to grow closer to customers.
“Ithmaar Bank’s financial results show stable, consistent growth throughout the year,” said Abdul Rahim. “This is testimony to the Bank’s ongoing success as an Islamic retail bank and a reassuring indicator that we are, indeed, on the right track as we work towards our shared vision of becoming one of the region’s premier Islamic retail banks,” he said Abdul Rahim.
“The results show that the Bank’s total assets grew by 4.4 percent over the past six months and stand at BHD3.2 billion as at 30 September 2017, up from BHD3.1 billion as at 31 March 2017. Murabaha and other financing grew by 2.1 percent during the same period to stand at BHD1.80 billion as at 30 September 2017, up from BHD1.77billion as at 31 March 2017; Sukuk and other investment securities comprising mainly government securities grew by 2.2 percent during the same period to stand at BHD686 million as at 30 September 2017, up from BHD671 million as at 31 March 2017. Equity of unrestricted investment accountholders grew by 6.5 percent during the same period to stand at BHD1.1 billion as at 30 September 2017, up from BHD1 billion as at 31 March 2017; Customer current accounts grew by 6.6 percent during the same period to stand at BHD643 million as at 30 September 2017, up from BHD603 million as at 31 March 2017,” he said.
“Ithmaar Bank is committed to becoming the Islamic retail bank of choice, we work hard to continuously enhance our customers’ Islamic banking experience,” said Abdul Rahim. “We do so by listening closely to our customer’s needs and responding quickly and efficiently, always aiming to exceed expectations,” he said.
“To help realise this vision, we invest heavily in training and development for our employees, who we have long regarded as our greatest asset,” said Abdul Rahim. “Recently, for example, Ithmaar Bank hosted an intensive two-day training session for all branch employees to help enhance their skills and provide improved customer-centric service,” he said.
With seventeen full-service branches in strategic locations across Bahrain, Ithmaar Bank operates one of the largest retail banking networks in the Kingdom. The training sessions were conducted in line with the Bank’s long standing commitment to growing continuously closer to its customers.
“To exceed customer expectations and to maintain our leadership position in the market, the Bank is currently embarking on several major technology related initiatives, by adopting the latest, state of the art banking systems,” added Abdul Rahim

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ITHMAAR BANK ANNOUNCES DEPUTY CEO APPOINTMENTS

07 Nov 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 07 November 2017 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail Bank, announced today (ed note: 07/11/17) the promotion of its two most senior executives to the post of Deputy Chief Executive, and named Abdulhakeem Khalil Al Mutawa Deputy Chief Executive Officer – Banking Group, and Ravindra Anant Khot Deputy Chief Executive Officer – Support Group.
The announcement, by the Ithmaar Group Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, is in-line with the Bank’s long-standing commitments to reinforcing its merit-based culture, promoting from within and developing its entire workforce, including the leadership.
Abdul Rahim congratulated Al Mutawa and Khot and wished them both continued success in helping lead the Bank to further growth.
“This is an exciting time for Ithmaar as we work to turn the Bank around and prepare for future opportunities,” said Abdul Rahim. “Our continued success as an organization is determined, to a very large extent, by the quality of our people and I am pleased to note that we have such remarkable talents, at all levels, on board and helping lead the way forward,” he said.
“The promotions of both Abdulhakeem and Ravindra and their appointments to the key posts of Deputy Chief Executive Officer – Banking Group, and Deputy Chief Executive Officer – Support Group, respectively, reflect the tremendous contributions they have already made to Ithmaar’s success as well as to the increasingly important roles they will play in future,” said Abdul Rahim. “I am grateful for their support and valuable contributions over the years, and confident that their contributions will continue to increase in the execution of the Bank’s strategy,” he said.
Prior to his appointment as Deputy Chief Executive Officer – Banking Group, Al Mutawa, who joined the group in 2003, was the Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Banking Group, since September 2013. He has more than 35 years of management and banking experience and has held other senior positions at Ithmaar Bank, including Assistant General Manager, Head of Private Banking. Al Mutawa holds an MBA from the University of Bahrain and a Bachelor degree in engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.
Prior to his appointment as Deputy Chief Executive Officer – Support Group, Khot, who joined the Group in 2007, was the Ithmaar Bank Chief Operating Officer since September 2013. He has more than 31 years of banking and finance experience and has held other senior positions at Ithmaar Bank, including Chief Financial Officer. Khot is a Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCA), the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, and holds a Bachelor of Commerce, (Financial Accounting) from the University of Mumbai, India.
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ITHMAAR BANK PROMOTES TWO BAHRAINI EXECUTIVES, APPOINTS ANOTHER

03 Oct 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 3 October 2017 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail Bank, announced today (ed note: 03/10/17) the promotion of two key members of its management team and the appointment of a third.
Abdulla Abdulaziz Ali Taleb was promoted to Assistant General Manager, Head of the Commercial and Financial Institutions department; Ahmed Fareed Saud Buqais was promoted to Senior Manager and assigned Head of Information Technology (IT) Infrastructure and Operations in the IT department; and Rashed Ahmed Rashed Almuawada was appointed as a Manager Information Security and Compliance, Risk Management department.
Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, congratulated the employees and said the announcement is in-line with the Bank’s long-standing commitments to reinforcing its merit-based culture and to developing its national workforce.
“Ithmaar Bank recognises its employees as its greatest asset, and we have long maintained that, ultimately, it is our people who drive our growth and continued success,” said Abdul Rahim. “As a result, we work to continuously enhance our well established performance-focused culture of equal opportunity,” he said.
“These latest promotions and appointment underscore how seriously we take these commitments, and I wish Abdulla, Ahmed and Rashed continued success in the careers,” said Abdul Rahim. “I am confident that, with their contributions, the Bank will continue to grow towards our shared vision of becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank,” he said.
“As a pioneering Islamic retail bank, Ithmaar Bank has also long-recognised the important role we must play in contributing to the development of Bahrain’s Islamic banking industry,” said Abdul Rahim. “This includes continuously developing our own national workforce through various training opportunities,” he said.
Taleb, who was previously Executive Senior Manager, Head, of the Commercial and Financial Institutions department since March 2015, joined Ithmaar Bank as a Senior Manager in the Corporate Banking department in January 2014. He had previously work with BMI Bank, First Investment Bank, Shamil Bank, Khaleej Finance and Investments, the University of Bahrain and Standard Chartered Bank. Taleb holds a B.Sc. in Banking and Finance from Kingdom University in Bahrain, an Advanced Diploma in Islamic Banking from the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance and an Associate Diploma in Economics from the University of Bahrain.
Buqais, who was previously a Manager in the IT department since September 2014, joined Ithmaar Bank as a Senior Associate in the same department in October 2012. He had previously worked with Arcapita Bank, Durrat Al Bahrain Management, Exceed IT Services and Civil Aviation Affairs. Buqais holds certificate in management and leadership from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), is a Certified Information System Auditor, ISACA, and an Information Security Management Systems Auditor/Lead Auditor (Based on ISO/IEC 27001:2013), and hold a B.Sc. in Computer Science from the University College of Bahrain.
Almuawada joined Ithmaar Bank in July 2017 from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) which he joined in May 2011 and served first as a Senior System Administrator and then as a Senior Analyst in the Information Security department. He had previously worked with Meinhardt Bahrain, Nue-Tel Communication and InfoCall. Almuawada is an Information Security Management Systems Auditor/Lead Auditor (Based on ISO/IEC 27001:2013) and holds a B.Sc. in Mobile and Network engineering from the Ahlia University.

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ITHMAAR BANK CONCLUDES FIRST OF ITS KIND SUMMER CAMP PROGRAMME

26 Sep 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 26 September 2017 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, hosted a series of summer camps for children of various age groups in cooperation with INJAZ Bahrain, a non-profit organization that aims to empower young people to own their economic success. As part of the summer camp programme, a first of its kind for financial institutions in Bahrain, children of Ithmaar Bank employees spent a full day during summer at the Bank participating in various activities designed to help them gain practical financial knowledge.
The events, which were hosted by the Ithmaar Bank Human Resources Department at the Bank’s headquarters in Seef, were delivered by volunteers from Ithmaar Bank, including Eman Abdulwadood Al Awadhi, Eman Mahmood Abdulla, Muhja Abdulrazaq Fulath, Ammar Mohammed Abdulrahman, Sayed Ali Adel Salman and Ali Hassan Mahmood with the support of the Bank’s Human Resources team.
The first group consisted of 13 children from Grades 1 to 3 who participated in the “Our Selves” programme, a financial knowledge programme that demonstrates helping, working, earning and savings concepts by using compelling stories read by Ithmaar Bank volunteers as well as hands on activities. The second group consisted of 10 children from Grades 3 to 4 who participated in the “Our Families” programme, which was designed to emphasize the roles people play in the local economy and engaged students with activities about needs, wants, jobs, tools, skills and interdependence so that they discover that society and the economy depend on people working together. The third group consisted of 11 children from Grades 5 to 6 who participated in the “Our Nation” programme that provides practical information about businesses’ need for employees who can meet the demands of the job market. The programme also introduced the concept of globalization, as it relates to resources and careers, and the need for students to be entrepreneurial in their thinking to meet the requirements of business worldwide. The fourth and oldest group consisted of eight children from Grades 7 to 9 who participated in the “It’s My Business” programme that emphasized entrepreneurship skills while providing a strong focus on social studies, reading, and writing skills. Participants are encouraged to use critical thinking to learn entrepreneurial skills that support positive attitudes as they explore and enhance their career aspirations.
“As a pioneering Islamic retail bank, we recognise the important role we must play in supporting our community,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “It is a responsibility we take very seriously, and we are pleased to be able to continue our long-standing support for INJAZ Bahrain and its various youth-focused initiatives,” he said.
“This unique initiative, allowed us to open our doors for children to participate in an exciting new programme designed to help them learn real-world skills and experience, for themselves, the working environment,” said Abdul Rahim. “We are confident that these programmes will go long way towards nurturing Bahrain’s future banking and finance professionals which, in turn, will help further reinforce the Kingdom’s position as a key regional banking and finance hub,” he said.
“This first of it is kind initiative was designed especially to offer children the opportunity to experience the real-life working environment in the financial sector,” said Ithmaar Bank Head of Human Resources Enas Rahimi. “At Ithmaar Bank, we encourage our employees to participate in voluntary programmes such INJAZ Bahrain as it has positive impact both on the community and on the individuals,” she said.
“The Bank is proud to be associated with INJAZ Bahrain for more than ten years as part of its award-winning corporate social responsibility programme, and we are pleased to note that our efforts are paying off,” said Rahimi. “We are pleased to be the first financial institution to host the Summer Camp Programme in association with INJAZ Bahrain, and we look forward a continuing our long-standing relationship,” she said.
Ithmaar Bank employees volunteer every year in the INJAZ Bahrain school programme. This year the programme, which started in July and continued until the end of August, was organised at Ithmaar Bank.
INJAZ Bahrain is a non-profit organization that was established in 2005 as part of Junior Achievement Worldwide with the aim of empowering young people to own their economic success and be prepared for today’s business challenges. With the help of its partners and volunteers, INJAZ Bahrain impacts thousands of students every year bringing them closer to the real world and opening their minds to their own potential.
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ITHMAAR BANK BRANCH STAFF TRAIN FOR CUSTOMER EXCELLENCE

19 Sep 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 19 September 2017 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, hosted an intensive two-day training session for all the Bank’s branch employees for enhancing their skills to provide customer-centric service.
With seventeen full-service branches in strategic locations across Bahrain, Ithmaar Bank operates one of the largest retail banking networks in the Kingdom. The training sessions were conducted in line with the Bank’s long standing commitment to growing continuously closer to its customers.
“Ithmaar Bank is determined to become one of the region’s premier Islamic retail banks,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “To do so, we invest heavily on continuously improving our products and services as well as, perhaps most importantly, our customer service offerings,” he said.
“We listen closely, and respond quickly, to customer demands and we recognise that the best way to do so is to ensure that our customer-facing employees are as customer-focused as possible,” said Abdul Rahim. “This intensive two-day course, which was attended by all branch employees, underscores just how seriously we take our commitment to exceeding customer expectations,” he said.
Ithmaar Bank Head of Human Resources Enas Rahimi said the course, entitled “Corporate Service Excellence” was organised to further enhance an already customer-centric culture at the Bank’s branches.
“Customer loyalty is nurtured through excellence in customer service and, at Ithmaar Bank, we recognise that this must be at the heart of our business if we are to continue to grow in a competitive market,” said Rahimi. “We also recognise that training is a key component in ensuring that our employees offer our customers the best possible Islamic banking experience. This particular course, for example, focuses on the effect of customer service on customer loyalty, and encourages branch employees to continuously exceed expectations,” she said.

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ITHMAAR BANK’S RETAIL BANKING SUBSIDIARY IN PAKISTAN, FAYSAL BANK LIMITED, REPORTS GROWING PROFITS

17 Sep 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 17 September 2017– Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced today (ed note: 17/09/17) that its retail banking subsidiary in Pakistan, Faysal Bank Limited (FBL), has reported increased profits for the first half of 2017. Ithmaar Bank owns 66.6 percent of FBL which is listed on the Pakistan Stock Exchange and is mainly engaged in corporate, commercial, retail and consumer banking activities.
The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer and FBL Vice Chairman, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, follows the review and approval by the FBL Board of Directors of the financial results for the half year ended June 30, 2017.
“I am pleased to announce that FBL registered a profit after tax of US$27.2 million (PKR 2.86 billion) during the first half of 2017, compared to a profit of US$26.8 million (PKR 2.82 billion) during the corresponding period in 2016,” said Abdul Rahim. “Despite increasingly challenging market conditions, with the Pakistan economy experiencing low interest rates as well as low exports, and foreign exchange reserves also declining and bringing the Karachi Interbank Offer Rate (KBOR) to record lows, the Bank has reported improved results,” he said.
“To address these harsh economic realities, FBL has repositioned its strategy by mobilizing low cost deposits, increasing recovery efforts from delinquent clients and enforcing strict control over administrative expenses,” said Abdul Rahim. “FBL has also successfully executed several investment and advisory deals with blue chip companies during the first half of 2017,” he said.
“Although the Government of Pakistan has imposed a one-time Super Tax in the annual budget which has affected the bottom line by US$2.4 million (PKR 259 million), the Bank’s Earnings per Share (EPS) for the first half of 2017 increased to PKR2.17 as compared to PKR2.14 for corresponding period last year,” said Abdul Rahim. “FBL has been making steady growth for years and has now consolidated its position in the banking sector. The Bank has not only expanded its network but also has enhanced its core customer base. The Bank now has a network of 365 branches in more than 100 cities across Pakistan,” he said.
The Bank’s deposits have reached US$ 3.4 billion, and assets have crossed the US$4.6 billion mark with a capital base of more than US$300 million. The Bank has achieved these milestones of business growth by upgrading its core banking software, developing staff, enhancing products and focusing on cost efficiency.
Earlier this year, FBL announced the appointment of Yousaf Hussain as President and Chief Executive Officer for a three-year term after all necessary regulatory approvals were received. “On behalf of the Ithmaar Bank management, as well as the FBL Board of Directors, I am pleased to congratulate Yousaf on his appointment, welcome him to his new role and wish him continued success,” said Abdul Rahim. “Yousaf is a seasoned banker with a wide range of experience, and I am confident that he will drive FBL’s continued growth and lead the Bank to greater success,” he said.
FBL’s financial performance has earned the Bank “AA” and “A1+” ratings for the long and short terms respectively, with stable outlook from JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Limited and Pakistan Credit Rating Agency Limited.
“I am pleased, also, to note that in October, Ithmaar Bank will mark thirty years of operations in Pakistan,” said Abdul Rahim. “This is a significant milestone in our history,” he said. Ithmaar Bank first commenced its operations in Pakistan in October 1987 under its initial predecessor, Faysal Islamic Bank of Bahrain.

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ITHMAAR BANK REPORTS CONTINUED PROFITS FOR 2017

13 Aug 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 13 August 2017 – Ithmaar Bank B.S.C. (c), a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ithmaar Holding, reported today (ed note: 13/08/17) a net profit of BHD4.38 million for the first half of 2017. The net profit attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the six-month period ended 30 June 2017 was BHD1.54 million.
The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, follows the review and approval, by the Board of Directors, of the Bank’s consolidated financial results for the six-month period ended 30 June 2017. These are the Bank’s first half-year results since the successful completion in January this year of a planned reorganisation and the formal commencement of the new group structure and hence there are no comparatives.
“On behalf of the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that the Bank continues to report profits in 2017,” said HRH Prince Amr. “In the three-month period ended 30 June 2017, Ithmaar Bank reported a net profit of BHD1.3 million, with the net profit attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the period being BHD0.4 million,” he said.
“Ithmaar Bank’s half-year financial results show that the Bank is reporting continued profits and stable income for the year,” said HRH Prince Amr. “In the first half of 2017, the Bank recorded a net income, before provisions for impairment and overseas taxation, of BHD12.71 million, including BHD6.22 million for the three-month period ended 30 June 2017. The Bank recorded a total income for the first half of the year of BD76.44 million, including BD39.23 million for the three-month period ended 30 June 2017,” he said.
Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said that efforts to continuously develop the Bank’s products and services, while also improving its customer service offerings and growing closer to its customers, were clearly paying off.
“Ithmaar Bank’s half-year financial results show that we are, indeed, on the right track as we work towards our shared vision of becoming one of the region’s premier Islamic retail banks,” said Abdul Rahim. “The results show that the Bank’s total assets grew by 5 percent over the past three months and stand at BHD3.26 billion as at 30 June 2017, up from BHD3.11 billion as at 31 March 2017. Accordingly, the equity of unrestricted investment accountholders grew by 4.8 percent during the same period to stand at BHD1.05 billion as at 30 June 2017, up from BHD0.99 billion as at 31 March 2017,” he said.
“This growth is, in a large part, a result of the unwavering focus on developing our core retail banking business,” said Abdul Rahim. “Ithmaar Bank operates one of the largest retail banking networks in Bahrain, and is widely recognised as one of the pioneer, most innovative Islamic banks in the region. We are confident that we will continue to build on this legacy by listening closely, and responding quickly, to our customers,” he said. “The Bank’s subsidiary, Faysal Bank Limited in Pakistan, opened 75 Islamic branches during 2016 as part of its branch expansion plan and has 50 Islamic branches planned for 2017, out of which 10 have been opened till 30 June 2017, making the number of total Islamic branches as 156 out of total of 364 branches,” he said
In May, for example, Ithmaar Bank introduced a new Sharia-compliant corporate credit card with Mastercard. The Card, which was tailored to meet the specific requirements of corporate customers, as well as business owners and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) customers, was developed a result of the Bank’s commitment to listening to, and delivering on, customer expectations. The corporate card allows for a one-stop payment solution which, ultimately, creates what could be the most convenient business payment solution for businesses.
In April, Ithmaar Bank became one of the first banks in Bahrain to be certified to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) v3.2, a prestigious, internationally-celebrated payment security certification that puts the Bank on par with some of the best in the world. The PCI-DSS is a data security standard for organizations that handle branded payment cards from the major card schemes. The PCI Standard is mandated by the card brands and administered by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. Ithmaar Bank earned the certification after successfully completing a comprehensive audit and demonstrating compliance to one of the most stringent and most coveted security standards in the world.
Earlier this month, Ithmaar Bank announced that it was honoured at a regional conference for its continuous support of the community and presented with the Best Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Award for an Islamic Bank 2017 award in recognition of its various initiatives. The award was presented at the CSR Conference and Award for Islamic Banks which was held in Bahrain and attended by senior bankers, CSR experts and representatives of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) as well as government and banking and finance officials both from Bahrain, as well from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan, and the Republic of Djibouti.

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ITHMAAR BANK REPORTS CONTINUED PROFITS FOR 2017

13 Aug 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 13 August 2017 – Ithmaar Bank B.S.C. (c), a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ithmaar Holding, reported today (ed note: 13/08/17) a net profit of BHD4.38 million for the first half of 2017. The net profit attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the six-month period ended 30 June 2017 was BHD1.54 million.
The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, follows the review and approval, by the Board of Directors, of the Bank’s consolidated financial results for the six-month period ended 30 June 2017. These are the Bank’s first half-year results since the successful completion in January this year of a planned reorganisation and the formal commencement of the new group structure and hence there are no comparatives.
“On behalf of the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that the Bank continues to report profits in 2017,” said HRH Prince Amr. “In the three-month period ended 30 June 2017, Ithmaar Bank reported a net profit of BHD1.3 million, with the net profit attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the period being BHD0.4 million,” he said.
“Ithmaar Bank’s half-year financial results show that the Bank is reporting continued profits and stable income for the year,” said HRH Prince Amr. “In the first half of 2017, the Bank recorded a net income, before provisions for impairment and overseas taxation, of BHD12.71 million, including BHD6.22 million for the three-month period ended 30 June 2017. The Bank recorded a total income for the first half of the year of BD76.44 million, including BD39.23 million for the three-month period ended 30 June 2017,” he said.
Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said that efforts to continuously develop the Bank’s products and services, while also improving its customer service offerings and growing closer to its customers, were clearly paying off.
“Ithmaar Bank’s half-year financial results show that we are, indeed, on the right track as we work towards our shared vision of becoming one of the region’s premier Islamic retail banks,” said Abdul Rahim. “The results show that the Bank’s total assets grew by 5 percent over the past three months and stand at BHD3.26 billion as at 30 June 2017, up from BHD3.11 billion as at 31 March 2017. Accordingly, the equity of unrestricted investment accountholders grew by 4.8 percent during the same period to stand at BHD1.05 billion as at 30 June 2017, up from BHD0.99 billion as at 31 March 2017,” he said.
“This growth is, in a large part, a result of the unwavering focus on developing our core retail banking business,” said Abdul Rahim. “Ithmaar Bank operates one of the largest retail banking networks in Bahrain, and is widely recognised as one of the pioneer, most innovative Islamic banks in the region. We are confident that we will continue to build on this legacy by listening closely, and responding quickly, to our customers,” he said. “The Bank’s subsidiary, Faysal Bank Limited in Pakistan, opened 75 Islamic branches during 2016 as part of its branch expansion plan and has 50 Islamic branches planned for 2017, out of which 10 have been opened till 30 June 2017, making the number of total Islamic branches as 156 out of total of 364 branches,” he said
In May, for example, Ithmaar Bank introduced a new Sharia-compliant corporate credit card with Mastercard. The Card, which was tailored to meet the specific requirements of corporate customers, as well as business owners and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) customers, was developed a result of the Bank’s commitment to listening to, and delivering on, customer expectations. The corporate card allows for a one-stop payment solution which, ultimately, creates what could be the most convenient business payment solution for businesses.
In April, Ithmaar Bank became one of the first banks in Bahrain to be certified to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) v3.2, a prestigious, internationally-celebrated payment security certification that puts the Bank on par with some of the best in the world. The PCI-DSS is a data security standard for organizations that handle branded payment cards from the major card schemes. The PCI Standard is mandated by the card brands and administered by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. Ithmaar Bank earned the certification after successfully completing a comprehensive audit and demonstrating compliance to one of the most stringent and most coveted security standards in the world.
Earlier this month, Ithmaar Bank announced that it was honoured at a regional conference for its continuous support of the community and presented with the Best Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Award for an Islamic Bank 2017 award in recognition of its various initiatives. The award was presented at the CSR Conference and Award for Islamic Banks which was held in Bahrain and attended by senior bankers, CSR experts and representatives of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) as well as government and banking and finance officials both from Bahrain, as well from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan, and the Republic of Djibouti.

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ITHMAAR HOLDING REPORTS SECOND QUARTER RESULTS

10 Aug 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 10 August 2017 – Ithmaar Holding BSC (formerly Ithmaar Bank BSC) (Ithmaar) reported today (ed note: 10/08/17) a net loss of US$1.59 million for the six-month period ended 30 June 2017, compared to a net profit of US$11.96 million for the same period last year.
Net loss attributable to equity holders for the six-month period ended 30 June 2017 was US$9.25 million, compared to a net profit of US$4.4 million reported for the same period last year. This included a net loss of US$7.38 million for the three-month period ended 30 June 2017, compared to a net profit of US$7.14 million for the same period last year. Net loss attributable to equity holders for the three-month period ended 30 June 2017 was US$9.82 million, compared to a net profit of US$3.19 million reported for the same period last year.
The announcement, by Ithmaar Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, follows the review and approval, by the Board of Directors, of Ithmaar’s consolidated financial results for the six-month period ended 30 June 2017.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that Ithmaar’s half-year financial results show that the core business continued to grow in 2017,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Although net income, before provision for impairment and overseas taxation, dropped to US$29.83 million for the six-month period ended 30 June 2017, from US$36.67 million for the same period last year, this loss was mainly due to unrealized foreign exchange losses of US$12.5 million, overall income from our core business grew significantly during the same period. This is evident from the increased income from murabaha and other financing which grew by 7.7 percent to US$72.08 million for the six-month period ended 30 June 2017, compared to US$66.9 million for the same period last year, as well as the higher share on income from unrestricted investment accounts as a Mudarib which grew 60.8 percent during the first half of this year to US$34.39 million, compared to US$21.38 million for the same period last year. This is, mainly, a result of the 75 new Islamic retail branches that were opened by Faysal Bank Limited in Pakistan last year,” he said.
Ithmaar Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said the focus remains firmly on growing the core retail banking business.
“I am pleased to report that the balance sheet is stable and continues to grow,” said Abdul Rahim. “Total assets stood at US$8.72 billion as at 30 June 2017, a 4.5 percent increase compared to US$8.34 billion as at 31 December 2016, and a 2.9 percent increase compared to US$8.47 billion as at 30 June 2016,” he said.
“Customer current accounts also increased to US$1.73 billion as at 30 June 2017, a 9.6 percent

increase compared to US$1.58 billion as at 31 December 2016, and a 15.5 percent increase compared to US$1.5 billion as at 30 June 2016,” said Abdul Rahim. “The equity of unrestricted investment accountholders, at US$2.78 billion as at 30 June 2017, increased by 0.4 percent compared to US$2.77 billion as at 31 December 2016, and by a significant 7.2 percent compared to US$2.59 billion as 30 June 2016,” he said.
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ITHMAAR BANK EARNS CSR AWARD, CEO EARNS ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE IN CSR AWARD

06 Aug 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 7 August 2017 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail Bank, was honoured at a regional conference for its continuous support of the community and presented with the Best Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Award for an Islamic Bank 2017 in recognition of its various initiatives. Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, was also honoured at the event and presented with the Academic Excellence in CSR Award.
The awards were presented to Abdul Rahim by the Chairman of the Bahrain Association of Banks and the International Ambassador for CSR, Adnan Yousif, at the CSR Conference and Award for Islamic Banks, which was held in Bahrain. At the event, Abdul Rahim was thanked for his participation in the conference and his support, as the Ithmaar Bank CEO, for the Bank’s CSR initiatives. The event was attended by senior bankers, CSR experts and representatives of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) as well as government and banking and finance officials both from Bahrain, as well from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Jordan, Sudan and the Republic of Djibouti.
Abdul Rahim thanked the organisers and attributed the Bank’s long-standing commitment to the community, as well as its growing success, to the Grace of God, then to the support and guidance of the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors, led by the Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, as well as to the contributions of the Executive Management team and all the Bank’s employees.
“As a pioneering Islamic retail bank, Ithmaar Bank has long recognised the important role we must play in supporting the community in which we operate,” said Abdul Rahim. “This is a responsibility we have always taken very seriously, and this has helped chart the Bank’s progress and growth over the years,” he said.
“Although we are, of course, deeply grateful for the recognition we receive through these prestigious awards, our support for the community is driven by infinitely more powerful motivation,” said Abdul Rahim. “It is, in fact, one of our key objectives as an Islamic retail bank: to play a real and meaningful role in developing our community, to help those in need and to contribute to our society’s growth and prosperity. It is about who we are as a corporate entity,” he said.
“Ithmaar Bank fulfils its responsibility towards the community by focusing on economic growth, social development and environmental protection,” said Abdul Rahim. “Throughout, we remain committed to applying best practices in corporate governance through the adoption of principles such as integrity, transparency, accountability and a strict adherence to the principles of the Islamic Sharia principles,” he said.
“We set solid foundations based on predetermined criteria that are used in deciding which initiatives we support, and we conduct extensive studies to ensure that any funds we disburse

are used to achieve specific objectives that are in line with the Bank’s CSR strategy,” said Abdul Rahim. “The Bank’s CSR strategy aims to provide financial and moral support to a number of sectors, such as providing financial support for the needy and providing education and training opportunities for Bahrainis from all sectors, including empowering women to play bigger roles in the community and supporting people with special needs. The Bank also focuses on supporting sports and social activities as well as on supporting hospitals and medical centres,” he said.
“As an Islamic retail bank, Ithmaar Bank we did not overlook the significant role we must play in spreading Islam by supporting centres that aim to spread awareness of the Holy Quran through programmes that teach Islamic principles, print the Holy Qurans, and memorise it as a part of the nation-wide Quran reader programme,” said Abdul Rahim. “Over the past 10 years, Ithmaar has also sponsored a number of distinguished academics from all over the Islamic world to obtain postgraduate degrees from the United Kingdom,” he said.
“We also play an important role in providing ongoing training to a large number of undergraduate students in Bahrain to prepare them for entering the banking sector,” said Abdul Rahim. “Ithmaar does not neglect the important role women play in all areas, and the Bank continues to supports initiatives and programmes that help empower women,” he said.
“The Bank also supports the Bahraini community by offering innovative products such as the Qard Hassan, during the Holy month of Ramadan where customers are able to get financing with zero profit rate,” said Abdul Rahim. “We also conducted a recycling project which included educating our employees and the community on how to recycle paper and plastic,” he said.
In December 2016, Ithmaar Bank was singled out from among the world’s Islamic banks for a prestigious international award in recognition of its CSR initiatives and its Financial Disclosure. The independent award was presented at the World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) in Bahrain, a high-profile event that was attended by leading international banking experts and is widely recognised as one of the most important events on the world Islamic banking calendar.
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ITHMAAR BANK EARNS PRESTIGIOUS PAYMENT SECURITY CERTIFICATION

23 Jul 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 23 July 2017 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, earned a prestigious, internationally-celebrated payment security certification that puts the Bank on par with some of the best in the world.
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) certification was awarded to Ithmaar Bank by SISA Information Security WLL, the Middle East’s leading Qualified Security Assessor. The PCI-DSS is a data security standard for organizations that handle branded payment cards from the major card schemes. The PCI Standard is mandated by the card brands and administered by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. Ithmaar Bank earned the certification after successfully completing a comprehensive audit and demonstrating compliance to one of the most stringent and most coveted security standards in the world. The certification was awarded on 26 April 2017, making Ithmaar Bank one of the first in Bahrain to be certified in PCI DSS v3.2.
“Maintaining the safety of card data and banking systems should be one of the top priorities in card acquiring and issuing companies,” said SISA Worldwide CEO and Founder, Dharshan Shanthamurthy. “We are glad to know Ithmaar Bank holds the same belief and continues to work hard towards it,” he said.
SISA is confident that Ithmaar Bank will continue to play an important role in driving the Bahrain payment industry towards utilizing top-of-the-line secure payment infrastructure by implementing payment security regulatory and compliance requirements,” said Shanthamurthy. “This great achievement by Ithmaar Bank will set an example for all other Bahrain financial organizations who are currently in the process of implementing PCI security standards, as it is vital to their long-term success,” he said.
“Ithmaar Bank is committed to becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail banks,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “To realise this vision, we invest heavily in continuously developing our products and services while also enhancing our customer service offerings. This, in turn, requires us to ensure we provide the highest levels of security to our customers,” he said.
“The importance of security cannot be overstated,” said Abdul Rahim. “It is a commitment we take very seriously, and I am pleased to note that Ithmaar Bank has earned this prestigious certification,” he said.
The PCI Security Standards Council, launched in September 2006 and formed by the major payment card brands like Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and JCB, is a global open body to develop, enhance, disseminate and assist with the understanding of security standards for payment account security and maintains, evolves and promotes the Payment Card Industry Security Standards. PCI-DSS is not a static standard, but an evolving one based on the ever-changing threat landscape worldwide.
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BAHRAINI WOMAN WINS USD100,000 THIMAAR PRIZE

16 Jul 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 15 July 2017 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, presented a USD100,000 cash prize to Dalal Mohammed Abdulrahman Buali, a Bahraini mother who won the Thimaar semi-annual grand prize.
The prize, which was received by Dalal’s nephew Yaqoob Ahmed Alatawi on her behalf, was presented by Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Banking Group, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa at a ceremony which was held at the Seef Mall and attended by members of Dalal’s family and members of the Ithmaar Bank management team. The ceremony attracted an audience that included new Thimaar customers and mall shoppers.
“I am very happy that my aunt has won the grand prize,” said Alatawi. “She has been saving with Thimaar for a long time, mainly because of the large number of prizes and the many winners who have encouraged her to save with the Bank. She is particularly delighted to win the prize at this specific time, as the prize money will help her continue the house she had started to build,” he said.
“Congratulations to Dalal and her family, as well as all the other Thimaar winners of this month,” said Al Mutawa. “We work hard to improve the Thimaar savings account in line with the Bank’s commitment to listening closely to its customers’ requirements and actively responding to their feedback. As a result, the current Thimaar offering reduced the minimum deposit to BD30, while also increased the number of winners to 4,044, currently the highest in Bahrain,” he said.
In 2017, Thimaar is offering a total of USD3,055,000 in prizes – including USD1,020,000 monthly prizes, USD900,000 loyalty prizes, USD600,000 Eid prizes, USD200,000 semi-annual prizes and USD125,000 national day prizes – to a total of 4,044 winners, including 840 Junior winners.
Every BD30 maintained as an average daily balance qualifies a customer to enter the draws. The more customers save, and the longer they maintain balances in multiples of BD30, the more opportunities they have to win.
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ITHMAAR HOSTS SECURITY AWARENESS SESSIONS FOR OFFICE ASSISTANTS AND SECURITY GUARDS

19 Jun 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 19 June 2017 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, hosted a series of security awareness sessions for office attendants and security guards to help reduce the risks of any gaps in the Bank’s security or the confidentiality of its documents.
The awareness sessions, which were delivered by Ahmed Buqais, Senior Manager at Ithmaar Bank’s Information Technology department, were organised by the Human Resources and the Administration departments and attended by approximately 80 office attendants and security guards. The sessions were organised in recognition of the important role that office attendants and security guards play in the Bank’s continued success.
“Security is everyone’s responsibility, and we can only ever be as strong as our weakest link,” said Buqais. “Every year, all employees, from the most junior to the most senior including the executive management, attend refresher courses to ensure we are all kept up to date with the latest developments. This, in turn, helps minimise risks by keeping us all alert and updated,” he said.
“Ithmaar Bank is committed to the highest standards of excellence in everything we do,” said Ithmaar Bank Head of Human Resources, Enas Rahimi. “Training is one of the key ways in which we work towards achieving this shared objective. In addition to external training courses, we also arrange internal training courses where employees can share their expertise. This approach helps further develop our people, with both the trainer and the trainees developing their professional capabilities. Office attendants and security guards play an important a role in our continued success, as do all the other employees, and we treat them accordingly,” she said.

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ITHMAAR BANK SUPPORTS EMPLOYEES TO EARN PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATES IN ISLAMIC FINANCE

11 Jun 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 11 June 2017 – Ten employees at Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, who recently earned professional certificates in Islamic finance from the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF) were honoured at a ceremony hosted by the BIBF and attended by Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, Assistant General Manager, Head of Retail Banking, Mohammed Janahi, Executive Senior Manager, Head of Commercial and Financial Institutions, Abdulla Talib and employees from the Human Resources Department.
The employees, from various departments including Commercial and Financial Institutions, Retail Banking, Product Development and Management, and Compliance & Anti Money Laundering had successfully completed professional training programme at the BIBF and earned the Advanced Diploma in Islamic Finance.
Abdul Rahim congratulated the employees on their achievements which, he said, helped contribute directly to developing the Islamic banking and finance industry both in Bahrain and abroad.
“Banking is all about people,” said Abdul Rahim. “At Ithmaar Bank, we have long recognised our people as our greatest asset and we have repeatedly stressed that our continued success is, ultimately, dependent on our people,” he said.
“As a pioneered Islamic Bank, Ithmaar is committed to playing a key role in the development of the Islamic banking industry,” said Abdul Rahim. “One way we try to do so is by focusing on improving the qualifications and skills of our employees. This, in return, will reflect on the Bank’s performance, particularly in terms of delivering on our customers’ expectations and will in turn enhance the skill set in Islamic banking sector in the Kingdom,” he said.
“At Ithmaar Bank, we are working continuously to develop our employees who are the pillars for our success,” said Ithmaar Bank Head of Human Resources, Enas Rahimi. “We always look for training programmes that will help our workforce gain new professional skills and knowledge in Islamic banking,” she said.
“We also try to encourage our employees to join professional training programmes such as the Advanced Diploma in Islamic Finance,” said Rahimi. “These will help enhance their experience and add to their qualification which, in turn, will help their careers,” she said.
The following employees earned the Advanced Diploma in Islamic Finance Certificate: Ali Abbas Faraj Abbas, Ali Yusuf Ali Abdulwahab Jamaan, Khalil Ebrahim Mohammed Qabeel, Mohammed Abdulaziz Salman Al-Hasan, Muhjah Abdulrazaq Abdulla Fulad, Mohammed Abdulla Mohamed
Al-Awadhi, Yousif Mohammed Abdulla Al-Qasim, Faisal Riyadh Yusuf Sater, Naser Abdulla Naser Al-Naqib and Mai Abdulhameed Mohammed Al-Thawadi.
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ITHMAAR BANK’S RETAIL BANKING SUBSIDIARY IN PAKISTAN, FAYSAL BANK LIMITED, REPORTS HIGHER PROFITS

29 May 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 29 May 2017 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced today (ed note: 29/05/17) that its retail banking subsidiary in Pakistan, Faysal Bank Limited (FBL), has reported remarkably improved profitability for the first quarter of 2017 compared to the corresponding period last year.
The announcement, by the Bank’s Chief Executive Officer and FBL Vice Chairman, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, follows the review and approval by the FBL Board of Directors of the financial results for the quarter ended 31 March 2017.
FBL, has upgraded its core banking system, and strengthened processes and increased its reach to preferred business sectors and customers through an improved product menu and increased branch network. FBL added 75 branches in 2016 and plans to add 50 more branches during 2017. These measures are expected to translate into better returns for shareholders of the Bank. FBL is listed on the Pakistan Stock Exchange and is mainly engaged in corporate, commercial, retail and consumer banking activities. Ithmaar Bank owns 66.6 percent of FBL.
“I am pleased to announce that FBL registered a healthy profit, after tax, of US$ 17.8 million (PKR 1.9 billion) during the first quarter of 2017, compared to US$ 12.9 million (PKR 1.4 billion) during corresponding period of 2016,” said Abdul Rahim. “During the last two years, the banking industry in Pakistan experienced lower interest rates. These economic realities have restricted the profit earning capacity of banks. As a result, FBL repositioned its strategy by introducing low cost deposit mobilization initiatives to protect spreads,” he said.
“FBL has also made sizable recoveries from delinquent clients and administrative cost has been kept under strict control,” said Abdul Rahim. “FBL successfully executed large corporate deals and was lead arranger for a number of entities in the transport and energy sectors pertaining to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects. These measures helped increasing Earnings per Share (EPS) of the Bank for the first quarter, from PKR 1.13 to PKR 1.56,” he said.
“FBL’s Balance Sheet stands at US$ 4.2 billion (PKR 444 billion) and deposits have reached US$ 3.2 billion (PKR 338 billion) as at 31 March 2017, with a focus on maintaining spreads,” said Abdul Rahim. “FBL’s financial performance has earned the Bank “AA” and “A1+” ratings for the long and short terms respectively, with stable outlook from JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Limited and Pakistan Credit Rating Agency Limited,” he said.
In May 2017, the Chairman of the FBL Board of Directors announced the appointment of Yousaf Hussain as acting Chief Executive of the Bank replacing the former Chief Executive who resigned in mid-May 2017. Abdul Rahim said, “Earlier during the year, the board has also inducted three independent directors, namely Fuad Azim Hashmi, Mian Mohammad Younis, and Ali Munir.” He also said the newly constituted board now comprises one-third independent directors with a rich blend of diverse local and international management and financial expertise. “We are confident that Faysal Bank will embark on the next phase of its ambitious journey under the guidance of the esteemed Board of Directors,” he added.
Abdul Rahim said that Hussain is an experienced professional banker with over 22 years of multifaceted local and international experience with leading institutions including ABN AMRO in the last eight years at FBL.

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ITHMAAR BANK LAUNCHES MASTERCARD CORPORATE CREDIT CARD

24 May 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 24 May 2017 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced today (ed note: 24/05/17) that it is introducing a new Sharia-compliant corporate credit card with Mastercard.
The new Ithmaar Bank Mastercard Corporate Credit Card is tailored to meet the specific requirements of corporate customers, as well as business owners and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) customers. Its development and subsequent introduction is a result of the Bank’s commitment to listening to, and delivering on, customer expectations.
The corporate credit card was unveiled during a launch event at the InterContinental Regency Hotel, during which Ithmaar Bank and Mastercard representatives outlined the extended features and benefits of the card to customers.
“Ithmaar Bank is determined to become the region’s premier Islamic retail bank,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “To do so, we continue to invest heavily in developing our products and services while also working to be closer to our customers – and this launch is another major step in that direction,” said Abdul Rahim.
“The introduction of the new corporate credit card solution, in cooperation with Mastercard, aims to meet the specific demands of our customers and addresses a pressing need identified by our corporate and SME customers,” said Abdul Rahim. “The corporate card allows for a one-stop payment solution which, ultimately, creates what could be the most convenient business payment solution for businesses,” he said.
“We are pleased to have worked with our partners at Mastercard to introduce this business payment solution, and we are delighted to now make it available to our customers,” said Abdul Rahim. “I am confident that the new card will go a long way towards making payments easier and more convenient for corporate customers,” he said.
“This launch reflects our commitment to creating tailored payment solutions that address the evolving needs of corporate cardholders,” said Mastercard Area Business Head, Northern Gulf, Pankaj Kathuria. “In addition to offering enhanced payment security and a host of exclusive benefits, the card will provide corporate customers with greater control over their payments and the flexibility to determine how, when and where their cards will be used. We are proud to team up with Ithmaar Bank to introduce this innovative payment solution that will further accelerate the displacement of cash in the Kingdom of Bahrain,” he said.
The new Ithmaar Bank card offers credit limits tailored to each specific customer, as well as other key features. An additional layer of security, for example, is embedded in the new corporate credit card with the Mastercard SecureCode authentication feature that protects the card against fraud.

Corporate liability waiver is enabled as well, and protects the company against unauthorised use of the card by its employees. Ithmaar Bank corporate credit card customers are also eligible for 20 percent discounts on daily business shipments with DHL shipping.

ITHMAAR HOLDING REPORTS FIRST QUARTER PROFITS

14 May 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 14 May 2017 – Ithmaar Holding BSC (formerly Ithmaar Bank BSC) (Ithmaar) reported today (ed note: 14/05/17) a net profit of US$5.79 million for the three-month period ended 31 March 2017, a 20 percent increase compared to the net profit of US$4.83 million reported for the same period last year. Net profit attributable to equity holders for the three-month period ended 31 March 2017 was US$0.58 million, a 52.7 percent decrease compared to a net profit of US$1.22 million reported for the same period last year.
The announcement, by Ithmaar Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, follows the review and approval, by the Board of Directors, of Ithmaar’s consolidated financial results for the three-month period ended 31 March 2017.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that Ithmaar continues to show stable, consistent growth in its core retail banking business,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Net income, before provision for impairments and overseas taxation, increased 27.7 percent to US$20.25 million for the three-month period ended 31 March 2017, compared to US$15.86 million reported for the same period last year. This increase is mainly due to an increase in income from core retail banking business, with income from murabaha and other financing increasing 14.4 percent to US$42.66 million for the three-month period ended 31 March 2017, compared to US$37.29 million for the same period last year,” he said.
Ithmaar Group Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said that following the successful completion of the reorganisation at the beginning of the year and the formal commencement of the new group structure, Ithmaar remains firmly focused on growing its core retail banking business.
“I am pleased to report that the balance sheet continues to be stable,” said Abdul Rahim. “Total assets stood at US$8.30 billion as at 31 March 2017 compared with US$8.34 billion as at 31 December 2016, but a significant 6.7 percent increase from US$7.78 billion as at 31 March 2016. Total financings remained stable at US$3.93 billion at 31 March 2017 and 31 December 2016, but increased by 5.4 percent from US$3.73 billion at 31 March 2016, a testimony to growth in our core businesses. Similarly, investment securities increased by 7.2 percent from US$1.87 billion at 31 December 2016 to US$2.01 billion at 31 March 2017, and increased by 31 percent from US$1.53 billion at 31 March 2016,” he said.
“Customer current accounts and due to investors increased by 1.5 percent from US$3.48 billion at 31 December 2016 to US$3.54 billion at 31 March 2017, and increased significantly by 9.8 percent from US$3.22 billion at 31 March 2016,” said Abdul Rahim. “The equity of unrestricted investment account holders, at US$2.65 billion as at 31 March 2017, decreased by 4.2 percent compared to US$2.77 billion as at 31 December 2016, but increased by 5.6 percent compared to US$2.51 billion as 31 March 2016,” he said.
“Faysal Bank Limited (Pakistan), subsidiary of Ithmaar Bank B.S.C.(C) continues to report growth in business and will be adding 50 new branches throughout Pakistan as part of its branch expansion plan in 2017 to exceed 400 branches,” said Abdul Rahim
The new structure, which was proposed by the Bank’s Board of Directors and approved by shareholders in March 2016, resulted in the conversion of Ithmaar Bank B.S.C into Ithmaar Holding B.S.C. (Ithmaar Holding), which is licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) and is listed on the Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait. Ithmaar Holding retains 100 percent ownership of all assets formerly owned by Ithmaar Bank B.S.C. through its two wholly-owned subsidiaries Ithmaar Bank B.S.C (closed) (Ithmaar Bank), an Islamic retail bank subsidiary, which holds the core retail banking business, and IB Capital B.S.C. (closed) (IB Capital), an investment subsidiary, which holds investments and other non-core assets. The two subsidiaries are licensed and regulated by the CBB.

Earlier this year, shareholders approved a proposal to list Ithmaar Holding on additional stock exchanges in the region. The proposal, which was presented by a shareholder as an additional agenda item at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in March 2017 was approved unopposed by the shareholders who welcomed the initiative.
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ITHMAAR BANK REPORTS FIRST QUARTER PROFITS

14 May 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 14 May 2017 – Ithmaar Bank B.S.C. (c), a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ithmaar Holding, reported today (ed note: 14/05/17) a net profit of BHD3.1 million for the first quarter of 2017. The Net profit attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the first quarter of 2017 was BHD1.14 million.
The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, follows the review and approval, by the Board of Directors, of the Bank’s consolidated financial results for the three-month period ended 31 March 2017. These are the Bank’s first published results since the successful completion in January this year of a planned reorganisation and the formal commencement of the new group structure and hence there are no comparatives.
“On behalf of the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that the Bank reported profits in the first three months following the successful reorganisation,” said HRH Prince Amr. “In the three-month period ended 31 March 2017, Ithmaar Bank reported a net income, before provisions for impairment and overseas taxation, of BHD6.49 million. Total income during the period was BHD38.67 million,” he said.
“As at 31 March 2017, the Bank’s total assets stand at BHD3.11 billion, and the total owners’ equity at BHD158.60 million,” said HRH Prince Amr.
Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said that following the reorganisation, the Bank is focusing all its efforts on developing its core retail banking business by continuously developing its products and services, improving its customer service offerings and growing closer to its customers.
“Ithmaar Bank is committed to becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank,” said Abdul Rahim. “The Bank’s financial performance during the first quarter of 2017 is testimony to the success of these efforts, and we are confident that, moving forward, we will continue to further build upon them,” he said.
“Ithmaar Bank is one of the largest retail banking networks in Bahrain and enjoys a track record of genuine innovation and a reputation for excellence,” said Abdul Rahim.
“Faysal Bank Limited (Pakistan), subsidiary of the Ithmaar Bank continues to report growth in business and will be adding 50 new branches throughout Pakistan as part of its branch expansion plan in 2017 to exceed 400 branches,” said Abdul Rahim
In 2017, Ithmaar Bank updated and re-launched its prize-based saving account, Thimaar, to offer prizes totalling more than US$3 million to 4,000 winners who maintain a minimum deposit of only BHD30. In addition to the monthly draws and the special Thimaar Junior draws for minors, Ithmaar Bank introduced in 2017 additional draws, including loyalty, National Day, Eid, and Semi Annual draws.
Earlier this year, Ithmaar Bank, in partnership with Batelco and Arab Financial Services, also formally launched Bahrain’s first ever mobile payment solution, Easy Pay. The solution uses secure Near Field Communication (NFC) tags to eliminate the need for cash or cards by allowing customers to shop simply by tapping their mobile phones at Point of Sale (POS) machines. This marked a key milestone for the Bahrain retail market, potentially revolutionizing shopping experiences of the customers with secure, real-time payments now possible directly from their mobile phones.
Ithmaar Bank also launched a special promotional campaign in 2017 offering customers who applied for personal financing the chance to have their alternate instalments paid by the Bank for a full year. In line with its commitment to its customers, Ithmaar Bank renewed a joint promotion with Gulf Air that grants Ithmaar Bank cardholders discounted prices for tickets purchased on gulfair.com. Under this agreement, Ithmaar Bank Credit Card and eCard holders receive a 10 percent discount when purchasing Gulf Air tickets online.

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ITHMAAR BANK ANNOUNCES KEY APPOINTMENTS

07 May 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 07 May 2017 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced today (ed note: 07/05/2017) two key appointments to its executive management team, and assigned new responsibilities to another senior executive.
Yousif Alkhan, presently the Head of Information Technology, has been assigned additional responsibility of Administration and will now be the Head of Information Technology and Administration Department; Krishnan Hariharan was appointed Chief Risk Officer; and Khalil Ebrahim Al Asfoor was appointed Acting Head of Internal Audit.
The announcement, by the Bank’s Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Abdul Rahim, is in line with the Bank’s commitment to continuous improvement, and is part of ongoing efforts to develop Ithmaar into the region’s premier Islamic retail bank.
“I congratulate Yousif on the new responsibilities assigned to him, and am delighted to welcome Krishnan and Khalil to the executive management team,” said Abdul Rahim. “I am confident that each of these senior executives will play a key role in contributing to the Bank’s continued growth and success, and I wish them all the best,” he said.
“Ithmaar has long recognised that, ultimately, it is the quality of our people that will drive our continued success,” said Abdul Rahim. “As a result, we strive to recruit and retain only the very best people, and we invest heavily in training and development to ensure our people remain among the best in the industry,” he said.
“As a pioneering Islamic retail bank, Ithmaar has also long-recognised the important role we must play in contributing to the development of Bahrain’s Islamic banking industry,” said Abdul Rahim. “This includes continuously developing our own national workforce through various training opportunities and, when necessary, by bringing international expertise from abroad to share their experience and technical know-how,” he said.
AlKhan has been with the Bank since 1989, when it was then called Faysal Islamic Bank of Bahrain. Alkhan holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from AMA International University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Bahrain
Prior to his current Ithmaar appointment, Hariharan was the Alizz Islamic Bank Chief Risk Officer. He holds a Masters degree in Financial Management from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai University, India, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree from Osmania University, India, and a Bachelor of Commerce, Mumbai University, India. It is his second professional assignment to Bahrain, where he had previously held senior executive positions including Eskan Bank Chief Risk Officer and Shamil Bank of Bahrain Chief Risk Officer.
Prior to his current Ithmaar appointment, Al Asfoor was Manager, Group Internal Control at Ahli United Bank. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Bahrain as well as an Associate Professional Risk Manager (APRM) certificate from, United States. He is an IRCA certified Information Security Management System (ISMS) Auditor, ISO27001, Bureau VERITAS; is a Certified Islamic Banker (CIB) from the General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions, Bahrain, and a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), United Kingdom.

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ITHMAAR BANK CONTINUES FOCUS ON CORE RETAIL BANKING BUSINESS UNDER THE NEW GROUP STRUCTURE

30 Apr 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 30 April 2017– Ithmaar Bank B.S.C. (closed) (Ithmaar Bank), a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced today (ed note: 30/04/17) that it is continuing operations as an Islamic retail bank that is licenced and regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) as part of the new organisation structure that was successfully completed in January 2017.
The announcement, by the Bank’s Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Abdul Rahim, follows a CBB Resolution published in the Official Gazette last Thursday (ed note: 27/04/17) regarding the termination of the Islamic retail banking licence of the former Ithmaar Bank B.S.C as part of the planned reorganisation and the process of completing the legal procedures of the reorganisation.
“I am pleased to report that, following the successful reorganisation that was competed with the start of the current year, we are continuing to focus on our core retail banking business through Ithmaar Bank B.S.C (closed) licensed by the CBB,” said Abdul Rahim. “This, we believe, allows us to better focus on improving our products and services while growing closer to our customers,” he said.
The reorganisation, which was presented by the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors and approved by shareholders in March 2016, involved the conversion of the commercial registration of Ithmaar Bank B.S.C into Ithmaar Holding B.S.C. (Ithmaar Holding). Ithmaar Holding is licensed and regulated by the CBB and listed on the Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait. Following the conversion, Ithmaar Holding retains 100 percent ownership of all assets formerly owned by Ithmaar Bank through two wholly-owned subsidiaries, the first being Ithmaar Bank B.S.C. (closed) with an Islamic retail bank CBB license which holds the core retail banking business, and IB Capital B.S.C. (closed) (IB Capital), an investment subsidiary, which holds investments and other non-core assets. The two subsidiaries are licensed and regulated by the CBB.

-ENDS-

ITHMAAR SHAREHOLDERS APPROVE ADDITIONAL LISTING ON REGIONAL STOCK EXCHANGES

02 Apr 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 02 April 2017 –Ithmaar Holding B.S.C. (formerly Ithmaar Bank B.S.C.) (Ithmaar) shareholders approved a proposal on listing Ithmaar on additional stock exchanges in the region.
The proposal, which was presented by a shareholder as an additional agenda item at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on Thursday (ed note: 30/03/17), was approved unopposed by the shareholders who welcomed the initiative.
Ithmaar Holding, which is licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain, is currently listed on the Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait. At the Thursday meeting, shareholders authorised the Board of Directors and Ithmaar management to study additional listings in various stock exchanges in the region and to complete the additional exchange listing process.
The meeting was chaired by Ithmaar Holding Board member Sheikh Zamil Abdulla Al-Zamil and attended by Directors Dr. Amani Khaled Bouresli and Nabeel Khaled Mohamed Kanoo, as well as Ithmaar Holding Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, Ithmaar Bank Chief Operating Officer, Ravindra Khot, and Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Banking Group, Abdul Hakeem Khalil Al-Mutawa. Also present were members of the Ithmaar Bank Executive Management team, as well as representatives of the Ithmaar Holding Sharia Supervisory Board, the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, statutory auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the Bahrain Bourse.
At the meeting, shareholders praised the transformation witnessed in 2016 with the successful completion of a major reorganisation as well as a complete turnaround in Ithmaar’s financial performance. The reorganised Ithmaar became fully operational with the start of 2017, concluding the full implementation of plans for a new group structure that was designed to provide greater insight into the strength of the core retail banking operations and further facilitate the focused management of investment and non-core assets. As a result of its focus on core retail banking business, Ithmaar reported a net profit of US$13.80 million for 2016, compared to a US$46.40 million net loss reported for 2015. Net profit attributable to equity holders for the year ended 31 December 2016 was US$3.28 million, compared to a net loss US$60.80 million reported for 2015.
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ITHMAAR SHAREHOLDERS REVIEW 2016 PERFORMANCE WITH REPORTED PROFITS AND SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF REORGANISATION

30 Mar 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 30 March 2017 –Ithmaar Holding B.S.C. (formerly Ithmaar Bank B.S.C.) (Ithmaar) shareholders praised the transformation witnessed in 2016 with the successful completion of a major reorganisation as well as a complete turnaround in Ithmaar’s financial performance.
This followed an announcement that the reorganised Ithmaar became fully operational with the start of 2017, concluding the full implementation of plans for a new group structure that was designed to provide greater insight into the strength of the core retail banking operations and further facilitate the focused management of investment and non-core assets. As a result of its focus on core retail banking business, Ithmaar earlier reported a net profit of US$13.80 million for 2016, compared to a US$46.40 million net loss reported for 2015. Net profit attributable to equity holders for the year ended 31 December 2016 was US$3.28 million, compared to a net loss US$60.80 million reported for 2015.
The announcements were made by Ithmaar Board Member, Sheikh Zamil Abdulla Al-Zamil, who chaired Ithmaar’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) and the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) which followed. Also present at the meetings, which were held at the Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel in Bahrain, were Directors and members of the Ithmaar Executive Management team, representatives of its Sharia Supervisory Board, the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, statutory auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the Bahrain Bourse.
The plans for a new group structure, which were discussed and approved at the last shareholders’ meeting on 28 March 2016, involved conversion of the commercial registration of Ithmaar Bank B.S.C into Ithmaar Holding B.S.C. (Ithmaar Holding). Ithmaar Holding is licensed and regulated by the CBB and listed on the Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait. Following the conversion, Ithmaar Holding retains 100 percent ownership of all assets formerly owned by Ithmaar Bank through two wholly-owned subsidiaries, Ithmaar Bank B.S.C. (c), an Islamic retail bank subsidiary which holds the core retail banking business, and IB Capital B.S.C. (c) (IB Capital), an investment subsidiary, which holds investments and other non-core assets. The two subsidiaries are licensed and regulated by the CBB.
At the meeting, Sheikh Zamil extended, on behalf of the Board and the Executive Management team, sincere thanks and appreciation to the Central Bank of Bahrain, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, the Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait for their outstanding support which has led to the completion of the two-year long reorganisation project successfully and on time. During the EGM, shareholders also approved amendments to the Memorandum and Articles of Association of Ithmaar Holding.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that 2016 has been a year of remarkable transformation at Ithmaar,” said Sheikh Zamil. “Throughout the year, the focus remained on implementing the new group structure while continuously developing our core retail banking business. Ithmaar’s performance in 2016 is testimony to the success of these efforts, and we are confident that this growth will continue following the completion of the reorganisation and the formal commencement of the new group structure with the start of 2017,” he said.
Ithmaar Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said the financial results are a direct consequence of the clear focus on core retail banking business.
“In 2016, Ithmaar conducted certain process-reengineering initiatives to improve efficiency at the branches as well as enhance customer experiences at all possible touch points,” said Abdul Rahim. “As a result of Ithmaar’s consistent efforts in Bahrain to enhance its products, expand its network and introduce new services, retail banking customer current accounts, savings accounts, Thimaar and URIA deposits, increased by 10.9 percent in 2016, from US$1.72 billion at the end of 2015 to US$1.91 billion. Ithmaar’s financing business also increased by 7.2 percent, from US$1.18 billion at the end of 2015 to US$1.27 billion. The growth was driven mainly by home financing, which increased by 51 percent in 2016,” he said.
“Ithmaar’s success in 2016 is perhaps most clearly reflected in the growth in net income, before overseas taxation, which amounted to US$36.74 million for 2016, a complete turnaround from a net loss of US$17.07 million, before overseas taxation, reported for 2015. Total assets also increased to US$8.34 billion as at 31 December 2016, an increase of 2.5 percent from US$8.14 billion as at 31 December 2015,” said Abdul Rahim. “This is, in a large part, a result of continuously improving Ithmaar’s products and services while also keeping costs and expenses under control. Total expenses for 2016, for example, amounted to US$192.10 million, a marginal increase from the total expenses of US$190.41 million reported for 2015, despite the continuous expansion of Ithmaar’s retail banking operations both in Bahrain and in Pakistan,” he said.
“Our focus on business growth and enhanced customer satisfaction, however, did not distract us from our commitment to our social responsibilities and, in 2016, we continued to making real and meaningful contributions to the community in which we operate” said Abdul Rahim. “This, along with our clear commitment to transparency, has not gone unnoticed and, in 2016, the World Islamic Banking Conference singled Ithmaar out from among the world’s Islamic banks and presented it with a prestigious international award in recognition of its Corporate Social Responsibility and Financial Disclosure,” he said.
“The achievements of 2016 are made all the more impressive by Ithmaar’s continuously improving financial performance,” said Abdul Rahim. “The balance sheet continues to be stable, and our customer deposits continue to grow as is evident from the equity of unrestricted investment account holders growing to US$2.77 billion as at 31 December 2016, a 15.5 percent increase compared to US$2.40 billion as at 31 December 2015,” he said.
“This increase reflects customer confidence in Ithmaar, and is further evidence that efforts to grow continuously closer to customers are paying off,” said Abdul Rahim. “Current accounts and due to investors, for example, grew to US$3.48 billion as at 31 December 2016, a 9.3 percent increase compared to US$3.19 billion as at 31 December 2015. Financings Murabaha, Musharaka and Ijarah also increased to US$3.93 billion as at 31 December 2016, a 5.7 percent increase from US$3.72 billion as at 31 December 2015,” he said.
In 2016, Ithmaar further expanded its retail banking network, both in Bahrain where it added a new full-service branch in Galali and two Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in Hamad Town, as well as in Pakistan, where Faysal Bank Limited added 75 new, full-service Islamic branches.
In line with its commitment to continuously improving its products and services, Ithmaar partnered with Batelco and Arab Financial Services to launch Bahrain’s first ever mobile payment solution, EasyPay, in 2016. The solution uses secure Near Field Communication (NFC) tags to eliminate the need for cash or cards by allowing customers to shop simply by tapping their mobile phones at Point of Sale (POS) machines. The formal launch earlier this year marked a key milestone for the Bahrain retail market, potentially revolutionizing shopping experiences of the customers with secure, real-time payments now possible directly from their mobile phones.
At the end of the meetings, the Chairman thanked the attendees, as well as all shareholders, customers and investors for their continued support and confidence in Ithmaar.
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ITHMAAR BANK OFFERS GULF AIR DISCOUNTS FOR CARDHOLDERS

07 Mar 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN– 7 March 2017: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, has renewed a joint promotion with Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain that grants Ithmaar Bank cardholders discounted prices for tickets purchased on gulfair.com.
Under this agreement, Ithmaar Bank Credit Card and eCard holders receive a 10 percent discount when purchasing Gulf Air tickets online. The offer is applicable on all the national carrier’s online fares for both Falcon Gold (business) and economy class tickets purchased from the official Gulf Air website, www.gulfair.com, using a discount code that will be distributed to all Ithmaar Bank cardholders. The promotion is valid until 31 December 2017.

“Ithmaar Bank is committed to becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank,” said Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Banking Group, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa. “In line with that commitment, we are continuously improving our products and services to ensure we remain the Islamic retail bank of choice among the people of Bahrain. This agreement with Gulf Air, for example, provides Ithmaar Bank customers preferential pricing, enabling them to travel to their favourite destinations at discounted prices on Bahrain’s national carrier,” he said.
“We are pleased to renew this promotion with Ithmaar Bank giving Ithmaar Bank cardholders the chance to continue experiencing Gulf Air’s hallmark Arabian hospitality and award-winning services at exclusive rates,” said Gulf Air Chief Commercial Officer, Ahmed Janahi.

To view the discount code, visit www.ithmaarbank.com/offers

ITHMAAR HOLDING (FORMERLY ITHMAAR BANK B.S.C.) ANNOUNCES 2016 PROFITS, REPORTS CONTINUED GROWTH IN CORE BUSINESS

27 Feb 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 27 February 2017 – Ithmaar Holding BSC (formerly Ithmaar Bank BSC) (Ithmaar) reported today (ed note: 27/02/17) a net profit of US$13.80 million for the year ended 31 December 2016, compared to a net loss of US$46.40 million reported for 2015. Net profit attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the year ended 31 December 2016 was US$3.28 million, compared to a net loss US$60.80 million reported for 2015.
The 2016 financial results include a net loss for the three-month period ended 31 December 2016 of US$2.93 million compared to the net loss of US$57.79 million reported for the same period last year. Net loss attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the three-month period ended 31 December 2016 was US$3.23 million compared to the US$62.90 million net loss reported for the same period last year.
The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, follows the review and approval, by the Board of Directors, of Ithmaar’s consolidated financial results for the year ended 31 December 2016.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that Ithmaar has returned to profitability for 2016 as it continues to show stable growth in its core retail banking business,” said HRH Prince Amr. “This is most clearly reflected in Ithmaar’s net income, before overseas taxation, which amounted to US$36.74 million, for the year ended 31 December 2016, a 315 percent increase and a complete turnaround from the US$17.07 million net loss, before overseas taxation, reported for 2015,” he said.
“This is, in a large part, a result of continuously improving Ithmaar’s products and services while also keeping costs and expenses under control,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Total expenses for the year ended 31 December 2016, for example, amounted to US$192.10 million, a marginal increase from the total expenses of US$190.41 million reported for 2015. This is despite the continuous expansions of Ithmaar’s retail banking operations both in Bahrain and in Pakistan, where 75 new branches were opened in 2016.” he said.
“Ithmaar’s financial performance in 2016 is testimony to the efforts invested in focusing on developing the Bank’s core retail banking business,” said HRH Prince Amr. “We are confident that, following the completion of the reorganisation and the formal commencement of the new group structure this year, we will further develop this growth,” he said.
The new structure, which was proposed by the Bank’s Board of Directors and approved by shareholders in March 2016, resulted in the conversion of Ithmaar Bank B.S.C into Ithmaar Holding B.S.C. (Ithmaar Holding), which is licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain
(CBB) and is listed on the Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait. Ithmaar Holding retains 100 percent ownership of all assets formerly owned by Ithmaar Bank B.S.C., through two wholly-owned subsidiaries Ithmaar Bank B.S.C (closed) (Ithmaar Bank), an Islamic retail bank subsidiary which holds the core retail banking business, and IB Capital B.S.C. (closed) (IB Capital), an investment subsidiary, which holds investments and other non-core assets. The two subsidiaries are licensed and regulated by the CBB.

“In this context, we extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to the Central Bank of Bahrain and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism as well as the Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait for their outstanding support which has led to the completion of the two-year long reorganisation project successfully on time,” said HRH Prince Amr.

Ithmaar Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, noted that the 2016 financial results demonstrate that Ithmaar’s efforts to grow its core retail banking business were paying off, and said the new structure will facilitate it taking advantage of new growth opportunities and help generate greater value to shareholders.
“I am pleased to report that Ithmaar’s financial performance in 2016 indicates that efforts to focus on our core retail banking business are clearly paying off,” said Abdul Rahim. “The core business areas of financing, customer deposits, and unrestricted investment account holders have achieved good growth, resulting in increasing total assets to US$8.34 billion as at 31 December 2016, an increase of 2.5 percent from US$8.14 billion as at 31 December 2015,” he said.
“I am pleased, also, to report that our customer deposits continue to grow,” said Abdul Rahim. “This is evident from the equity of unrestricted investment account holders growing to US$2.77 billion as at 31 December 2016, a 15.5 percent increase compared to US$2.40 billion as at 31 December 2015,” he said.
“This increase reflects customer confidence in Ithmaar, and is a further evidence that Ithmaar’s efforts to grow continuously closer to its customers are paying off,” said Abdul Rahim. “Current accounts and due to investors, for example, grew to US$3.48 billion as at 31 December 2016, a 9.3 percent increase compared to US$3.19 billion as at 31 December 2015. Total Financing (Murabaha, Musharaka and Ijarah) also increased to US$3.93 billion as at 31 December 2016, a 5.7 percent increase from US$3.72 billion as at 31 December 2015,” he said.
“The shareholders’ equity increased to US$427.4 million as at 31 December 2016, a 3.2 percent increase from US$414.2 million as at 31 December 2015,” said Abdul Rahim.
Abdul Rahim also thanked the CBB and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, as well as the Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait for their continued guidance and support.

“The new group structure will assist the Bank’s long-term strategy for growth by providing greater insight into the strength of its core retail banking operations and further facilitating the focussed management of the Group’s investment assets,” said Abdul Rahim.
“The financial results consistently show that our efforts to significantly transform the Group’s operations and focus on developing our core business are paying off, and that we are on the right track,” said Abdul Rahim. “The new structure is the next logical step in this process, and underlines our commitment to become one of the region’s leading Islamic financial institution,” he said.
In 2016, Ithmaar further expanded its retail banking network, both in Bahrain where it added a new full-service branch in Galali and two Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in Hamad Town, as well as in Pakistan, where Faysal Bank Limited added 75 new, full-service Islamic branches.
In line with its commitment to continuously improving its products and services, Ithmaar partnered with Batelco and Arab Financial Services to launch Bahrain’s first ever mobile payment solution, Easy Pay, in 2016. The solution uses secure Near Field Communication (NFC) tags to eliminate the need for cash or cards by allowing customers to shop simply by tapping their mobile phones at Point of Sale (POS) machines. The formal launch earlier this year marked a key milestone for the Bahrain retail market, potentially revolutionizing shopping experiences of the customers with secure, real-time payments now possible directly from their mobile phones.
Ithmaar was last year singled out among the world’s Islamic banks for a prestigious international award in recognition of its Corporate Social Responsibility and Financial Disclosure. The independent award was presented at the World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) that was in Bahrain last year in strategic partnership with the CBB. The WIBC is a high-profile event, which was attended by leading international banking experts, and is widely recognised as one of the most important events on the world Islamic banking calendar.

ITHMAAR BANK ENHANCES SERVICE TO CUSTOMERS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

19 Feb 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 19 February 2017: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, organised sign language training sessions for branch employees to help them better communicate with customers with hearing disabilities and improve their banking experience.
The training sessions were organised in line with the Bank’s long-standing commitments both to playing a real and meaningful role in the community and to continuously improving its customers’ Islamic banking experiences. The sessions, which were organised by the Ithmaar Bank Human Resources department in cooperation with the Bahrain Deaf Society, were delivered by a specialised instructor at the Bank’s headquarters in Seef.
“As a pioneering Islamic retail bank, we take our responsibilities towards our community very seriously,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “As a result, we have always tried to accommodate the requirements of customers with special needs,” he said.
“On the request of the Central Bank of Bahrain, the Kingdom’s banking and financial services regulator, we introduced a range of additional new services in 2016 specifically for customers with special needs,” said Abdul Rahim. “As part of that initiative, we arranged specialised training sessions for branch employees to allow them to communicate using sign language with hearing impaired customers. The training sessions concluded in December,” he said.
“We organised these specialised sign language training sessions to help our employees gaining new skills,” said Ithmaar Bank Head of Human Resources, Enas Rahimi. “This, in turn, contributes both to improving the quality of life for people with special needs in Bahrain and to developing the Kingdom’s banking and finance industry,” she said.
“The training sessions were developed by specialised experts specifically to meet the requirements of hearing disabled bank customers,” said Rahimi. “Ultimately, our goal is to develop qualified employees who can serve hearing impaired customers. This will help maintain customer confidentiality and improve their Islamic banking experience,” she said.

ITHMAAR BANK HOSTS ANNUAL STAFF GATHERING, HONOURS LONG-SERVING EMPLOYEES

12 Feb 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 12 February 2017: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, celebrated its employees’ achievements and honoured long-serving staff at the Bank’s Annual Staff Gathering.
The annual event, held in line with Ithmaar Bank’s long-standing tradition of recognising employee commitment and dedication, was attended by more than 330 employees from the Bank’s various departments, including outsourced staff, trainees, temporary contract employees, office attendants and security guards.
Speaking at the event, the Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, thanked all the employees for their contributions, particularly the long-serving employees, and congratulated them on their achievements.
“The Annual Staff Gathering is an opportunity for all of us to get together in a less formal setting, away from our professional roles and responsibilities, and get to know one another on a more personal level,” said Abdul Rahim. “This reinforces our shared sense of purpose as we march together towards our common goals,” he said.
“At Ithmaar Bank, we have long maintained that, ultimately, it is the quality of our people that drives our continued success,” said Abdul Rahim. “Our collective success, as a financial institution, is a direct result of our individual achievements as employees,” he said.
“The past year has been as busy one for all of us, and we have much to be proud of,” said Abdul Rahim. “We continued expanding our retail banking network, adding a full-service branch in Galali and two Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in Hamad Town, as well as enhancing our products and services. Our focus on business expansion did not distract us from our long-standing commitment to the community and, in the past year, we organized summer internships for 52 students from different universities across Bahrain,” he said.
“Our achievements have helped earn the Bank a prestigious WIBC award in recognition of our Corporate Social Responsibility and Financial Disclosure,” said Abdul Rahim. “Meanwhile, our employees won first place at the Nations Category in the Bahrain SWS Endurance Championship and, although it was the first time we participated in the Annual Banking and Financial Institutions Futsal Tournament hosted by Al Najma Club, our team qualified for the semi-finals. Our employees also won second place in the “Project Convention Team Building Game” hosted by BIBF,” he said.
“Last year, we also launched the Bank’s Career Progression Plan, a new initiative designed to groom Bahrain’s future leaders by developing employees who demonstrate exceptional potential,” said Abdul Rahim.
The Annual Staff Gathering was organised by the Ithmaar Bank’s Social Committee and hosted at the Crowne Plaza.
“Our employees are our most valued assets, and the Annual Staff Gathering is an opportunity to celebrate our joint achievements and reinforce our shared commitments,” said Ithmaar Bank Head of Human Resources, Enas Rahimi, who also heads the Bank’s Social Committee. “In particular, it is also an opportunity to celebrate our long-serving employees – especially those who have completed 25, 15 and ten years – as well as our long-serving office attendants and security guards who have served 15, ten and five years. The fact that so many of us have been with the Bank for so long is a reflection of the shared, mutual commitment between the employees and the Bank,” she said.
The following Ithmaar Bank employees received Long Service Awards: Twenty-five Years: Ali Mohammed Ali Janahi; Fifteen Years: Abdulla Hussain Ebrahim Al-Mulla; Ten Years: Khalil Ebrahim Mohammed Qabeel, Alya Ghuloom Hasan Malalla, Najla Jassim Mohammed Hasan, Abdulla Yousif Abdulla Al-Najdi, Maryam Mohamed Abdulla Khonji, Abdulla Ali Abdulla Al-Jowder, Sami Abdulla Ahmed Bucheeri, Eman Ali Abdul Aziz Mohammed, Isa Mohammed Ahmed Al Rashid, Salman Ahmed Dawood Ahmed, Jamal Rashid Abdulla Al-Senan, Abdulrahman Aamer Abdulrahman Al-Aamer, Ebrahim Hussain Ebrahim Rostam, Abdulla Mustafa Husain Amer, Abdulla Nooraldin Mohammed Al-Khateeb, Syed Shahzad Bukhari, and Dana Aqeel Mahmood Raees.
The following outsourced office attendant and security guards received Long Service Awards: Fifteen Years: Jafar Ahmed Abdul Hashem; Ten Years: Muhammad Zohoor Bagh, Musthaffa cheethayil, Ashraf Parkkal, Bandacita Mathias and Rashid Kamal Uddin; Five Years: Kamal Omar, Shamal Kartick Chowdhury, Abdul Haleem Nuruzzaman, Mohammed Omar Faruq, Yousup Shamsul Huda, Monjur Mofizur Rahman, Shorab Khurshid Alam, Ebrahim Sale Ahmmed, Zahirul Islam Mohd, Kombo Isamil, Ameer Batcha Basheer Ahmed, Krishna Kumar Sherestha, Nasir Hassan, Abul Hashem Muzaffar Ali and Mohammed Hanif Abu Taher.

ITHMAAR BANK LAUNCHES ADDITIONAL NEW SERVICES FOR CUSTOMERS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

24 Jan 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 24 January 2017: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced today (ed note: 24/01/17) that it has introduced additional new services at its Main Branch for customers with special needs.
The new services, which were introduced before the end of last year on the request of the Central Bank of Bahrain, the Kingdom’s banking and financial services regulator, include adapting the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) to offer voice-guided sessions for cash withdrawals, balance enquiries and Personal Identification (PIN) changes. The ATM height was also lowered to provide easier access from a wheel chair. Ithmaar Bank also assigned a dedicated, clearly-marked desk to serve customers with special needs on a priority basis; created new Braille forms for visually impaired customers; and adapted existing procedures to further improve their Islamic banking experience. The Bank also assigned employees to special training courses – including sign language for banking terms – so they may better serve customers with special needs.
“As a pioneering Islamic retail bank, Ithmaar Bank has long recognised the important role we must play in serving our local community,” said Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Banking Group, Abdulhakeem Al Mutawa. “Although we offer all our products and services to all customers without discrimination, we have always gone that extra mile in supporting those who require additional assistance,” he said.
“We have always, for example, had dedicated, clearly-marked parking facilities for customers with special needs at our Main Branch, and both the Branch and the ATM were designed to be wheelchair accessible,” said Al Mutawa. “Dedicated Ithmaar Bank employees with special training provide immediate service to customers with special needs, such as those with visual, hearing or other physical impairments. This is in addition, of course, to the fact that all Ithmaar Bank branches are designed to offer suitable waiting areas for all customers, including disabled and senior citizens.” he said.
“As a long-standing rule, all transactions of customers with visual impairments have always been conducted in the presence of the customer’s representative, as well as two Ithmaar Bank employees to ensure the customer’s security,” said Al Mutawa.
“Ithmaar Bank is committed to becoming the Islamic bank of choice in Bahrain,” said Al Mutawa. “With the guidance and support of the CBB, we will continue to work towards improving our products and services so we can better serve all Bahrain’s people – including those with special needs,” he said.

ITHMAAR HOSTS POST GRADUATE STUDENTS FROM MOROCCO

21 Jun 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 21 June 2017 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, hosted a delegation of post graduate students from Morocco who were visiting the Kingdom as part of their university programme.
The delegation of Master’s Degree students from the Dauphine University in Casablanca, Morocco, was headed by the University’s Director of the Executive Master Principles and Practices of Islamic Finance, Kader Merbouh. The visit, which was organised by the General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI), included meetings with various leading organisation in Bahrain.
The delegation choose to visit Bahrain because of its significance as a regional key Islamic financial hub which helps contribute to their mission of establishing Morocco’s first Islamic financial institution. The students, who has specifically requested in-depth information about operational risk and compliance management application in an Islamic bank, attended a detailed presentation, delivered by the Ithmaar Bank Chief Risk Officer, Krishnan Hariharan, on their key area of study.
“As a pioneering Islamic retail Bank, we recognise the important role we must play both in contributing to the development of the region’s Islamic banking and finance industry, and in playing a real and meaningful role in our extended community,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “This visit, which was arranged by CIBAFI, is a great example and allowed us to share first hand insight with postgraduate students who are well on their way to becoming the next generation of leaders,” he said.
-Ends-

ITHMAAR BANK IMPROVES THIMAAR, REDUCING MINIMUM AMOUNT AND INCREASING TOTAL WINNERS

14 Jan 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 14 January 2017: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, re-launched its Thimaar savings account for a new year, reducing the minimum amount of savings required to win a prize and increasing both the total number of winners and the total prize purse.
The improvements to Ithmaar Bank’s Thimaar offering were made in line with the Bank’s commitment to listening closely to its customers’ requirements and using their feedback to continuously improve its products and services. As a result, the new Thimaar reduces the minimum deposit to BD30, currently the lowest offered by any prize-based savings account in Bahrain, while also increasing the number of winners to 4,044, currently the highest in Bahrain, as well as the total prize purse to USD3,000,000, one of the biggest in the Kingdom. The new Thimaar Account rolls out from Sunday (ed note 15/01/17).
“Ithmaar Bank is committed to becoming the Islamic retail bank of choice,” said Ithmaar Bank Assistant General Manager, Head of Retail Banking, Mohammed Janahi. “In line with that commitment, we are constantly working to enhance our customers’ Islamic banking experience,” he said.
“Prize-based savings accounts have become an almost standard offering among both Islamic and conventional retail banks in Bahrain,” said Janahi. “However, having listened attentively to our customers’ feedback, we recognised a need to reduce the minimum saving required to be eligible for a prize. We also noticed a pronounced, perhaps obvious, customer demand for increased chances to win – and we restructured the new Thimaar accordingly,” he said.
In 2017, Thimaar will offer a total of USD3,055,000 in prizes – including USD1,020,000 monthly prizes, USD900,000 loyalty prizes, USD600,000 Eid prizes, USD200,000 semi-annual prizes and USD125,000 national day prizes – to a total of 4,044 winners, including 840 Junior winners.
Every BD30 maintained as an average daily balance qualifies a customer to enter the draws. The more customers save, and the longer they maintain balances in multiples of BD30, the more opportunities they have to win.

ITHMAAR BANK CUSTOMER WINS AUDI CAR AND US$25,000 CASH IN QUARTERLY THIMAAR DRAW

11 Jan 2017

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 11 January 2017: Ithmaar Bank customer who participated in Ithmaar Bank’s prize-based saving account Thimaar was presented with a luxury car and US$25,000 in prize money winning the latest quarterly prize.
Thimaar was introduced by Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, to encourage a more responsible saving pattern by offering prize-linked incentives alongside anticipated profits to the customers. Every year since its launch almost six years ago, Thimaar has been revised to include new prize schemes and, during 2016, Ithmaar Bank distributed 4,000 prizes totalling US$2.3 million.
The latest Thimaar prize, an Audi A6 and US$25,000 in prize money, was awarded to Rafiqul Islam Masum Habibur Rahman, a Bangladeshi national, who won the fourth quarterly Thimaar prize following a draw on 5 January that was supervised by representatives from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, external supervisors, Key Point, and the Bank’s own internal auditors.
The prize was presented at a ceremony held at Seef Mall and attended by Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Banking Group, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa and other senior officials from the Bank. Ithmaar Bank also announced 187 other Thimaar winners following the draw, including a US$10,000 monthly prize winner, 93 US$1,000 Thimaar winners, and 93 US$200 Thimaar Junior winners.
Thirty-two year old Rahman said this is the biggest prize he has ever won, and that becoming a Thimaar winner could significantly improve his life.
“Winning a luxury car as well as thousands of dollars at the same time is a really big deal for anyone, particularly me,” said Rahman. “Although this was, obviously, something I had always hoped for, it was not something I really expected and I am not sure what I will do with the prize yet,” he said.
“It is the first time I win a Thimaar prize and I feel really blessed to have won such a large one. I am sure will help me in many different ways,” said Rahman. “I would not have won if I had not participated, and I am really glad I decided to start saving with Ithmaar Bank. In fact, I will encourage my family and friends to save with Thimaar,” he said.
Al Mutawa congratulated Rahman and all Thimaar prize winners, and wished them all continued success.
“It is always such a delight to present Thimaar winners with their prizes,” said Al Mutawa. “The prizes, which reward responsible savings, often have significant effects on the winners’ lives and we are truly pleased to be part of that experience,” he said.
“Ithmaar Bank is committed to becoming the Islamic retail bank of choice in Bahrain,” said Al Mutawa. “To do so, we work towards continuously enhancing our customers’ Islamic banking experience as well as on continuously developing our products and services,” he said.
In its current format, Thimaar provided US$3,600 in daily prizes, one US$10,000 monthly prize, four car and cash quarterly prizes totalling US$300,000, and US$600,000 in Eid prizes. Every BD50 maintained as an average daily balance qualifies a customer to enter the draws. The more customers save, and the longer they maintain balances in multiples of BD50, the more opportunities they have to win.
The full list of winners is available at www.ithmaarbank.com/thimaar

BAHRAIN INDUSTRY LEADERS PARTNER TO LAUNCH FIRST OF ITS KIND MOBILE PAYMENT SERVICE

08 Jan 2017

Manama, Bahrain: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Batelco, Bahrain’s leading telecom provider, and Arab Financial Services (AFS), one of the region’s leading electronic payments outsourcing service providers, to launch the Kingdom’s first ever mobile payment service.
The new service uses secure Near Field Communication (NFC) tags to eliminate the need for cash or cards by allowing customers to shop simply by tapping their mobile phones at the checkout counters of participating merchants. The launch marks a key milestone for the Bahrain retail market, potentially revolutionising customer shopping experiences with secure, real-time payments now possible directly from their mobile phone.
To use the new service, customers subscribe for an Ithmaar Bank prepaid eCard at their nearest Batelco shop or Ithmaar Bank branches and receive their NFC tags, which can then be used at participating merchants.
Batelco Bahrain CEO Eng. Muna Al Hashemi stressed on the new service translating Batelco’s drive to introduce the best-in-class digital solutions using cutting-edge technology.
“Batelco has continuously embedded innovation as a central to its strategy with the aim of delivering first class customer experience. This new service is a step forward towards this aim, opening exciting opportunities in the future as technology, digital banking and customers’ needs continue to evolve,” she added.
“Batelco and Ithmaar Bank customers can now enjoy a hassle-free transaction at the partnered retail outlets through this convenient and reliable service.” She added.
Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said the new service builds on the Bank’s history of innovation and its commitment to offering customers a premium Islamic banking experience.
“Ithmaar Bank played a pioneering role in the establishment and subsequent development of Islamic banking in the region,” said Abdul Rahim. “We developed this new service with AFS, the technology provider, in line with our long-standing commitment to continuously improving our products and services, and are pleased to be partnering with Batelco to help make this innovative service available to as many people as possible,” he said.
Arab Financial Services CEO B Chandrasekhar commented, “AFS has been a leader in providing innovative payment services in MENA region for over three decades. We are proud to launch the first of its kind NFC enabled mobile payments solution in Bahrain and are delighted to partner with Batelco and Ithmaar Bank for this service. We have plans to introduce more innovative products to create an enhanced customer experience.”

THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEW WEBSITES OF ITHMAAR HOLDING B.S.C., ITHMAAR BANK B.S.C. (C), AND IB CAPITAL B.S.C. (C) TO REFLECT THE NEW ITHMAAR GROUP STRUCTURE IS UNDER PROGRESS.

02 Jan 2017

The development of new websites of Ithmaar Holding B.S.C., Ithmaar Bank B.S.C. (c), and IB Capital B.S.C. (c) to reflect the new Ithmaar Group structure is under progress.
In the interim, the current website will continue to function without any changes until it is enhanced in due course without impacting our services.

Ithmaar Bank B.S.C., a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced today (ed note: 020116) that it has obtained final approval from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), the Kingdom’s banking and financial services regulator on the completion of all requirements with respect to the reorganisation plan. This aims to further develop the growth achieved in Ithmaar Bank’s core retail banking business, the strategic focus of the Bank.

The new structure was proposed by the Bank’s Board of Directors and approved by shareholders at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) in March 2016. This resulted in the conversion of the existing Commercial Registration into Ithmaar Holding B.S.C. (Ithmaar Holding), which is licensed and regulated by the CBB and continues to be listed on the Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait.

Ithmaar Holding retains 100 percent ownership of all assets owned by Ithmaar Bank, through its two wholly-owned subsidiaries: Ithmaar Bank B.S.C (closed) (Ithmaar Bank), an Islamic retail bank subsidiary which holds the core retail banking business, and IB Capital B.S.C. (closed), an investment subsidiary, which holds investments and other non-core assets. The two subsidiaries are licensed and regulated by the CBB.

Following final regulatory and other necessary approvals and the required procedures, the shares will be traded in the name of Ithmaar Holding with the ticker ITHMR

Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, who expressed his thanks and appreciation to the CBB and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, as well as the Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait for their continued guidance and support, said the new group structure will further consolidate Ithmaar Bank’s position as a strong retail-focussed premier Islamic retail bank under the Ithmaar brand, allowing the Bank to take advantage of new growth opportunities, and help to generate greater value to our shareholders.

“The reorganization is designed to assist in realising our long-term strategy for growth by providing greater insight into the strength of our core retail banking operations and further facilitating the focussed management of the Group’s investment assets,” said Abdul Rahim. “The new structure will help lower the risk profile of the new banking entity and enhance shareholder value through growth and improved performance in the core business,” he said.
”Ithmaar Bank’s mailing address, call centre number, main office telephone number and all other telephone numbers will remain unchanged,” said Abdul Rahim. “Customers can continue to use existing cheque books, debit cards, credit cards, and eCards that bear the trademark of Ithmaar Bank,” he said.

“The financial results consistently show that our efforts to significantly transform the Group’s operations and focus on developing our core business are paying off, and that we are on the right track,” said Abdul Rahim. “The decision to reorganise the Group is the logical step in this process, and underlines our commitment to become one of the region’s leading Islamic retail banks,” he said.
“By allocating our assets into separate subsidiaries, we will be able to better focus on our core retail banking businesses held in Ithmaar Bank, which includes Faysal Bank Limited, Pakistan, a retail and corporate banking subsidiary of Ithmaar Bank. At the same time, we will be able to facilitate dedicated and focussed management of investment and other assets held by IB Capital,” said Abdul Rahim.

Recently, Ithmaar Bank announced it was singled out among the world’s Islamic banks for a prestigious international award in recognition of its Corporate Social Responsibility and Financial Disclosure. The independent award was presented at the World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) which was recently held in Bahrain in strategic partnership with the CBB. The WIBC is a high-profile event, which was attended by leading international banking experts, and is widely recognised as one of the most important events on the world Islamic banking calendar.

Contact Us:

Ithmaar Holding B.S.C.:
Telephone: +973 17584000, fax: +973 17584017, Email: info@ithmaarholding.com, P.O. Box: 2820, Seef Tower, Seef District, Kingdom of Bahrain

Shareholder Affairs:
Telephone: +973 17585094, fax: +973 17585133, Email: IR@ithmaarholding.com, P.O. Box: 2820, Seef Tower, Seef District, Kingdom of Bahrain

Ithmaar Bank B.S.C. (c):
Call Centre: +973 13303030, Telephone: +973 17585000, fax: +973 17585151, Email: info@ithmaarbank.com, P.O. Box: 2820, Seef Tower, Seef District, Kingdom of Bahrain

IB Capital B.S.C. (c):
Telephone: +973 17568777, fax: +973 17911707, Email: info@ibcapital.co,
P.O. Box: 2820, Seef Tower, Seef District, Kingdom of Bahrain

ITHMAAR BANK MOVES SALMABAD BRANCH TO NEW BIGGER PREMISES, BETTER LOCATION

25 Dec 2016

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 25 December 2016 –Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced that it has moved its Salmabad branch to new, larger premises with better location including parking facilities. The move was made in line with the Bank’s commitment to continuously improve its customer service offerings.

The new full-service branch in Salmabad is located opposite the AMA International University of Bahrain campus and, in addition to serving the students, also serves the fast growing commercial and industrial area nearby. The branch maintains Ithmaar Bank’s network of 18 branches and 48 ATM machines, one of the largest retail banking networks in Bahrain.

Ithmaar Bank Assistant General Manager, Head of Retail Banking, Mohammed Janahi, said the Bank continues to work towards becoming one of the region’s premier Islamic retail banks, and remains focused on growing closer to its customers.
“The Salmabad branch was relocated to help meet growing customer demand in that area,” said Janahi. “For a very large segment of our customer base, proximity is an important part of the service, and we try our best to be as close to our customers as possible, especially in fast growing or densely populated areas,” he said.

The location of the new branch was selected following a detailed study that uncovered a growing need of the expanded customer base for the Bank’s services in Salmabad. The new branch is in close proximity to large and growing number of garages and workshops, the AMA International University of Bahrain campus and a large fuel station with multiple retail outlets.

The new branch’s timings are from 8:00 am to 1pm from Sunday to Thursday; and from 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

ITHMAAR BANK WINS PRESTIGIOUS WIBC AWARD FOR WORLD’S TOP ISLAMIC BANK IN TERMS OF CSR AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

20 Dec 2016

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 20 December 2016 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, was singled out among the world’s Islamic banks for a prestigious international award in recognition of its Corporate Social Responsibility and Financial Disclosure.
The independent award was presented at the World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) which was recently held in Bahrain in strategic partnership with the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB). The high-profile event, which was attended by leading international banking experts, is widely recognised as one of the most important events on the world Islamic banking calendar.
The award was received by Ithmaar Bank Head of Human Resources, Enas Rahimi, from Sahar Kazranian, CEO of Middle East Global Advisors, WIBC’s conveners throughout its 23-year history, in the presence of Ithmaar Bank Chief Operating Officer, Ravindra Khot and General Manager Banking Group Abdulhakeem Al Mutawa.
“The Performance Awards are the WIBC’s flagship awards, and are granted to the top financial institutions based on their aggregate performance scores against multiple measures on a global, regional and country level,” said Sahar Kazranian. “This year, Ithmaar Bank topped the WIBC Leaderboard in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility and Financial Disclosure when compared to Islamic banks across the world. Its ultimate win is a testament to its commitment to transparency and impact, and I hope their leadership will inspire other banks to follow suit,” she said.
“As a pioneering Islamic retail bank, Ithmaar recognises the important role we must play both in the community in which we operate, as well as in promoting high levels of transparency in the local banking and finance industry,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “This is a responsibility we have always taken very seriously, and I am pleased to note that our efforts, with the blessings of Allah, under the guidance of the Board of Directors and with the continuous support of the Central Bank of Bahrain, are paying off and earning the Bank international praise and recognition,” he said.

ITHMAAR BANK’S RETAIL BANKING SUBSIDIARY IN PAKISTAN, FAYSAL BANK LIMITED, SHOWS IMPROVED PROFITABILITY AND EXPANDS BRANCH NETWORK

23 Nov 2016

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 20November 2016 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced today (ed note: 20/11/16) that its retail banking subsidiary in Pakistan, Faysal Bank Limited (FBL), is showing improved profitability and expanding its branch network.
The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer and FBL Vice Chairman, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, follows the review and approval by the FBL Board of Directors of the financial results for the nine months ended 30 September 2016. FBL whichhas a network of 323 branches across Pakistan, is listed on the Pakistan Stock Exchange Ltd, and is mainly engaged in corporate, commercial and consumer banking activities. Ithmaar Bank owns 66.57 percent of FBL.
“I am pleased to announce that FBL reported a profit, after tax, of US$ 35 million (PKR 3.7 billion) during the first nine months of 2016, registering a 11.5 percent increase over the profit reported for the corresponding period of 2015 despite the imposition of the Super Tax by the Government of Pakistan which amounted to US$ 3.3 million (PKR 0.35 billion),” said Abdul Rahim. “FBL plans to increase its branch network to 355 by December 2016,” he said.
“Despite pressures on the profitability of the banks in Pakistan due to low spreads, FBL was able to improve its profitability by focusing on mobilisation of low cost deposits, prudent allocation of assets and cost efficiencies,” said Abdul Rahim. “These measures helped increase the Earnings Per Share (EPS) of the Bank from PKR 2.80 to PKR 3.12,” he said.
“Total deposits of the Bank have grown from US$ 2.81 billion (PKR 292 billion) as at 31 December 2015 to US$ 3.03 billion (PKR 315 billion) as at 30 September 2016, crossing the PKR 300 billion mark which is a milestone for the Bank,” said Abdul Rahim.
FBL planned to open 75 new Islamic branches in 2016, of which43 branches have already been opened.
FBL’s financial performance has earned the Bank “AA”and “A1+” ratings for the long andshort termsrespectively, with stable outlook, from the JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Limited and the Pakistan Credit Rating Agency Limited.

ITHMAAR BANK ANNOUNCES THIRD QUARTER RESULTS ACHIEVING NET PROFITS ATTRIBUTABLE TO EQUITY HOLDERS OF $6.50 MILLION AND CONTINUED GROWTH IN CUSTOMER LIABILITIES

09 Nov 2016

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 9 November 2016 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, reported today (ed note: 9/11/16) a net profit of US$16.73 million for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2016, compared to the US$11.39 million net profit reported for the same period last year. Net profit attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2016 was US$6.50 million, compared to the US$2.11 million profit reported for the same period last year.
Net profit for the three-month period ended 30 September 2016 amounted to US$4.77 million compared to the net loss of US$1.65 million reported for the same period last year. Net profit attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the three-month period ended 30 September 2016 was US$2.10 million compared to the US$3.55 million net loss reported for the same period last year.

The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, follows the review and approval, by the Board of Directors, of the Bank’s consolidated financial results for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2016.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that Ithmaar Bank continues to report profits, that the Bank’s core retail business continues to perform well, and that Bank’s net income before overseas taxation continues to increase,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Ithmaar Bank’s continued focus on growing its core retail banking business is clearly delivering results. The financial results of the nine-month period ended September 2016 show that the Bank’s net income before overseas taxation grew to US$36.98 million, an increase of 5.9 percent compared to the US$34.92 million reported for the same period last year. The Bank’s net income before overseas taxation for the three-month period ended 30 September 2016 was US$9.42 million, an increase of 187.7 percent compared to US$3.27 million reported for the same period last year,” he said.

“I am also pleased to report that total expenses for the nine-month period September 2016 are under control and amounted to US$143.17 million, a marginal increase of 1.8 percent from the total expenses of US$140.59 million reported for the same period last year,” said HRH Prince Amr. “This is despite the continuous expansion of Ithmaar Bank’s retail banking operations both in Bahrain, where we added a new branch in Galali earlier this year, and in Pakistan, where we added 43 new branches to date,” he said.

Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said the financial results demonstrate that the Bank’s efforts to grow its core retail banking business were paying off.

“I am pleased to report that the balance sheet continues to be stable, and that our core business as well as our customer deposits continue to grow,” said Abdul Rahim. “This is evident from the equity of unrestricted investment account holders growing to US$2.45 billion as at 30 September 2016, an 11.6 percent increase compared to US$2.19 billion as at 30 September 2015, and an 11.5 percent increase compared to US$2.19 billion as at 31 December 2015,” he said.

“This increase reflects customer confidence in the Bank, and is a further evidence that the Bank’s efforts to grow continuously closer to its customers are paying off,” said Abdul Rahim. “Current accounts and due to investors, for example, grew to US$3.59 billion as at 30 September 2016, a 7.6 percent increase compared to US$3.34 billion as at 30 September 2015, and a 6.2 percent increase compared to US$3.39 billion as at 31 December 2015. Liquid assets now represent 12.7 percent of total assets compared to 10.6 percent as at 31 December 2015,” he said.

Earlier this year, Ithmaar Bank inaugurated its Qalali branch, the Bank’s fourth full-service branch in Muharraq and its eighteenth in Bahrain. Ithmaar Bank this year also installed two new Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in Hamad Town, in response to customer demands.

In line with its commitment to continuously improve its customer service offerings, Ithmaar Bank also conduced various process-reengineering exercises. In line with this same commitment, Ithmaar Bank also offered its credit card holders the chance to win prizes worth over US$75,000 as part of the Bank’s unique credit card offer. Ithmaar Bank recently also signed a Memorandum of Understating (MoU) with Eskan Bank to provide government-subsided financing for the Danaat Al Riffa development.
Earlier this year, at the Bank’s Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM), shareholders approved plans for a new group structure designed to further develop the growth achieved in the core retail banking business and the strategic focus of the Bank.

The plans involve the creation of a new holding company that will be listed on Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait and licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB). The new holding company will retain 100 percent ownership of all assets presently owned by Ithmaar Bank. These assets will be allocated into two wholly owned subsidiaries, an Islamic retail bank subsidiary, which will hold the core retail banking business, and an asset management subsidiary which will hold the investment assets. These two subsidiaries will also be licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain. The new group structure will further consolidate Ithmaar Bank’s position as a strong retail-focussed premier Islamic retail bank under the Ithmaar brand, better allowing the Bank to take advantage of new growth opportunities, and help to generate greater value to its shareholders.

The Bank is now working with regulators towards finalising necessary legal and other requirements ahead of anticipated implementation later this year. Ithmaar express its sincere thanks to the Central Bank of Bahrain and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism for their steadfast support and guidance on the implementation of the Reorganization Plan.

ITHMAAR BANK TO FINANCE “DANAT AL RIFFA” HOUSING PROJECT WITH ESKAN BANK

31 Oct 2016

Manama, Bahrain- 31 October 2016- Bahraini citizens will be offered government-subsidised financing through Ithmaar Bank to help them buy their first homes in a new development in Riffa, as part of a national scheme Mazaya (previously known as Social Housing Scheme) designed to address the Kingdom’s housing challenges.
The agreement is the second of its kind between the two institutions, as earlier this year, agreements were signed to finance the Danat Al Seef housing project.
The announcement follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understating (MoU) between Ithmaar Bank and Eskan Bank to provide government-subsided financing for the Danaat Al Riffa development, a 3 building, 6-storey, 84 apartment housing project. The development offers four designs, various two, three and four-bedroom apartment options ranging in size from 113 to 195 square meters, as well as parking facilities for the apartments.
The MOU was signed by Eskan Bank General Manager, Dr. Khalid Abdulla and Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Banking Group, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa, .
The scheme allows eligible citizens to finance their first homes through Ithmaar Bank by paying 25percent of their monthly income towards the property’s monthly instalment with the rest being paid for by the Ministry of Housing through Eskan Bank.
“As a pioneering Islamic retail bank, Ithmaar recognises the important role it must play in the local community,” said Al Mutawa. “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Ministry of Housing and Eskan Bank to help realise this ambitious scheme and provide the necessary support to customers looking to buy their first homes,” he said.
“The scheme effectively allows housing applicants to purchase residential units immediately from the private sector without having to stay on the housing services waiting list,” said Al Mutawa. “It gives the applicant the choice of purchasing a housing unit developed by an accredited developer or any housing unit approved by the Ministry,” he said.
“Ithmaar Bank is committed to playing a real and meaningful role in the community, and we are privileged to be able to participate in the scheme,” said Al Mutawa. “We are confident that, working in partnership with the Ministry of Housing and Eskan Bank, Ithmaar Bank will be able to help our customers overcome the challenges of purchasing their first home,” he said.

BAHRAINI WINS LEXUS CAR AND US$25,000 CASH IN ITHMAAR BANK’S QUARTERLY THIMAAR DRAW

24 Oct 2016

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 24 October 2016 – A Bahraini mother of four was presented a luxury car and US$25,000 in prize money after winning the third quarterly Thimaar prize.
Thimaar, a prize-based saving account, was introduced by Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, to encourage a more responsible saving pattern by offering prize-linked incentives alongside anticipated profits to the customers. Every year since its launch almost six years ago, Thimaar has been revised to include new prize schemes. This year, Ithmaar Bank is distributing 4,000 prizes totalling US$2.3 million throughout the year as Thimaar prizes, including luxury cars and cash prizes each quarter.
The latest Thimaar prize, a Lexus GS 350 and US$25,000 in prize money, was awarded to Wajeeha Abdulla Salim Mohamed Altehmazi who won the third quarterly Thimaar prize following a draw that was supervised by representatives from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, external supervisors, Key Point, and the Bank’s own internal auditors.
The prize was presented at a ceremony held at Seef Mall and attended by Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Banking Group, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa, Assistant General Manager, Head of Retail Banking, Mohammed Janahi, and other senior officials from the Bank.
Ithmaar Bank also announced 181 other Thimaar winners for the September monthly draw, including a US$10,000 top monthly prize winner. Another 90 Thimaar account holders won US$1,000 each and 90 Thimaar Junior winners won US$200 each in the daily draws.
“My family and I were pleasantly surprised when we were told about winning a Lexus car as well as US$25,000,” said Altehmazi. “We are all, obviously, very delighted and feel truly blessed,” she said. “We’ve been long-term customers of Ithmaar Bank, and would like to thank the Bank for offering its customers high chances of winning so many valuable prizes,” said Altehmazi. “We will continue to save with Thimaar savings accounts for more chances to win more amazing prizes,” she said.
Al Mutawa congratulated Altehmazi and all Thimaar prize winners, and wished them all continued success.
“The Thimaar scheme makes a compelling case for responsible savings and is an extremely attractive prospect for our customers,” said Al Mutawa. “This is perhaps best illustrated when customers like Wajeeha win prizes like her new luxury car and US$25,000 in cash,” he said.
“We are pleased to be able to bring so much joy and happiness to our customers, and wish all of them the very best for future draws,” said Al Mutawa. “We will continue to work towards enhancing our customers’ Islamic banking experience, and we remain as committed as ever to becoming the Islamic retail bank of choice in Bahrain,” he said.

Thimaar provides US$3,600 in daily prizes, one US$10,000 monthly prize, four car and cash quarterly prizes totalling US$300,000, and US$600,000 in Eid prizes. Every BD50 maintained as an average daily balance qualifies a customer to enter the draws. The more customers save, and the longer they maintain balances in multiples of BD50, the more opportunities they have to win.
The full list of winners is available at www.ithmaarbank.com/thimaar

ITHMAAR BANK TREATS EMPLOYEES TO ICE CREAM

29 Sep 2016

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 29 September 2016 – Employees at Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, were treated to ice cream as part a bank-wide employee appreciation initiative.

The initiative by the Ithmaar Bank Social Committee aimed at putting a mid-week smile on employees – and was particularly well received across the Bank.

“We can’t buy employees the smiles they deserve, so we decided to get them the next best thing – ice cream,” said Head of Ithmaar Bank Human Resources, Enas Rahimi. “The idea was to surprise employees with something we know everyone loves,” she said.

“It is a small, simple gesture to remind all our employees that we care,” said Rahimi. “We often stress that our employees are our greatest asset, but this a high-level statement that can sometimes be forgotten. Simple reminders like these can go a long way in reminding employees how valuable they are,” she said.

Rahimi thanked the Ithmaar Bank management for supporting the initiative, and the Bank’s Social Committee for arranging it.

ITHMAAR BANK’S RETAIL BANKING SUBSIDIARY IN PAKISTAN, FAYSAL BANK LIMITED, REPORTS IMPROVED PROFITABILITY

06 Sep 2016

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 06 September 2016 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced today (ed note: 06/09/16) that its retail banking subsidiary in Pakistan, Faysal Bank Limited (FBL), has maintained growth momentum and improved profitability.
The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer and FBL Vice Chairman, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, follows the review and approval by the FBL Board of Directors of the financial results for the half year ended 30 June 2016. FBL has a network of 316 branches, is listed on the Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad Stock Exchanges, and is mainly engaged in corporate, commercial and consumer banking activities. Ithmaar Bank owns 66.57 percent of FBL.
“I am pleased to announce that FBL registered a healthy profit, after tax, of US$ 27 million (PKR 2.8 billion) during the first half of 2016, registering a 10 percent increase over the profit reported for the corresponding period of 2015 despite the imposition of the Super Tax by the Government of Pakistan which amounted to US$ 3.3 million (PKR 0.35 billion),” said Abdul Rahim. “The banking industry is witnessing a period of low spreads in Pakistan and, to maintain spreads, the Bank focused its efforts on the prudent allocation of assets as well as on aggressively pursuing delinquent clients, mobilizing low cost core deposits and achieving cost efficiency. During the year, the Bank successfully executed large corporate and investment banking deals, and was also the lead arranger for entities in the energy sector. These measures helped increasing Earnings Per Share (EPS) of the Bank PKR 2.14 to PKR 2.35,” he said.
“FBL’s Balance Sheet has also grown significantly with total assets increasing by six percent to US$ 4.4 billion (PKR 455 billion) as at 30 June 2016, compared to US$ 4.1 billion (PKR 430 billion) as at 31 December 2015,” said Abdul Rahim. “Total deposits have also grown from US$ 2.81 billion (PKR 292 billion) as at 31 December 2015 to US$ 3.02 billion (PKR 315 billion) as at 30 June 2016, crossing the PKR 300 billion mark which is a milestone for the Bank,” he said.
FBL plans to open 75 new Islamic branches in 2016, of which 34 branches have already been opened so far. The Bank is also planning to become one of the top tier banks in Pakistan in the coming years through further increasing its branch network and enhancing its delivery channels.
FBL’s financial performance has earned the Bank “AA” and “A1+” ratings for the long and short terms respectively, with stable outlook, from the JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Limited and the Pakistan Credit Rating Agency Limited.

ITHMAAR BANK’S RETAIL BANKING SUBSIDIARY IN PAKISTAN, FAYSAL BANK LIMITED, REPORTS IMPROVED PROFITABILITY

06 Sep 2016

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 06 September 2016 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced today (ed note: 06/09/16) that its retail banking subsidiary in Pakistan, Faysal Bank Limited (FBL), has maintained growth momentum and improved profitability.
The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer and FBL Vice Chairman, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, follows the review and approval by the FBL Board of Directors of the financial results for the half year ended 30 June 2016. FBL has a network of 316 branches, is listed on the Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad Stock Exchanges, and is mainly engaged in corporate, commercial and consumer banking activities. Ithmaar Bank owns 66.57 percent of FBL.
“I am pleased to announce that FBL registered a healthy profit, after tax, of US$ 27 million (PKR 2.8 billion) during the first half of 2016, registering a 10 percent increase over the profit reported for the corresponding period of 2015 despite the imposition of the Super Tax by the Government of Pakistan which amounted to US$ 3.3 million (PKR 0.35 billion),” said Abdul Rahim. “The banking industry is witnessing a period of low spreads in Pakistan and, to maintain spreads, the Bank focused its efforts on the prudent allocation of assets as well as on aggressively pursuing delinquent clients, mobilizing low cost core deposits and achieving cost efficiency. During the year, the Bank successfully executed large corporate and investment banking deals, and was also the lead arranger for entities in the energy sector. These measures helped increasing Earnings Per Share (EPS) of the Bank PKR 2.14 to PKR 2.35,” he said.
“FBL’s Balance Sheet has also grown significantly with total assets increasing by six percent to US$ 4.4 billion (PKR 455 billion) as at 30 June 2016, compared to US$ 4.1 billion (PKR 430 billion) as at 31 December 2015,” said Abdul Rahim. “Total deposits have also grown from US$ 2.81 billion (PKR 292 billion) as at 31 December 2015 to US$ 3.02 billion (PKR 315 billion) as at 30 June 2016, crossing the PKR 300 billion mark which is a milestone for the Bank,” he said.
FBL plans to open 75 new Islamic branches in 2016, of which 34 branches have already been opened so far. The Bank is also planning to become one of the top tier banks in Pakistan in the coming years through further increasing its branch network and enhancing its delivery channels.
FBL’s financial performance has earned the Bank “AA” and “A1+” ratings for the long and short terms respectively, with stable outlook, from the JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Limited and the Pakistan Credit Rating Agency Limited.

ITHMAAR BANK CELEBRATES EMPLOYEES’ ACADEMIC SUCCESS

04 Sep 2016
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 4 September 2016 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, hosted a dinner celebration to honour employees who have recently earned advanced academic and professional certifications.

The celebration, which was hosted by the Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, and attended by Chief Operating Officer Ravindra Khot and Assistant General Manager, Head of Retail Banking, Mohammed Janahi, was organized by the Bank’s Human Resources Department in-line with the Bank’s long-standing commitment to celebrating employee achievements.

A total of sixteen employees from various departments, including Sharia Compliance, Retail Banking, Compliance and Anti Money Laundering, Product Management and Development, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Information Technology, Commercial and Financial Institutions, Internal Audit and Human Resources, were honoured for having earned various degrees including the Advanced Diploma in Islamic Commercial Jurisprudence, the Advanced Diploma in Islamic Finance, the CIM Professional Diploma in Marketing, the Certified Information System Auditor, the CIPD Diploma in HR Management, the CIPD Diploma in Human Resources Practices, the Certified Sharia Adviser and Auditor and the CIMA Diploma in Islamic Finance.

“Our employee are truly our greatest asset, and it is always a pleasure to join in celebrating their success,” said Abdul Rahim. “Ithmaar Bank is determined to become one of the region’s premier Islamic retail banks and, to do so, we listen closely to our customer and invest heavily in continuously developing our products and services, as well as on expanding our delivery channels and enhancing our customer service offerings. Ultimately, however, it is the quality of our people that will drive the Bank’s continued success,” he said.

“I am pleased to see so many of our employees earning such prestigious certifications,” said Abdul Rahim. “This reflects our shared commitment to excellence and I wish each one of them continued success,” he said.

Ithmaar Bank Head of Human Resources, Enas Mohammed Rahimi, joined Abdul Rahim in congratulating the employees and wishing them all the best.

“Learning is a life-time commitment and, to achieve our true potential, we must never allow ourselves to get complacent,” said Rahimi. “In earning such advanced academic and professional certifications, our employees demonstrate this very thinking and contribute, directly and in a big way, to the Bank’s continued success. We are all very proud of their achievements,” she said.

The honoured employees are: Saud Abdulaziz Hasan, who earned the Advanced Diploma in Islamic Commercial Jurisprudence; Khalil Ebrahim Qubail, Nasser Abdulla AlNaqeeb, Ali Yousif Jumaan, May A.Hameed Al Thawadi, Mohammed Abdulaziz Al Hasan, Mohammed Abdulla Al-Awadhi, Muhjah Abdulrazaq Fulad,Yousif Mohammed Al Qasim and Faisal Riyadh Sater who earned the Advanced Diploma in Islamic Finance; Mohammed Abdulnabi Hajih who earned the CIM Level 6 Professional Diploma in Marketing; Ahmed Fareed Buqais who earned the Certified Information System Auditor certification; Haleema Sayed Mohamed Al-Alawi who earned the CIPD Diploma in HR Management – Level 5; Sara Ebrahim Bucheeri who earned the CIPD Diploma in Human Resources Practices – Level 3; Esra Ahmed Al Saei who earned the Certified Shari’a Adviser and Auditor certification and Isa Ali Al Hammadi who earned the CIMA Diploma in Islamic Finance.

ITHMAAR BANK HOSTS GALALI BRANCH INAUGURATION CEREMONY

21 Aug 2016
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 21 August 2016 – In the presence of Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) executives, Ithmaar Bank (ed note: 21/08/16) hosted a formal ceremony to officially inaugurate its newest branch in Galali.

Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said that the Galali branch, the Bank’s fourth full-service branch in Muharraq and its eighteenth in Bahrain, contributes directly to the Kingdom’s flourishing banking and finance industry. He also emphasized the Bank’s commitment to serving Bahrain residents in new and developing neighborhoods.

“The new Ithmaar Bank branch is in a relatively new and very fast-developing area, with major real estate developments including Amwaj, Dilmunia and Diyar Al Muharraq quickly coming online,” said Abdul Rahim following the inauguration. “This is in addition, of course, to the fast-growing Galali neighborhood which is now almost a full city in its own right, as well as the expanding Samaheej, Dair and Hidd neighborhoods nearby,” he said.

“This continuous growth and development is testimony to the Kingdom’s vibrant economy, and a positive reflection of our banking and finance industry,” said Abdul Rahim. “We are pleased to be actively participating in and effectively contributing towards this positive growth,” he said.

The new branch gives Ithmaar Bank the widest branch network of any Islamic bank and the third largest of any bank in Bahrain.

The inauguration ceremony was also attended by CBB Executive Director of Banking Supervision Khalid Hamad, CBB Acting Director – Islamic Financial Institutions Supervision Directorate, Fahad Yateem, Ithmaar Bank Chief Operating Officer, Ravindra Khot and Assistant General Manager, Retail Banking, Mohammed Janahi and other Ithmaar Bank officials.

“Ithmaar Bank is committed to working with the CBB to continuously developing Bahrain’s Islamic banking industry and reinforcing the Kingdom’s already prominent position as one the region’s key banking hubs,” said Janahi. “We are equally committed to becoming the Islamic retail bank of choice among the people of Bahrain. We do so by listening carefully to our customers and continuously enhancing their Islamic banking experience by developing our products and services as well as our delivery channels,” he said.

“This latest branch is an example of how seriously we take these commitments,” said Janahi. “The Galali branch was commissioned in direct response to customer demands, and its inauguration adds to Bahrain’s large, well-developed and well-regulated retail banking network, while also serving residents in Muharraq’s newest neighborhood,” he said.

The Galali branch timings are from Saturday to Wednesday 7:30 am to 1:00pm; and 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Saturdays, Mondays, and Wednesdays.

ITHMAAR BANK ANNOUNCES HALF YEAR RESULTS, ACHIEVING NET PROFITS ATTRIBUTABLE TO EQUITY HOLDERS OF THE BANK OF $4.40 MILLION AND GROWTH IN CUSTOMER LIABILITIES

10 Aug 2016
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 10 August 2016 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, reported today (ed note: 10/08/16) a net profit of US$11.96 million for the first half of 2016, an 8.3 percent decrease compared to the US$13.04 million net profit reported for the same period last year. Net profit attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the first half of 2016 was US$4.40 million, a 22.2 percent decrease compared to the US$5.66 million net profit reported for the same period last year.
Net profit for the three month period ended 30 June 2016 amounted to US$7.14 million, a 31.7 percent increase from the net profit of US$5.42 million reported for the same period last year. Net profit attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the three month period ended 30 June 2016 was US$3.19 million, an increase of 5.7 percent compared to the US$3.02 million net profit reported for the same period last year.
The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, follows the review and approval, by the Board of Directors, of the Bank’s consolidated financial results for the six-month period ended 30 June 2016.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that Ithmaar Bank has reported profits, and that the Bank’s core retail business continues to perform well,” said HRH Prince Amr. “The financial results of the first half of 2016 indicate that the Bank’s operating income remains stable, at US$132.66 million, and that total expenses, at US$95.99 million, remain unchanged despite continued expansion of the Bank’s retail network,” he said.
Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said the Bank continues to work towards becoming one of the region’s premier Islamic retail banks, and remains focused on growing closer to its customers.
“I am pleased to report that the balance sheet continues to be stable, and that our core business as well as our customer accounts continue to grow,” said Abdul Rahim. “This is evident from the equity of unrestricted investment account holders growing to US$2.36 billion as at 30 June 2016, an 8.2 percent increase compared to US$2.18 billion as at 30 June 2015, and a 7.2 percent increase compared to US$2.20 billion at 31 December 2015,” he said.
“This increase, a testimony to continued customer confidence, is further evidence that the Bank’s efforts to grow continuously closer to its customers is paying off,” said Abdul Rahim. “Current accounts and due to investors, for example, grew to US$3.58 billion as at 30 June 2016, a 1.8 percent increase compared to $3.51 billion as at 30 June 2015, and a 5.6 percent increase compared to US$3.39 billion as at 31 December 2015. Liquid assets now represent 10.5 percent of total assets compared to 10.6 percent as at 31 December 2015,” he said.
As part of its focus on continuously growing closer to its customers, Ithmaar Bank inaugurated a new full-service branch in the Galali neighbourhood of Muharraq last month, increasing the total branches in Muharraq alone to four. The new branch brings Ithmaar Bank’s network to 18 branches and 48 ATM machines, making it one of the widest distribution channel networks amongst banks in Bahrain.
Earlier this year, at the Bank’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), shareholders approved plans for a new group structure designed to further develop the growth achieved in the core retail banking business and the strategic focus of the Bank.
The plans involve the creation of a new holding company that will be listed on Bahrain Bourse and Kuwait Stock Exchange and licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB). The new holding company will retain 100 percent ownership of all assets presently owned by Ithmaar Bank. These assets will be allocated into two wholly owned subsidiaries, an Islamic retail bank subsidiary which will hold the core retail banking business, and an asset management subsidiary which will hold the investment assets. These two subsidiaries will also be licensed and regulated by the CBB. This new group structure will further consolidate Ithmaar Bank’s position as a strong retail-focussed premier Islamic retail bank under the Ithmaar brand, better allowing the Bank to take advantage of new growth opportunities, and help to generate greater value to its shareholders.
Ithmaar Bank is now working with regulators towards finalising necessary legal and other requirements ahead of anticipated implementation later this year.

ITHMAAR BANK SUPPORTS HIS MAJESTY THE KING’S GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP

07 Aug 2016
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 7 August 2016 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced its continued support, for the ninth consecutive year, of the King Hamad Trophy Golf Championship which is organised by the Bahrain Golf Association.
The Championship, which will be held under the patronage of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa from 17 to 19 November at the Royal Golf Club in Riffa Views, is the highlight of the Kingdom’s golfing calendar, and one of the region’s most important sporting event.
Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Banking Group, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa, presented the Bank’s continuation, as a Gold Sponsor to Adel Al Fayyadh, the National Team Manager of the Bahrain Golf Association, member of the Supreme Organising Committee and Head of the Hospitality Committee of the Championship.
“As a pioneering Islamic retail Bank, we recognise the important role we must play in supporting the community in which we operate,” said Al Mutawa. “Sporting events are an essential component of our society, and contribute directly towards building a happier, healthier community. They deserve all possible support, and we are pleased to be able to contribute,” he said.
“We are particularly pleased to note that the Bahrain Golf Association has been organising the Championship for the past eight seasons, and that this, the ninth consecutive season, seems poised to be another grand success,” said Al Mutawa. “Ithmaar Bank has been a sponsor of the inaugural event, and we’ve continued to support the Championship every year since,” he said.
“Bahrain is the first country in the GCC to embrace this sport,” said Al Fayyadh. “The Championship attracts many players from Bahrain and other countries in the Middle East and Asia, as well as the United Kingdom. This year alone, we are expecting about 100 professional and amateur players from a number of countries and trophy and cash prizes to be won,” he said.
“The Championship also attracts a large number of spectators and golf enthusiasts from Bahrain and around the world,” said Al Fayyadh. “We are grateful to Ithmaar Bank for their valuable support throughout the years,” he said.
Meanwhile, the organising committee has stepped up its preparations to host the prestigious event. Chaired by Bahrain Golf Association’s Vice-President, Ali Sager Al Noaimi, the organising Committee held various meetings to prepare for this year’s championship. The Committee reviewed developments to provide accommodation and transportation, as well as training venues and a comprehensive schedule for the golfers during the tournament. Invitations are also being sent to associations under the umbrella of the Arab and Asian-Pacific Golf Federations.

ITHMAAR ORGANISES SUMMER INTERNSHIPS FOR UNIVERSITY STUDENTS

02 Aug 2016
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 2 August 2016 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, continued its long-standing tradition of hosting a summer internship programme for undergraduate students. The annual programme, part of Ithmaar Bank’s commitment to helping prepare future banking professionals, provides university students the opportunity to experience, first hand, the working environment at an Islamic bank.
This year, 35 undergraduate students mostly from universities in Bahrain participated in the two-month programme which was organised by the Bank’s Human Resources Department in coordination with the students and their universities. Participating students were placed in various departments at Ithmaar Bank including the Retail Banking; branches, Banking Operations; Administration; Remedial and Collection; Retail Support; Financial Control; Sharia Compliance; Business Development; Legal; Information Technology; and Marketing and Corporate Communications departments.
“As a regional Islamic banking pioneer, Ithmaar Bank recognises the important role it must play in supporting the community in which it operates,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “This is a responsibility we have always taken very seriously, and the annual Summer Internship programme is a great example as it contributes directly to helping maintain Bahrain’s position as a major financial hub in the Middle East,” he said.
“Today’s university students are tomorrow’s banking professionals and, ultimately, the industry’s leaders,” said Abdul Rahim. “Bahrain has earned itself pride of place as a key regional banking hub but, to maintain this position, we must continuously invest in our youth,” he said.
“We are delighted to be able to contribute to the development of Bahrain’s future banking leaders,” said Ithmaar Bank Head of Human Resources, Enas Rahimi. “In particular, we are pleased to help students gain the necessary skills and experiences that will help them in their banking career,” she said.
“The Summer Internship programme complements the theory taught at universities with practical, on-the-job training to help better prepare students for their employment,” said Rahimi. “The students demonstrated commitment to both learning and working during the internship and were awarded a certificate and a token cash gift,” she said.
Ithmaar Bank’s long-standing annual summer internship programme is hosted in line with the Bank’s commitment to helping develop the next generation of banking professionals. The Internship Programme offers trainees first-hand insight into the Bank’s organisational structure, as well as the key functional areas in an Islamic retail bank and an understanding of day-to-day operations. The Programme also outlines how to deal with daily challenges in real work-life situations.

ITHMAAR TO FINANCE HOUSING SOLUTIONS WITH ESKAN

01 Aug 2016
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 01 August 2016 – Bahrain citizens will be offered government-subsidised financing through Ithmaar Bank to help them buy their first homes in a new development in Seef district as part of a national scheme designed to address the Kingdom’s housing challenges.
The announcement follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understating (MoU) between Ithmaar Bank and Eskan to provide government-subsided financing for the Danaat Al Seef development, a 10 building, four-storey, 164 apartment housing project. Covering a total area of 12,881 square meters, the development is in walking distance of one of Bahrain’s key commercial areas which includes shopping malls, luxury hotels, and restaurants as well as banks and both private and public sector offices. The development offers various three and four-bedroom apartment options ranging in size from 159 to 232 square meters, as well as parking facilities for 355 cars.
The MOU was signed by Eskan Bank General Manager, Khalid Abdulla and Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdulrahim in the presence of Ithmaar Chief Operating Officer, Ravindra Khot, General Manager Banking Group, Abdul Hakim Al Mutawa, Head of Business Development, Fayza Hassan, Eskan Chief Business Officer and Deputy General Manager, Ahmed Tayarra and Head of Sales and Marketing, Parween Ali. It is the latest such agreement to follow an announcement last year that Ithmaar Bank had formally partnered with the Bahrain Ministry of Housing and Eskan Bank to help address the Kingdom’s housing challenges through the Social Housing Financing Scheme. The scheme allows eligible citizens to finance their first homes through Ithmaar Bank by paying 25percent of their monthly income towards the property’s monthly instalment with the rest being paid for by the Ministry of Housing through Eskan Bank.
“The Social Housing Financing Scheme brings together the public and private sector to help citizens overcome the financial challenges of buying their first homes,” said Eskan Bank General Manager, Khalid Abdulla. “As part of this Scheme, citizens between 35 and 45 years old may buy any home up to a value of BD120,000 and receive subsidised financing of up to BD90,000 through Ithmaar Bank or any bank participating in the Scheme. The Bank will deduct 25percent of the beneficiary’s income towards the monthly instalment, and the remaining amount of the instalment will be paid by Eskan Bank,” he said.
“The scheme was introduced by the Ministry of Housing in collaboration with the private sector to provide social housing for citizens listed on the Ministry’s housing waiting lists,” said Abdulla. “The idea is to assist beneficiaries to purchase a housing unit by obtaining financing from a participating bank, in addition to providing government financial support equivalent to the difference between the monthly instalment paid by the beneficiary, and the required instalment amount by the participating bank,” he said.
“As a pioneering Islamic retail bank, Ithmaar recognises the important role it must play in the local community,” said Abdulrahim. “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Ministry of Housing and Eskan Bank to help realise this ambitious scheme and provide the necessary support to customers looking to buy their first homes,” he said.
“The scheme effectively allows housing applicants to purchase residential units immediately from the private sector without having to stay on the housing services waiting list,” said Abdulrahim. “It gives the applicant the choice of purchasing a housing unit developed by an accredited developer or any housing unit approved by the Ministry,” he said.
“Ithmaar Bank is committed to playing a real and meaningful role in the community, and we are privileged to be able to participate in the scheme,” said Abdulrahim. “We are confident that, working in partnership with the Ministry of Housing and Eskan Bank, Ithmaar Bank will be able to help our customers overcome the challenges of purchasing their first home,” he said.

BAHRAINI WOMAN WINS A LUXURY CAR AND US$25,000 IN THIMAAR DRAW

20 Jul 2016
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 18 July 2016 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced that Shaikha Fatima bint Abdulla Al Khalifa won a BMW 528i as well as a US$25,000 cash prize in the second Quarterly Thimaar draw.

Thimaar, Ithmaar Bank’s prize-based saving account, offers various types of luxury cars and multiple cash prizes alongside anticipated profits to help encourage people to save. In addition to the Quarterly prize, Ithmaar Bank also announced 936 winners of Eid prizes as well as 181 winners of the June daily and monthly prizes following draws that were supervised by representatives from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, external supervisors, Key Point, and the Bank’s own internal auditors. In total, more than one thousand prizes were distributed to Thimaar account holders by the end of the second quarter of 2016.

Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Banking Group, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa presented Shaikha Fatima her prizes at a ceremony held at the Bank’s headquarters in Seef.

“I am delighted to win the Thimaar second quarterly prize,” said Shaikha Fatima who used to be a lecturer at the University of Bahrain’s College of Education. “This is the first time I win a grand prize from Ithmaar,” she said.
“I have been a long-term Ithmaar Bank customer and have been banking here since it was first established,” said Shaikha Fatima. “I’ve always encouraged my mother as well as my family and friends to save money with Thimaar as it always offers special prizes. I particularly liked the new Thimaar scheme that was launched earlier this year as it has increased the number of winners giving us more chances to win,” she said.

Al Mutawa congratulated Shaikha Fatima and all Ithmaar prize winners, and wished them all continued success.

“It is always a pleasure to announce the latest Thimaar winners, and even more so to present them their prizes,” said Al Mutawa. “Thimaar, now in its sixth year, is designed to offer both luxury cars and multiple cash prizes to help us bring joy and happiness to more Thimaar accountholders,” he said.

“Ithmaar Bank is committed to continuously improving its products and services, as well as to listening carefully to its customers’ demands and requirements,” said Al Mutawa. “This, we believe, will help us remain the Islamic retail bank of choice among the people of Bahrain,” he said.

The Thimaar savings account was launched with a new prize scheme earlier this year offering customers 4,000 prizes totalling US$2.3 million throughout the year. Thimaar provides various prizes including US$3,600 in daily prizes, one US$10,000 monthly prize, four luxury car and cash quarterly prizes totalling US$300,000, and US$600,000 in Eid prizes. Every BD50 maintained as an average daily balance qualifies a customer to enter the draws. The more customers save, and the longer they maintain balances in multiples of BD50, the more opportunities they have to win.

ITHMAAR LAUNCHES NEW FULL-SERVICE BRANCH IN GALALI

21 Jun 2016
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 21 June 2016 – – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced the opening of a new full-service branch in the Galali neighbourhood of Muharraq, growing its network to 18 branches and 48 ATM machines. This gives the Bank the widest branch network of any Islamic bank and the third largest of any bank in Bahrain.

“The Kingdom of Bahrain is home to a well regulated – and one of the most sophisticated and competitive – banking sectors in the region, which is a great benefit for customers because it means that local banks are constantly upgrading their services and branch networks, and offering better rates,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “Ithmaar Bank with its wide branch network in the Kingdom, is a major player in creating this healthy competitive environment,” he said.

“This branch is a direct response to growing customer demand in those areas,” said Abdul Rahim. “For a very large segment of our customer base, proximity is an important part of the service, and we try our best to be as close to our customers as possible, especially in major population centres. In fact, this newest branch is our fourth location in Muharraq, adding to our existing full-services branches in Busaiteen, Muharaq Souq and Arad,” he said.

The location of the new branch was selected following a detailed market study that uncovered a growing need for the Bank’s services in that part of Muharraq, which is in close proximity to customers living in Amwaj Islands, Samaheej, Dair, Diyar Al Muharraq and Hidd.

During Ramadan, the branch will be open from Saturday to Wednesday 8:30 am to 1:30pm; and 8:30 pm to 10:30 pm on Saturdays (25 June), and Tuesdays (28 June).

ITHMAAR BANK CONTINUES SUPPORT FOR KEY ISLAMIC BANKING CONFERENCE

15 Jun 2016
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 14 June 2016 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced today (ed note: 14/06/16) its support for a major international Islamic banking conference that will be held in Bahrain later this year.
The World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC), which will be hosted in strategic partnership with the Central Bank of Bahrain, will focus the global Islamic banking spotlight on Bahrain when the world’s leading Islamic banking experts meet, from 5 to 7 December, to review the latest issues and share insight into current trends.
“The annual event, now in its twenty-third year, is widely recognised as one of the most important events on the global Islamic banking calendar,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “This provides a valuable opportunity to showcase Bahrain’s contributions to the global Islamic banking industry,” he said.
“Ithmaar Bank has been a long-standing supporter of this key annual conference, and we remain as committed as ever to playing a key role in promoting Bahrain’s banking and finance industry,” said Abdul Rahim. “Our continued support for the WIBC is in line with our long-standing commitment to playing a real and meaningful role in supporting the development of Bahrain’s banking and finance industry. It is a commitment we take very serious and, as a pioneering Islamic retail bank, we recognise the importance of the role we must play in supporting the Islamic finance industry in Bahrain,” he said.
“In particular, we believe we must contribute to reinforcing Bahrain’s position as a key banking hub, particularly on the Islamic banking and finance arena,” said Abdul Rahim. “The WIBC, with the strategic partnership of the CBB, has significantly enhanced the importance of this event and we are pleased to be part of this major global event,” he said.
“Ithmaar Bank is committed to becoming one of the region’s premier Islamic retail banks,” said Abdul Rahim. “To do so, we invest heavily in continuously developing our products and services, on expanding our retail banking network, and on improving our customers’ Islamic banking experience,” he said.
“We made tremendous achievements in terms of growing closer to our customers, and are now one of the largest retail banking networks in Bahrain. Participating in major global events like the WIBC however provides a unique opportunity to benchmark our performance against the world’s Islamic banking industry. It is an opportunity to share both insights and experiences with the world’s best, and use these to drive further growth,” said Abdul Rahim. “This, in turn, will allow Ithmaar Bank to deliver a better Islamic banking experience to its customers and, ultimately, better value to its shareholders,” he said.

ITHMAAR BANK HOLDS FAREWELL PARTY FOR ABDULRAHMAN AL SHAIKH

05 Jun 2016
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 5 June 2016 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, held an honouring ceremony and farewell dinner for its outgoing General Manager – Banking Operations, Information Technology and Administration, Abdulrahman Mohamed Ahmed Al-Shaikh, who retired after more than 42 years of service in the banking industry.
The event, which was hosted by the Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim at the Ritz Carlton, was attended by Chief Operating Officer, Ravindra Khot, General Manager, Banking Group, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa, Assistant General Manager, Information Technology, Yousif Al Khan and other management and staff.
During the ceremony, Abdul Rahim thanked Al Shaikh for his commitment, dedication and valuable contributions over the past 25 years to Ithmaar.
“Abdulrahman contributions have, over the years, played a major role in the continuous improvement of the Bank’s performance,” said Abdul Rahim. “Throughout his long career, he remained absolutely committed to excellence and his dedication translated to tangible results and high efficiency. In particular, Abdulrahman held himself to exceptionally high moral standards and, throughout his career, brought high levels of integrity to the various departments he managed,” he said.
Khot, Al Mutawa and Al Khan also delivered brief speeches thanking Al Shaikh for his contributions, sharing some of their memories working with him, and wishing him an enjoyable retirement.
For his part, Al Shaikh said he will miss working with his colleagues, and wishing them all continued success in their work.
“I joined the group in 1991 and, throughout these many years, the group became my second family,” said Al Shaikh. “It was a privilege and an honour, and I am grateful for the many fond memories I will be taking with me,” he said.

INJAZ STUDENTS VISIT ITHMAAR BANK

25 May 2016
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 25 May 2016 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, hosted seventeen students from Hidd Secondary Girls School as well as four students from Muharraq Secondary Boys School and provided them insight into the typical work environment within the financial sector.
“This is part of the Bank’s responsibilities to prepare future generation,” said Ithmaar Bank Head of Human Resources, Enas Mohammed Rahimi. “The Bank is proud to be associated with Injaz for more than ten years as part of its corporate social responsibility,” she said.
The visit, part of the Bank’s support for the Injaz Bahrain programme for school students, was organised by the Ithmaar Bank Human Resources Department in cooperation with Injaz officials. The students visited Ithmaar Bank’s headquarters in Seef where Zahra Al Basara, an Officer from the Sales Unit of the Business Development Department, gave them a brief about how branches work and how they serve customers.
Hala Abdulla Al Saqaabi, an Associate from the Human Resources Department, also gave the students a brief about the Bank and its departments. She also delivered a presentation with advice on how to build a professional resume, how to apply for a job, and how to act before, during and after a job interview.
“Bahrain is a major financial hub in the Middle East and Ithmaar Bank, as a regional Islamic banking pioneer, is proud to help encourage high school students to study Islamic banking,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “These visits allow Ithmaar Bank to show Injaz students how banks operate and what type of job opportunities exist. This, in turn, helps to ensure the continuing growth of skilled talent required for the financial sector,” he said.
“These visits help the students make decisions about their future, and what they want to study,” said Rahimi. “Therefore, we gave the students a brief about work in the financial sector and we introduced them to various departments in the Bank,” she said.

ITHMAAR BANK REPORTS NET PROFIT ATTRIBUTABLE TO EQUITY HOLDERS OF THE BANK OF US$ 1.22 MILLION FOR THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2016

13 May 2016
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 13 May 2016 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, reported today (ed note: 13/05/16) a net profit of US$4.83 million for the first quarter of 2016, compared to the US$7.62 million net profit reported for the same period last year. Net profit attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the first quarter of 2016 was US$1.22 million, which is lower by 54 percent compared to the US$2.64 million profit reported for the same period last year.
The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, follows the review and approval, by the Board of Directors, of the Bank’s consolidated financial results for the three-month period ended 31 March 2016.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that Ithmaar Bank is continuing to work towards our shared vision of becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank, and that the Bank’s core retail business continues to perform well,” said HRH Prince Amr. “The financial results of the first quarter of 2016 include an operating income of US$61.48 million, compared to US$83.34 million for the same period last year which included a one-off gain realised on government securities by our Pakistan subsidiary, Faysal Bank Limited,” he said.
“Total expenses for the three-month period ended 31 March 2016 reduced to US$45.62 million, from US$48.94 million for the same period last year, despite the continued retail banking branch expansion,” said HRH Prince Amr. “This significant achievement is, in a large part, due to the ongoing cost control measures which started in 2014 both in Bahrain and Pakistan operations,” he said.
Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said the Bank continues to remain focused on enhancing its products and services while growing closer to its customers and that as a result, the Bank’s core retail banking business continues to grow.
“I am pleased to report that the balance sheet continues to be stable, and our core business continues to grow,” said Abdul Rahim. “This is evident from the equity of unrestricted investment account holders growing to US$2.29 billion as at 31 March 2016, a 10.0 percent increase compared to US$2.09 billion as at 31 March 2015, and a 4.3 percent increase compared to US$2.20 billion as at 31 December 2015,” he said.
“This increase is further evidence of customers’ continued confidence in Ithmaar Bank,” said Abdul Rahim. “Correspondingly, our total financing portfolio grew to US$3.73 billion as at 31 March 2016, a 7.5 percent increase compared to US$3.47 billion as at 31 March 2015 and a marginal increase as compared to US$3.72 billion as at 31 December 2015. Liquid assets now represent 11.6 percent of total assets compared to 10.6 percent as at 31 December 2015,” he said.
In April, Ithmaar Bank, which recently re-launched its popular prize-based saving account, Thimaar, to include one of the largest number of prizes in Bahrain, gave away the first luxurious car to a Thimaar customer. Ithmaar Bank also announced 185 other Thimaar winners for the March monthly draw, including a US$10,000 monthly prize winner, while another 92 Thimaar account holders won US$1,000 each and 92 Thimaar Junior winners won US$200 each in the daily draws. The Thimaar savings account was launched with a new scheme offering customers 4,000 prizes – one of the highest in Bahrain, totalling US$2.3 million throughout the year. The feature enhancements were introduced to further differentiate one of the Bank’s key products in the marketplace.
Meanwhile, Ithmaar Bank continues to expand its retail banking network, which is already considered one of the largest in Bahrain, and will shortly inaugurate a new, full-service branch in Galali – its eighteenth branch in the Kingdom. Ithmaar Bank is also in the process of adding two new ATMs, bringing the total number of ATMs to 48.
Earlier this year, at the Bank’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), shareholders approved plans for a new group structure designed to further develop the growth achieved in the core retail banking business and the strategic focus of the Bank.
The plans involve the creation of a new holding company that will be listed on Bahrain Bourse and Kuwait Stock Exchange and licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB). The new holding company will retain 100 percent ownership of all assets presently owned by Ithmaar Bank. These assets will be allocated into two wholly owned subsidiaries, an Islamic retail bank subsidiary which will hold the core retail banking business, and an asset management subsidiary which will hold the investment assets. These two subsidiaries will also be licensed and regulated by the CBB. This new group structure will further consolidate Ithmaar Bank’s position as a strong retail-focussed premier Islamic retail bank under the Ithmaar brand, better allowing the Bank to take advantage of new growth opportunities, and help to generate greater value to its shareholders.
Ithmaar Bank is now working with regulators towards finalising necessary legal and other requirements ahead of anticipated implementation later this year.

ITHMAAR BANK INAUGURATES NEW ATM IN HAMAD TOWN

19 Apr 2016
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 19 April 2016 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced that it has inaugurated a new Automated Teller Machine (ATM) at the second roundabout in Hamad Town, next to Kanoo Mosque. The new offsite ATM, said Ithmaar Bank Assistant General Manager, Head of Retail Banking, Mohammed Janahi, brings the total number of ATMs in Ithmaar Bank’s fast growing retail banking network to 47, including 17 at full service branches, at strategic locations across Bahrain.
The new ATM, the third one in Hamad Town, was installed in direct response to customer demands and underscores the Bank’s commitment to listening carefully, and responding quickly, to customer needs. The ATM features sophisticated technology that allows for both additional security features, as well as advanced services including card-less access to cash through Ithmaar Bank’s award winning MobiCash solution.
“Ithmaar Bank has long recognised the importance of growing continuously to its customers,” said Janahi. “This latest addition to our retail banking network is located in a residential area of growing importance, and we are confident that it will help improve our customer’s Islamic banking experience as well as, hopefully, contribute to making everyone’s lives a little easier,” he said.

BAHRAINI WINS LEXUS AUTOMOBILE AND US$25,000 CASH IN ITHMAAR BANK’S QUARTERLY THIMAAR DRAW

17 Apr 2016
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 17 April 2016 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, awarded its Thimaar savings account quarterly prize of a Lexus GS 350 plus US$25,000 to Bahraini national, Ebrahim Khalifa Ahmed Albinali. The Ithmaar Bank customer won the first ever Thimaar prize that combines a cash award with a luxury car. The Bank also announced 185 other Thimaar winners for the March monthly draw, including a US$10,000 monthly prize winner. Another 92 Thimaar account holders won US$1,000 each and 92 Thimaar Junior winners won US$200 each in the daily draws.
The Thimaar savings account was launched with a new scheme earlier this year, offering customers 4,000 prizes – the highest by any bank in Bahrain, totalling US$2.3 million throughout the year. The feature enhancements were introduced to further differentiate one of the Bank’s key products in the marketplace.
The prize was presented to Albinali by Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Banking Group, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa.
“I received a call from the Bank asking me to visit the headquarters. I came to the Bank with my family and we were very pleasantly surprised and delighted when we have been told that I won a Lexus car and US$25,000,” Albinali said. “I would like to thank the Bank for offering its customers such a high chance of winning these valuable prizes. We will continue to save via Thimaar savings accounts as they offer amazing prizes and also encourage people to get into the habit of saving.”
Al Mutawa said: “I am delighted to congratulate all the Thimaar winners. The Thimaar scheme, now in its sixth year, offers the highest chances of winning of any comparable product in the Kingdom, which is an extremely attractive prospect for savers. Ithmaar Bank is committed to becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank, continuously improving its products and services to ensure that it remains the Islamic retail bank of choice among the people of Bahrain.”
Thimaar provides US$3,600 in daily prizes, one US$10,000 monthly prize, four car and cash quarterly prizes totalling US$300,000, and US$600,000 in Eid prizes. Every BD50 maintained as an average daily balance qualifies a customer to enter the draws. The more customers save, and the longer they maintain balances in multiples of BD50, the more opportunities they have to win.
The draw was supervised by representatives from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC), external supervisors, Key Point, and the Bank’s own internal auditors at its Seef district headquarters. The full list of winners is available at www.ithmaarbank.com/thimaar.

SHAREHOLDERS APPROVE PLANS FOR NEW ITHMAAR GROUP STRUCTURE

28 Mar 2016
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 28 March 2016 –Shareholders of Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, today approved (ed note: 28/03/16) plans for a new group structure designed to further develop the growth achieved in the core retail banking business, the strategic focus of the Bank.
The plans, which were proposed by the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors, and are subject to regulatory approvals, involve the creation of a new holding company that will be listed on the Bahrain Bourse and the Kuwait Stock Exchange and licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB). The new holding company will retain 100 percent ownership of all assets presently owned by Ithmaar Bank. These assets will be allocated into two wholly owned subsidiaries, an Islamic retail bank subsidiary which will hold the core retail banking business, and an investment subsidiary which will hold the investment assets. These two subsidiaries will also be licensed and regulated by the CBB.
The announcement was made by Ithmaar Bank Chairman, His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal following the Bank’s Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) with shareholders which followed the Annual General Meeting (AGM). Also present at the meetings, which were held at the Ramee Grand Hotel in Bahrain, were Directors and members of the Ithmaar Bank Executive Management team, representatives of the Bank’s Sharia Supervisory Board, the CBB, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, statutory auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the Bahrain Bourse.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that the strategic decisions we took early in 2014, which were designed to significantly transform the Group’s operations, are continuing to deliver positive results, and the new group structure is the next key step in this transformation,” said HRH Prince Amr. “This new structure is designed to assist in realising our long-term strategy for growth by providing greater insight into the strength of our core retail banking operations and further facilitating the management of the Group’s investment assets,” he said.
“This new group structure follows extensive internal review and discussions, and is driven by our commitment to ensuring we are well positioned to benefit from new opportunities in the current market,” said HRH Prince Amr. “The new structure will help lower the risk profile of the new banking entity and enhance shareholder value by showing the growth and improved performance achieved in the core business. In the current structure, this growth is being adversely impacted by investment valuations and impairment provisions,” he said.
Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, who delivered a detailed presentation to shareholders, said these plans build upon the significant improvements achieved due to the implementation of the key strategic decisions taken by the Board of Directors in 2014.
“The key decisions, which included initiatives for increased revenue, improved margins, the divestment of non-core assets, and cost reductions across the Ithmaar Group have, together with the continued growth of our core retail business, contributed in a big way to the Bank’s continuously improving financial performance,” said Abdul Rahim.
“The 2015 financial results, approved on 28 February 2016, reconfirm that our efforts to significantly transform the Group’s operations and focus on developing our core business are paying off, and that we are on the right track,” said Abdul Rahim. “Our decision to reorganise the Group represents a further stage in this process, and underlines our commitment to becoming one of the region’s leading Islamic retail banks,” he said.
“By allocating our assets into separate subsidiaries, we will be able to better focus on our core retail banking businesses held in the new banking entity, including Faysal Bank Limited, Pakistan, a retail and corporate banking subsidiary of Ithmaar Bank. At the same time, we will be able to facilitate independent and focussed disposal of investment assets held by the investment entity, when suitable opportunities arise,” said Abdul Rahim. “This new group structure will further consolidate Ithmaar Bank’s position as a strong retail-focussed premier Islamic retail bank under the Ithmaar brand, better allowing the Bank to take advantage of new growth opportunities, and help to generate greater value to our shareholders,” he said.
During 2015, Ithmaar Bank’s pioneering association with Eskan Bank continued to contribute to addressing the Kingdom’s housing challenges by offering Bahraini citizens government-subsidised financing through Ithmaar Bank to help them buy their first homes as part of a national scheme. Ithmaar Bank also signed an agreement with Tamkeen, a Bahrain semi-government organisation which works to make the private sector the key driver of sustainable economic development, and substantially increased its allocation to the joint Ithmaar-Tamkeen enterprise finance scheme portfolio. In 2015, to mark the Holy Month of Ramadan, Ithmaar Bank launched a first of its kind Qard Hasan (profit-free financing) for low income loyal customers and, later in the year, also introduced Bahrain’s most rewarding Credit Cards loyalty programme, Ithmaar Rewards.
During 2016, Ithmaar Bank continuing to expand its retail banking network, already one of the largest in Bahrain, and will shortly inaugurate a new, full-service branch in Galali – its eighteenth branch in the Kingdom. Ithmaar Bank is also in the process of adding two new ATMs, bringing the total number of ATMs to 48.

ITHMAAR INAUGURATES NEW ATM IN HAMAD TOWN

20 Mar 2016
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 20 March 2016 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced that it has inaugurated a new Automated Teller Machine (ATM) at the Al Rawdha fuel station in Hamad Town. The new offsite ATM, said Ithmaar Bank Assistant General Manager, Head of Retail Banking, Mohammed Janahi, brings the total number of ATMs in Ithmaar Bank’s fast growing retail banking network to 46, including 17 at full service branches, at strategic locations across Bahrain.
The new ATM, located at Roundabout Seven in Hamad Town, was installed in direct response to customer demands and underscores the Bank’s commitment to listening carefully, and responding quickly, to customer needs. The ATM features sophisticated technology that allows for both additional security features, as well as advanced services including card-less access to cash through Ithmaar Bank’s award winning MobiCash solution.
“Ithmaar Bank has long recognised the importance of growing continuously to its customers,” said Janahi. “This latest addition to our retail banking network is located in a residential area of growing importance, and we are confident that it will help improve our customer’s Islamic banking experience as well as, hopefully, contribute to making everyone’s lives a little easier,” he said.

ITHMAAR CONTINUES EXECUTIVE TRAINING ON COUNTERING MONEY LAUNDERING, TERRORIST FINANCING

15 Mar 2016
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 15 March 2016: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, hosted a comprehensive in-house refresher training programme for its executive management team focusing on the latest international initiatives and global legislation that aim to counter money laundering and combat the financing of terrorism.
The annual training programme, which was conducted with a particular emphasis on the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CTF) regulations under the Financial Crime Module, aims to ensure Ithmaar Bank’s senior management completely understand and fully appreciate both the nature and the significance of Anti-Money Laundering & Terrorist Financing in the global financial industry.

In particular, the training programme aims to stress the importance of the executive management’s constant support to enforce compliance-related regulations to help effectively fight financial crimes.

The training programme, which was organised by the Ithmaar Bank Human Resources Department in-line with CBB directives, was delivered by Naeema Taheri, a programme facilitator with more than 23 years of both conventional and Islamic banking experience. The training programme was attended by more than twenty senior executives, including Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Abdul Rahim, Chief Operating Officer, Ravindra Knot, General Manager, Retail and Private Banking, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa, and General Manager, Banking Operations, Information Technology and Administration, Abdulrahman Al Shaikh.

“As one of the region’s pioneering Islamic retail banks, Ithmaar Bank recognises the important role we must play in contributing to the global fight against money laundering, financing of terrorism and other financial crimes,” said Abdul Rahim. “It is a responsibility we take very seriously and, working under the guidance of the CBB, the Kingdom’s banking and financial services regulator, we continue to do everything we can to help eliminate this global danger,” he said.
“The annual AML & CTF awareness training programme outlines the economic implications of Money Laundering and the various risks posed to Financial Institutions,” said Ithmaar Bank Head of Human Resources, Enas Rahimi. “The programme also highlights applicable sanctions and regulatory requirements, and reviews consequences of non-compliance by discussing specific case studies as well as other relevant supervision instructions and directives issued to financial institutions,” she said.

ITHMAAR BANK’S RETAIL BANKING SUBSIDIARY IN PAKISTAN, FAYSAL BANK LIMITED, REPORTS RECORD GROWTH IN 2015

12 Mar 2016
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 12 March 2016 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced today (ed note: 12/03/16) that its retail banking subsidiary in Pakistan, Faysal Bank Limited, has registered a record profit for 2015.
The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer and Faysal Bank Limited Vice Chairman, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, follows the review and approval by the Faysal Bank Limited Board of Directors of the Bank’s financial results for the year ended 31 December 2015. Faysal Bank Limited has a network of 279 branches as of 31 December 2015. The Bank is listed on the Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad Stock Exchanges, and is mainly engaged in corporate, commercial and consumer banking activities. Ithmaar Bank directly, and indirectly through its subsidiaries, owns 66.57 percent of Faysal Bank Limited. Faysal Bank Limited also announced a cash dividend of PKR 1 per share (10 percent of share par value) for 2015.
“I am pleased to announce that Faysal Bank Limited registered a record profit, after tax, of US$ 41mn (PKR 4.2bn) during 2015, a 70 percent increase over the profit reported for 2014,” said Abdul Rahim. “During the year, Faysal Bank Limited’s operating income increased by 95 percent, growing from US$ 35mn (PKR 3.5bn) in 2014 to US$ 67mn (PKR 6.9bn) in 2015. This increase was largely a result of focused efforts to strengthen the Bank’s position through prudent asset allocation, while improving cost efficiencies, enhancing operational excellence and reducing funding costs,” he said.
“The Bank’s Balance Sheet was also grown significantly with total assets increasing by 11 percent to US$ 4bn (PKR 430bn) as at 31 December 2015, compared to US$ 3.7bn (PKR 388bn) as at 31 December 2014,” said Abdul Rahim. “Total deposits have also grown from US$ 2.7bn (PKR 283bn) as at 31 December 2014 to US$ 2.8bn (PKR 292bn) as at 31 December 2015,” he said.
“In 2015, to protect its margins, Faysal Bank Limited re-profiled its savings book with a focus on market competitive pricing,” said Abdul Rahim. “During the year, the Bank successfully executed large corporate and investment banking deals and was also the lead arranger for entities in the energy sector,” he said.
“Faysal Bank Limited’s financial performance has earned the Bank “AA” and “A1+” ratings for the long and short terms respectively, with stable outlook, from the JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Limited and the Pakistan Credit Rating Agency Limited,” said Abdul Rahim.

ITHMAAR BANK HOLDS ONE-TIME LOYALTY DRAW FOR 50 THIMAAR ACCOUNT CUSTOMERS

06 Mar 2016
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 05 March 2016: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, held a special, one-time ‘loyalty draw’ for holders of its Thimaar Account, giving them an extra chance to win cash rewards. The event was held for long-time customers who have held Thimaar savings for more than a year but have not yet won a prize.
The 50 winners who were presented with US$1,000 each, will also continue to be eligible for the current enhanced version of the product, Thimaar 6, which was launched at the beginning of the year. With more than 4,000 prizes worth a combined US$2.3 million being presented throughout 2016, it offers more opportunities than ever before.
“Despite providing the highest chances of winning compared to any other prize-based account in the Kingdom, there remains loyal Thimaar customers who have just not been lucky enough yet,” said Ithmaar Bank Assistant General Manager, Head of Retail Banking, Mohammed Janahi. “We introduced this one-time draw as a way of rewarding them for their loyalty over the years and to show our appreciation to all our long-term customers.”
Thimaar 6 will provide US$3,600 in total daily prizes, one US$10,000 monthly prize, four cars and cash quarterly prizes totalling US$300,000, and US$600,000 in Eid prizes. Every BD50 maintained as an average daily balance qualifies a customer to enter the draws. The more customers save, and the longer they maintain balances in multiples of BD50, the more opportunities they have to win.
The draw was supervised by representatives from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC), external supervisors, Key Point, and the Bank’s own internal auditors.
The winners of the Thimaar loyalty draw were: Rifah Abdulla Mabkhoot Aldoseri, Ahmed Ali Ahmed Ali A. Alrowaei, Ebrahim Mohammed Abdulkarim, Muneera Ahmed A. Rahman Alshaikh, Khalid Rashid Mohammed Alkaabi, Hamad Yusuf Abdulla Mohamed Manea Alkaabi, Dowla Rashed Ali Alghatam, Hasan Ahmed Mohamed Shaheen Aldoseri, Neaimeh Faisal Jabur Aldoseri, Wafa Yousif Ahmed Althawadi, Mariam Hamad Jaham Alkuwari, Fawziya Mohammed Ali Hassan, Ahmed Mutlaq Juma Althawadi, Saeed Ali Abdulla Ali Almawali, Sadeq Mohamed Salman Jasim Alsaegh, Mohamed Jaafar Mohamed Alaradi, Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed Alkooheji, Sawsan Taimoor Aghayar Abdulrahman, Amal Mohammed Saeed Alsowaidi, Adnan Aamer Saad Alaamer, Ameer Abbas Mahdi Mohammed, Salem Juma Abdulla Juma Alromaihi, Rayadh Ahmed Abdulmohsen Ahmed Almahmeed, Widad Yousif Hasan Alhasan, Isa Ali Hassan Yousif Almulla, Narjes Adel Abdulla Hamad Alrowaiei, Nasreen A. Rahman Mohd Alladhi, Maryam Mohamed Salman Seyadi, Layla Khalil Ebrahim Sabah, Khalifa Ahmed Ali Mohamed Bushlaibi, Real Estate House, Nada Rashid Jassim Hamada, Hasan Abdulla Mohamed Bucheeri, Nasra Murtadha Mohd Alhashimi, Jasim Fahad Jasim Ahmed, Sabeeka Abdulrahman Jasim Alaamer, Abdo Mohsen Naji Ali Aljameel, Sayed Faisal Ebrahim Baqer Almeshqab, Juma Enad Wakka Ali, Hissa Ebrahim Khalifa Almansoor, Fatima Abdulla Hussain, Jamal Khalifa Abdulrahman Bumjaid, Noora Mohamed Harban, Jalal Khan Haji Muhammad Murad, Waleed A. Rahman Mohamed Abdulla Alsebaie, Husain Ali Hasan Shaikh Abdulla Alqasimi, Enas Isa Abdulla Buhamood, Hayat Abdulla Saad Alsherooqi, Osama Abdulla Ali Khamis Mubarak Alsaadoon, and Madina Jasim Ahmed Ali Akwaid.
The full list of names is also available at www.ithmaarbank.com/thimaar

ITHMAAR BANK REPORTS CONTINUED RETAIL GROWTH, FINALIZING PLANS FOR NEW GROUP STRUCTURE

28 Feb 2016
• Total income up 5.4 percent to US$478.4 million
• Net income before provisions and taxation up 169.2 percent to US$77.9 million
• Net loss of US$60.8 million attributable to equity holders of the Bank, largely due to investment related impairment provisions
• Proposed new group structure, designed to more clearly show the growth achieved in the core business, to be presented to shareholders

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 28 February 2016 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, reported today (ed note: 28/02/16) an increase in total income and operating income from its core retail banking operations during 2015 but this improved performance was impacted by recognition of certain investment related impairment provisions.
Net income before provisions for impairment and overseas taxation increased 169.2 percent including a 18 percent increase in Operating Income. Overall, the Bank recorded a net loss of US$46.4 million in 2015. This compares to a net loss of US$8.8 million in 2014. This was mainly due to significant impairment provisions of US$95 million in 2015, compared to provisions of US$26.1 million in 2014. The net loss attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the year 2015 was US$60.8 million, compared to a net loss of US$15 million reported over the same period in the previous year. The financial results include a net loss for the quarter ended 31 December 2015 of US$57.8 million, compared to a net loss of US$13.7 million for the same period last year. The net loss attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the quarter amounted to US$62.9 million, compared to the net loss of US$16.2 million reported for the same period last year.
The Bank is finalizing plans, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals, to create a new holding company which will be listed on Bahrain Bourse and Kuwait Stock Exchange. The new holding company will retain 100 percent ownership of all assets presently owned by Ithmaar Bank. These assets will be divided into two wholly owned subsidiaries, the Islamic retail bank subsidiary will hold the core retail banking business and the investment assets will be held by an investment subsidiary. The holding company and these two subsidiaries will be licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB). The proposed new structure is designed to assist the Bank in delivering its long term strategy for growth by making it easier for the Group to manage its investment assets and provide shareholders and analysts with greater insight into the strength of the Group’s core retail banking operations and the performance of its investment assets.
Commenting on the annual results for the year ended 31 December 2015, Ithmaar Bank Chairman, His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal said: “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am pleased to report that Ithmaar Bank continues to report growing, sustainable income from its core retail banking operations. Net income, before provisions for impairment and overseas taxation, increased 169.2 percent to US$77.9 million in 2015, from US$28.9 million in 2014. This included a 17.8 percent increase in Operating Income to US$268.4 million in 2015, up from US$227.8 million in 2014. This was mainly due to sustainable revenue growth across most income streams,” he said.
“However, the recent significant decline in oil prices and the resultant new economic challenges in the region have impacted investment valuations, and consequently impacted Ithmaar Bank’s financial results,” said HRH Prince Amr. “To address this, the Bank has taken prudent investment impairment provisions, and the net loss for the year is due largely to the significantly higher provisions for impairment, which increased by US$68.9 million in 2015,” he said.
“Total expenses for the year ended 31 December 2015, at US$190.4 million, are 4.2 percent lower than 2014 expenses of US$198.8 million, despite the continued successful expansion of the Bank’s core retail banking operations.” said HRH Prince Amr. “This reduction is, largely, a result of the strategic decisions taken by the Bank in early 2014 that aimed at significantly transforming the Group’s operations,” he said.
“I am also pleased to report that the balance sheet remains stable and continues to grow,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Total assets increased by 3.5 percent to US$8.1 billion as at 31 December 2015, compared to US$7.9 billion as at 31 December 2014,” he said.
Speaking about the proposal to create a new group structure, HRH Prince Amr said: “Looking ahead, as part of the efforts we announced early in 2014 to significantly transform the Group’s operation, the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors is proposing the creation of a new group structure. The proposal, which follows extensive internal review and discussion, is driven by our commitment to ensuring that the new banking entity is well positioned to benefit from new opportunities in the current market. It will help lower the risk profile of the new banking entity and enhance shareholder value by showing the growth achieved in the core business which is currently being adversely impacted by investment valuations and impairment provisions.”
“Adoption of the new structure remains subject to necessary regulatory approvals and will be formally presented to the shareholders for their approval at an Extraordinary General Meeting,” he said.
As per the proposed new structure, the core retail banking operations of Ithmaar Bank, both in Bahrain and in Pakistan as Faysal Bank Limited, will be retained as assets under new banking entity, an Islamic retail bank, while strategic investments and other investment assets including real estate, will be transferred to the new investment firm. This proposed resructure will help to separate the core assets from any negative impact of the investment assets.
Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said that the Bank’s 2015 financial results illustrate the adverse impact that the Bank’s investment assets have on the Bank’s core retail banking business, and explained that the proposed new structure marks an important next step in efforts to significantly transform the Group’s operations.
“The stable, sustainable growth achieved in the Bank’s core retail business is evident with total income increasing 5.4 percent to US$478.4 million in 2015, when compared to US$453.9 million in 2014,” said Abdul Rahim. “This reconfirms that our efforts to significantly transform the Group’s operations and focus on developing our core business are paying off, and that we are on the right track. Our proposals to reorganise the group represent a further stage in this process and underlines our commitment to becoming one of the region’s leading Islamic retail banks,” he said.
“By dividing our assets into separate groups, we will be able to better focus on our core retail banking businesses held in new banking entity and at the same time facilitate independent and focussed disposal of investment assets held by the investment entity, when suitable opportunities arise,” said Abdul Rahim. “The proposed plan will further consolidate Ithmaar Bank’s position as a strong retail-focussed premier Islamic retail bank under the Ithmaar brand, better allowing the Bank to take advantage of new growth opportunities, and help to generate greater returns to our shareholders,” he said.
“The Bank’s 2015 financial results show that, during the year, the equity of unrestricted investment account holders grew by 10 percent to US$ 2.2 billion as at 31 December 2015, compared to US$2 billion as at 31 December 2014. Similarly, customers’ current accounts have increased by 4.6 percent to US$1.4 billion as at 31 December 2015, compared to US$1.37 billion as at 31 December 2014, due to the Bank’s focus on attracting and low cost deposits. Liquid assets, as at 31 December 2015, account for 10.6 percent of the balance sheet, compared to 9.3 percent as at 31 December 2014,” said Abdul Rahim. “The growth we have seen in the Bank’s core retail banking business is due largely to our continuous focus on improving products and services while also working to grow closer to our customers,” he said.
During 2015, Ithmaar Bank introduced a number of service improvements and new products for customers. These included commissioning a new Automated Teller Machine (ATM) at the Isa Town fuel station. This brings the total number of ATMs to 46, including 17 in full service branches, at strategic locations across Bahrain. In August, Ithmaar reopened its West Riffa branch after significantly enlarging the branch to accommodate additional tellers and customer service stations, as well as dedicated facilities for female customers.
A further successful program, pioneered in association with Eskan Bank, has been the social housing mortgage scheme, which has given thousands of Bahraini families the opportunity to achieve their dream of owning their own home.
In June 2015, on the occasion of the Holy Month of Ramadan, the Bank launched a first of its kind Qard Hasan (profit-free financing) for its low income loyal customers. In 2015, the Bank also introduced Bahrain’s most rewarding Credit Cards loyalty programme, Ithmaar Rewards, which is the most comprehensive of its kind in Bahrain. It also signed agreements with Gulf Air, as well as with a number of retailers and service providers, to provide exclusive discounts and other offers to card holders. In 2015, Ithmaar Bank also launched a new Sharia-compliant prepaid e-Card designed to provide customers a faster, safer and more convenient online shopping experience.

ITHMAAR BANK BECOMES THE FIRST BANK IN BAHRAIN TO GET TWITTER VERIFICATION

21 Feb 2016

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 20 February 2016: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced today (ed note 20/02/16) that it is the first bank in Bahrain to have its account on the popular micro-blogging site Twitter, formally verified.
The announcement, which follows official confirmation from the Bahrain Social Media Club, puts the Ithmaar Bank Twitter account – IthmaarBankBH – on par with some of most reliable and most credible accounts in the region.
“We are pleased to confirm that Ithmaar Bank is the first and only bank in Bahrain to have a verified Twitter account,” said Bahrain Social Media Club Director, Abdulla Al Dossary. “Effectively, this means that the Bank’s Twitter account is now similar, in terms of safety, reliability and credibility to, for example, an official national-level account,” he said.
According to the latest data available from the Bahrain Social Media Club, the Bank also has one of the largest social media presence on the key Twitter, Facebook and Instagram platforms in Bahrain, as well as by far the largest number of engagements with, as well as impressions on, social media users for any bank in the Kingdom.
“According to the data, Ithmaar Bank’s total social media channels community currently consists of more than 39,650 users,” said Al Dossary. “More importantly, total engagements – including comments, replies and reposts – with users on those various channels add up to more than 450,000 instances. With 2 million social media accounts in Bahrain, this means that Ithmaar Bank has effectively engaged directly with about 22.5 percent of Bahrain’s users,” he said.
Ithmaar Bank’s largest following on social media is on the popular image-sharing platform, Instagram with 20,100 followers, followed by Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with 9,623, 6,616 and 3314 followers respectively.
“Ithmaar Bank is determined to become the region’s premier Islamic retail bank,” said Ithmaar Bank Assistant General Manager, Head of Retail Banking, Mohammed Janahi. “We recognise that, to do so, we must listen closely to our customers and we must deliver on their expectations. This is a commitment we take very seriously – and our remarkable success on the leading social media platforms is clear testimony to that very commitment,” he said.
“Ithmaar Bank has long recognised the importance of continuously working to grow closer to our customer, and we invest heavily in doing so,” said Janahi. “In addition to continuously expanding our retail banking network which, with 17 full-service branches and 46 ATMS in strategic locations across Bahrain, is now one of the largest in the Kingdom, we are also continuously enhancing our online presence,” he said.

ITHMAAR BANK EMPLOYEE HONOURED FOR 10 YEARS OF VOLUNTEER WORK WITH INJAZ BAHRAIN

17 Feb 2016

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 17 FEBRUARY 2016: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, honoured its Head of Human Resources, Enas Mohammed Rahimi, for having completed ten consecutive years of volunteer service with INJAZ Bahrain, as well as for her championship of youth empowerment, both personally and in her professional capacity at the Bank.
Rahimi is passionate about her volunteer work, especially with INJAZ Bahrain for which she has been a volunteer almost since its inception 11 years ago. She also actively encourages her colleagues at Ithmaar Bank to contribute to the organisation’s various youth leadership initiatives. Rahimi was congratulated by Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, who praised her contributions both to the Bank and to the Kingdom of Bahrain’s youth. INJAZ had earlier hosted an honouring ceremony for Enas as well as other long-term volunteers.
“With over ten years of committed volunteer service behind her, Enas has established herself as a true champion of youth empowerment in Bahrain, and we at Ithmaar Bank are all extremely proud of her accomplishments,” said Abdul Rahim. “As a pioneering Bahraini Islamic bank, we have always been a major supporter of women and youth empowerment, and Enas’s efforts are firmly in line with these values. We are also grateful to her for setting such a great example for our other employees to follow,” he said.
Rahimi said she believes that efforts to help young people realise their full potential are vital to the continued development of Bahraini society.
“Initiatives like INJAZ Bahrain offer the right environment and tools to help inspire students and allow them to think creatively,” said Rahimi. “The training we provide prepares them to become society’s future leaders, and I am very happy to be able to play a small part in shaping their lives and future successes,” she said.
INJAZ Bahrain is a non-profit organisation that was established in 2005 as part of Junior Achievement Worldwide with the aim of empowering young people to own their economic successes and be prepared for today’s business challenges. With the help of its partners and volunteers, INJAZ Bahrain impacts thousands of students every year, bringing them closer to the real world and opening their minds to their own potential.

ITHMAAR BANK OFFERS $30,000 IN TRAVEL REWARDS TO CREDIT CARD HOLDERS

31 Jan 2016

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 31 January 2016: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, will offer its credit card holders the chance to win US$30,000 in travel packages over the next three months as part of the Bank’s unique Win & Fly offer. Each BD50 spent on purchases will entitle card holders to an entry into a raffle draw for a chance to win.
The three-month offer starts on 1 February 2016 with US$5,000 in travel packages rewarded to two winners every month. Vouchers are valid until 31 August 2016 and can be redeemed at any time from the draw date until expiry through Kanoo Travel.
“This limited-time offer will give each of six lucky Ithmaar Bank credit card holders a US$5,000 travel package that they can tailor to their own specific requirements,” said Ithmaar Bank Assistant General Manager, Head of Retail Banking, Mohammed Janahi. “Depending, for example, on their choice of destination, the duration their holiday and the standard of accommodation they choose, winners will be able to tailor-build their prize to vary the length, location and luxury components. Any remaining amount from the US$5,000 prize will be credited to the winner’s credit card,” he said.
“With the Win & Fly offers’ specific focus on travel, together with Ithmaar Rewards, it is possible for our card holders to win as well as to book flights, hotel rooms and transportation just by using their Ithmaar Bank MasterCard credit cards,” said Janahi. “This means that Ithmaar Bank customers could literally earn a free holiday, or at least a heavily discounted one, just by going about their normal spending routines,” he said.
Ithmaar Bank credit card holders are also eligible for enrolment in the Bank’s credit card loyalty programme, Ithmaar Rewards, the only one of its kind in the Kingdom of Bahrain that is being held in collaboration with MasterCard and focuses specifically on travel. The rewards can be redeemed online for airline tickets from a choice of 700 airlines, accommodation from among 150,000 hotels, or worldwide car rental services, inclusive of all taxes and without restrictions or blackout dates. The accumulated points can also be used to book trips for cardholders’ friends or family members.
To redeem loyalty points, cardholders can log on to the Ithmaar Rewards page on Ithmaar Bank’s website at www.ithmaarbank.com/ithmaarrewards.

ITHMAAR BANK HOSTS BUSINESSWOMEN’S SOCIETY GALA DINNER

24 Jan 2016

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 24 January, 2016 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, sponsored the Bahrain Businesswomen’s Society’s annual gala dinner, held as part of the year-long Bahraini Women’s Day celebrations, which centre around the role of women in banking and finance.
The event honoured 20 women for their outstanding professional contributions to the sector over the years. They were presented with awards by Society President Ahlam Janahi in the presence of Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim; Chief Operating Officer, Ravindra Khot; Head of Private Banking, Rafed Al-Mannai; Head of Business Development Unit, Fayza Hasan; Head of Human Capital, Enas Rahimi; other bank employees, society members and guests.
Speaking at the event, Abdul Rahim paid tribute to the role women have played in the development of Bahrain’s business sector since its inception.
“Ithmaar Bank is delighted to have the opportunity to sponsor this event which honours women who have made substantial contributions to our industry,” said Abdul Rahim “We view working towards furthering the empowerment of women as one of our responsibilities as a pioneering Islamic bank, and, in line with this, are supporting this national project of the Supreme Council for Women (SCW) and the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB),” he said.
“Our institution has long valued the role of female employees, who we consider to be equal partners in our organization. Our merit-based policies give equal opportunities for growth to all our employees, regardless of gender or background, cultivating a culture that is focused on high performance,” said Abdul Rahim. “Women play important roles throughout our institution as members of staff and management, and even at the board of directors level. Our success would not be possible without their contributions,” he said.
“The Bahrain Businesswomen’s Society hosts such events to honour professional women working in important sectors such as banking and finance, and to encourage them to succeed and further contribute to the national economy,” said Janahi. “ Marking Bahraini Women’s Day, this event is also being held in support of the initiative of Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, Wife of His Majesty the King and President of the SCW, who is patronising the year-long celebration of the role of women the in banking and finance sector,” she said.
The Bahrain Businesswomen’s Society was established to promote business and networking opportunities among Bahrain’s businesswomen, as well as to support their commercial, economic, investment and development contributions to the Kingdom. It also works to encourage their continued participation in social programmes and other development initiatives.

ITHMAAR BANK OFFERS THIMAAR ACCOUNT HOLDERS 4,000 PRIZES WORTH TOTAL OF US$2.3M – AN INDUSTRY FIRST

10 Jan 2016

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 10 January 2016: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, re-launched its Thimaar savings account for a new year, offering customers 4,000 prizes – the highest by any bank in Bahrain. The feature enhancements were introduced to further differentiate one of the Bank’s key products as it vies for a greater share of an increasingly competitive local banking market. Ithmaar Bank, which owns one of Bahrain’s largest retail banking networks, rolls out the new Thimaar Account from today (ed note: Monday 11/01/16), offering US$2.3 million throughout the year.

“Prize-based savings accounts are now almost a staple of the retail banking industry, so it has become increasingly challenging for banks to find new ways to differentiate their products from those of competitors,” said Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Head of Retail and Private Banking, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa. “Following a thorough study and analysis of the market, we decided that Thimaar should be restructured in its sixth year to offer the highest chances of winning in the Kingdom, which is an extremely attractive prospect for savers,” he said.

“Of the 4,000 prizes, more than half have been set aside for Thimaar Junior, our product for account holders under the age of 18, which offers additional prizes as an extra incentive,” said Al Mutawa. “This is another differentiator which helps us develop early relationships with our customers and encourages them to save from a young age,” he said.

Thimaar will provide US$3,600 in daily prizes, one US$10,000 monthly prize, four car and cash quarterly prizes totalling US$300,000, and US$600,000 in Eid prizes. Every BD50 maintained as an average daily balance qualifies a customer to enter the draws. The more customers save, and the longer they maintain balances in multiples of BD50, the more opportunities they have to win.

IDC AWARDS DILMUNIA GATEWAY BRIDGE DESIGN CONTRACT

05 Jan 2016

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 5 January, 2016 – Ithmaar Development Company (IDC) announced the signing of an agreement with a major design consultancy firm, Dar Al- Handasah Consultants (Shair and Partners), to design the Dilmunia Gateway Bridge (DGB). The bridge will be located on the west entrance, connecting Dilmunia island to the mainland.
The agreement was signed between IDC Chief Executive and Member of the Board, Mohammed Khalil Alsayed and Dar AI-Handasah Consultants (Shair and Partners) Director of Operations of UAE, Bahrain and Oman, Bassam Shakhshir.
The Dilmunia Gateway Bridge (DGB) will be a unique structure compatible with the architectural theme of the Island. The Bridge will blend well with the spirit of Dilmunia, and will be visually prominent in its settings, differentiating Dilmunia from other projects. The Bridge will be designed at a high standard to be an aesthetically appealing landmark in Kingdom of Bahrain.
“I am pleased to welcome Dar Al-Handasah Consultants to work with us on this main key feature of our development,” said Alsayed. “We are confident that the bridge design shall ensure the objectives of aesthetics, traffic and utility crossings, while maintaining the constraints of cost effectiveness and life span durability. This, we believe, will further enhance the identity of Dilmunia Island,” he said.

“We are delighted to sign the consultancy agreement; this milestone marks the commencement of our services by initiating the design process after succeeding in winning the Consultancy Services,” said Shakhshir. “Our target is to provide IDC with a high quality service to ensure the fulfilment of their objective by developing a futuristic landmark that will stand out to be the signature identity of Dilmunia island,” he said.

The USD 1.6 billion Dilmunia Project is a mixed-use development built on a man-made island off the coast of Muharraq with a unique health and wellness anchor including residences, hotels and leisure and shopping districts anchored around a health and wellness cluster.
The development of the ambitious 125-hectare man-made island is being managed by IDC, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank with its shares traded on both the Bahrain Bourse and the Kuwait Stock Exchange. Ithmaar Bank is also the Investment Manager of Dilmunia Development Fund.

ITHMAAR BANK AND TAMKEEN LAUNCH ENTERPRISE FINANCING SCHEME

29 Nov 2015

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 28 November 2015: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, and Tamkeen, a semi-government organisation in Bahrain established to help make the private sector the key driver of sustainable economic development, announced today (ed note: 28/11/15) the launch of a joint financing solution designed specifically to support private sector enterprises in the Kingdom.

The announcement follows an agreement earlier this year to add BD10 million to the joint Ithmaar-Tamkeen enterprise finance scheme portfolio which aims to help private sector enterprises meet their financing needs and achieve their business objectives. The new financing scheme will provide financing of up to BD500,000 to eligible private sector enterprises to help drive business growth.

Ithmaar Bank was the first Bank in Bahrain to offer SME financing with Tamkeen during 2007 and, with the launch of this scheme, the partnership continues to help support the sustainable growth and development of Bahrain’s SMEs.

“Through its various programmes, Tamkeen seeks to help enterprises achieve their developmental goals and provide them with opportunities for expansion and growth. This includes financing solutions that make it easier for these enterprises to succeed in their ventures and projects,” said Tamkeen Chairman and Acting Chief Executive H.E. Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa. “To achieve this, Tamkeen cooperates with partners sharing the same objectives, amongst which is Ithmaar Bank, one of leading financing institutions in the Kingdom,” he said.

“We are pleased to participate in this Bahrain Government initiative together with Tamkeen to help enterprises realise their strategic objectives,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “The enterprise finance scheme provides the foundation and engine for growth of business and the economy,” he said. “This is part of the Bank’s efforts to open new prospects for enterprises to achieve sustainability and growth, diversify their businesses, expand their customer bases, and build a solid foundation for future development,” he said.

The financing scheme offers private sector enterprises amounts of up to BD500,000 at a subsidised reduced profit rate, a repayment tenor option of up to 10 years, and grace periods of between one month and two years. Participating SMEs can also benefit from a variety of unique features, as well as exceptional flexibility in repayment methods, including monthly, quarterly, and semi-annual payments.

The total financing offered through Tamkeen’s Finance scheme in cooperation with partner banks totals BD412.5 million, with more than 6,000 enterprises having benefited from the programme to date.

ITHMAAR HOSTS STAFF GATHERING, HONOURS LONG SERVING EMPLOYEES

18 Nov 2015

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 17 November 2015: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, honoured long-serving employees who had completed thirty, twenty-five, twenty, fifteen and ten years with the Bank when it hosted its’ Annual Staff Gathering.

Speaking at the Gathering, Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Abdul Rahim paid rich tribute to the employees, describing them as the Bank’s most valuable assets, and stressing that their dedicated efforts contribute directly to the Bank’s continued success.

Abdul Rahim said the Annual Gathering is part of the Bank’s long-standing philosophy of bringing employees together and continuously working to further developing close working relationships across the board.

“This is an opportunity for us to get to know each other on a more personal and less formal basis,” said Abdul Rahim. “It is an opportunity to transcend the corporate hierarchy and strengthen interpersonal relationships,” he said.

“It is also an opportunity to reinforce our long standing commitment to further developing our merit-based culture of employee excellence,” said Abdul Rahim. “This helps develop our youth positions for future leadership positions,” he said.

In a brief speech he delivered at the Gathering, Abdul Rahim also stressed Ithmaar Bank’s commitment to empowering female employees and ensuring equal opportunities for all. He also thanked the long-serving employees for their dedication, particularly Khalid Abdulrahman Abdulla Hasan who have completed 30 years of service.

“It has not been an easy year for us, but with the grace and blessings of the Almighty, followed by the dedication, focus and loyalty of Ithmaar employees, we are on the road to success,” said Abdul Rahim. “Our core business continues to do consistently well, with Retail Banking reporting dramatic growth in financing assets and in customer deposits, as well as a huge increase in the number of new customers. In fact, our market share, as benchmarked against the statistics of the Central Bank of Bahrain, show gains on all key Retail banking product offerings – current accounts, home financing, auto financing and personal financing. Our other lines of business are also progressing well, with Commercial and International banking continuing to break new grounds,” he said.

The Gathering, which was hosted at the Diplomat Bahrain was attended by almost 300 employees from the Bank’s various departments.

“At Ithmaar Bank, we have long maintained that, ultimately, it is the quality of our people that drives our success,” said Ithmaar Bank Head of Human Resources, Enas Rahimi. “Consequently, Ithmaar Bank invests in developing long-term relationships with each employee, celebrating their achievements, and rewarding their commitment and dedication,” she said.

“The fact that so many of our employees have been with us for so long is, I believe, testimony to the success of our commitment to our employees,” said Rahimi. “These employees helped build Ithmaar Bank into what it is today and will help drive our continued success,” she said.

The following Ithmaar Bank employees received Long Service Awards: Thirty Years: Khalid Abdulrahman Abdulla Hasan; Twenty-Five Years: Abdulrahman Ahmed Abdulla Ahmed, Yousif Abdulla Mohammed Al Khan and Faeq Ghuloom Ridha Zainal; Twenty Years: Abdulnabi Mansoor Mohammed Al-Koofi, Adnan S.Abbas Jaffar Alawi, Sami Abdulla Ahmed Al-Hajri, Ahmed Khamis Abdulla Al-Sowaidi and Sadiq Yousif Abdulla Al-Gallaf; Fifteen Years: Mohammed Emad Mohammed Iqbal; Ten Years: Farhan Nimatalla Ghulam Rasool, Rashid Fikri Rashid Abu Owdah, Abdulla Ali Ebrahim Ali, Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Janahi, Haitham Abdul Razzaq Mohammed Al Khaja, Khalid Ahmed Abdulla Al-Abbasi, Maitham Abedali Jaffar Al Sudan, Mohammed Hasan Ali Al Aynati, Nabeel Abdulkarim Hassoon Al-Laith, Aesha Ahmed Yousif Al-Mana, Ahlam Sadiq Al-Tublani, Ahmed Salamah Abusiyam, Amal Abdulamir Hasan Ebrahim, Amal Amin Hasan Abdulrahman Abdi, Deena Abdulla Ahmed Buchiri, Ehab Ezat Faraj Nasrulla, Eman Abdul Wadood Ismail Al Awadhi, Eman Ali Abdulla Al Mahroos, Enas Mohammed Fathalla Rahimi, Hamad Mohammed Ali Al Dosseri, Khalid Ahmed Abdulrahim Al-Saie, Lateefa Ali Isa Al Kuwaiti, Lubna Abdul Nabi Ebrahim Al Sayyed, Sajidah Abdulla Ali Hussain, Sharif Hasan Ismail Mohammed and Yousif Abdulla Dadkhuda Mohammed.

ITHMAAR BANK ANNOUNCES RESULTS, REPORTS CONTINUED GROWTH

15 Nov 2015

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 12 November 2015 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced today (ed note: 12/11/15) a total net profit of US$11.4 million for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2015, compared to a total net profit of US$4.8 million reported for the same nine-month period last year. Net profit attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2015 amounted to US$2.1 million, compared to a net profit of US$1.1 million reported for the same period last year.

The financial results for the period include a loss of US$1.6 million for the three-month period ended 30 September 2015, compared to a profit of US$3.1 million reported for the same period last year. Loss attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the three-month period amounted to US$3.6 million, compared to a net profit of US$1.3 million reported for the same period last year.

The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, follows the review and approval by the Board of Directors of the Bank’s consolidated financial results for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2015.

“On behalf of the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that the Bank’s operating income continues to increase, growing 19.7 percent during the nine-month period ended 30 September 2015 to total US$211.3 million, compared to US$176.6 million during the same period last year,” said HRH Prince Amr. “This increase is due to the Bank’s overall revenue growth which resulted in net income, before provisions for impairment and overseas taxation, for the period increasing 136 percent to US$70.7 million from US$ 29.9 million,” he said.

“Total expenses for the year are 4.1 percent lower, at US$140.6 million, than the total expenses reported for the same period in 2014 despite business growth during the year,” said HRH Prince Amr. “This is a result of cost control measures which started in 2014,” he said.

“I am also pleased to report that the balance sheet continues to grow,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Total assets increased to US$8.29 billion as at 30 September 2015, a 12.6 percent increase from US$7.36 billion as at 30 September 2014, and a 5.4 percent increase from US$7.86 billion as at 31 December 2014,” he said.

Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said the Bank’s 2015 financial results show stable, continued growth in income which reflects the Bank’s ongoing success.

“The business growth is evident from the increase in the equity of unrestricted investment account holders which grew to US$2.20 billion as at 30 September 2015, an increase of 9.8 percent compared to US$2 billion as at 31 December 2014, and of 11 percent compared to US$1.98 billion as at 30 September 2014,” said Abdul Rahim. “Liquid assets form 11.6 percent of the Bank’s total assets as at 30 September 2015, an increase from 11.3 percent as at 31 December 2014,” he said.

“Despite challenging global market conditions, Ithmaar Bank’s financial results for 2015 are very encouraging,” said Abdul Rahim. “They demonstrate our ongoing success as we work towards realising our shared vision of becoming one of the region’s premier Islamic retail bank,” he said.

“The Bank’s continued success is driven by its commitment to its customers,” said Abdul Rahim. “We listen closely to their requirements and, in addition to continuously developing our products and services, we constantly strive to grow closer to our customers,” he said.

Earlier this year, for example, Ithmaar reopened its West Riffa branch after significantly expanding the branch to accommodate additional tellers and customer service stations as well as dedicated facilities exclusively for female customers. The West Riffa Branch is one of the most popular in Ithmaar Bank’s retail banking network of 17 full service branches which, together with the 47 ATMs at strategic locations across Bahrain, are part of one of the largest networks in the Kingdom.

Ithmaar Bank, which introduced earlier this year a new pre-paid electronic card that allows customers to top-up their cards in real time and make their online shopping experience safer and more convenient than ever before, recently also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Aramex, one of the leading global logistics and transportation solutions providers, to offer Ithmaar Bank’s cardholders a discounted lifetime Aramex “Shop and Ship” membership, as well as exclusive discounts on shipping charges.

Working with Tamkeen, a semi-government organisation in Bahrain established to help make the private sector the key driver of sustainable economic development, Ithmaar Bank also launched of a joint financing solution designed specifically to support private sector enterprises in the Kingdom. This follows an agreement earlier this year to add BD10 million to the joint Ithmaar-Tamkeen enterprise finance scheme portfolio. Ithmaar Bank was the first Bank in Bahrain to offer SME financing with Tamkeen during 2007 and, with the launch of this scheme, the partnership continues to help support the sustainable growth and development of Bahrain’s SMEs.

ITHMAAR BANK SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH ARAMEX

31 Oct 2015

MANAMA, BAHRAIN 31 October 2015 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Aramex, one of the leading global logistics and transportation solutions providers, to offer Ithmaar Bank’s cardholders a discounted lifetime Aramex “Shop and Ship” membership, as well as exclusive discounts on shipping charges.

Aramex General Manager-Bahrain, Luai Alagha, and Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Retail and Private Banking, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa, signed the MOU at a ceremony held at the Ithmaar Bank headquarters in Seef.

As part of the agreement, Ithmaar Bank eCard and Credit Card holders now receive up to 10% discount on shipping charges from the Aramex’s “Shop and Ship” website (www.shopandship.com) by using special discount codes that are available at the Ithmaar Bank website (www.ithmaarbank.com/offers). Ithmaar Bank customers can also subscribe for a lifetime Aramex “Shop and Ship” membership at a heavily discounted cost of USD5 to USD 10 (reduced from USD45).

“With purchases made online, eCard and Credit Card holders will also accumulate Ithmaar Rewards loyalty points with each transaction,” said Al Mutawa. “This allows cardholders to redeem the points online and choose between 700 airlines, 150,000 hotels and car rental services,” he said.

“Ithmaar Bank is committed to becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank,” said Al Mutawa. “In line with that commitment, we are continuously improving our products and services to ensure we remain the Islamic retail bank of choice among the people of Bahrain. This agreement with Aramex, for example, provides Ithmaar Bank customers preferential discounts, enabling them to shop online and enjoy significant discounts on shipments,” he said.

“This agreement with Ithmaar Bank reaffirms Aramex’s commitment to further growing the e-commerce sector, both locally and globally. The partnership now provides more customers with a highly efficient and convenient online shopping solution. This is an example of how we are helping to better connect online shoppers to retailers from all corners of the world, which is directly in line with Aramex’s wider commitment to facilitate and enhance global trade,” said Aramex Chief E-Commerce Officer, Hassan Mikail.

Ithmaar Bank had earlier announced its’ new eCard, which offers unique features and benefits, including real-time top–ups through Ithmaar Bank’s eBanking or ePayment platforms, as well as a daily top-up and utilisation limit of BD10,000, and a minimum top-up of only BD1. The new eCard also allows users to join Bahrain’s most rewarding loyalty programme, Ithmaar Rewards, and accumulate loyalty points with each transaction to be redeemed online through the Bank’s website.

US$2,000,000 IN PRIZES FOR 3,540 THIMAAR WINNERS

20 Oct 2015

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 20 October 2015: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced that it has distributed more than US$2,000,000 in prizes to 3,540 winners as part of its Thimaar Gold Rush campaign.
The Gold Rush campaign, which was launched in October last year, is part of the Bank’s prize-based savings account, Thimaar, which offers customers chances to win gold and cash prizes, as well as anticipated monthly profits and free life takaful as added incentives to save.
“In line with Ithmaar Bank’s commitment to continuously improving its products and services while growing closer to customers, the Thimaar offering is revised and improved every year,” said Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Retail and Private Banking, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa. “This year, we presented cash and gold prizes to 996 monthly winners, four quarterly winners and 500 Eid winners, as well as 1,440 Junior monthly winners and 600 Eid Junior winners,” he said.
“This year, with the gold prizes, Thimaar has brought so much joy and happiness to our customers,” said Al Mutawa. “Gold holds special importance to many of us, and it is also another way of saving and investing for the future,” he said.
During the latest Thimaar draws, which were held at Bank headquarters in Seef district, the heirs of Bahraini winner Shareefa Abdulla won a kilogram of gold in the quarterly draw. Another 82 Thimaar account holders won USD1,000 each, 120 Thimaar Junior winners won USD250 each and an Ithmaar account holder won 200 grams of gold. Thimaar draws were held under the supervision of a Ministry of Industry and Commerce representative as well as internal auditors and external supervisors, BDO (Bahrain).

ITHMAAR INTERNSHIPS FOR UNIVERSITY STUDENTS

14 Sep 2015

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 14 September 2015: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, continued its commitment to nurture Bahraini undergraduates into future banking professionals when it hosted twenty-three undergraduate students from five Bahrain universities for a two month-long summer internship at the Bank.
Ithmaar Bank’s long-standing annual summer internship programme is hosted in line with the Bank’s commitment to helping develop the next generation of banking professionals. The Internship Programme offers trainees first-hand insight into the Bank’s organisational structure, as well as the key functional areas in an Islamic retail bank and an understanding of day-to-day operations. The Programme also outlines how to deal with daily challenges in real work-life situations.
Students participating in the Programme were placed in various departments at Ithmaar Bank, including Retail Banking, Banking Operations, Administration, Asset Management, Financial Institutions and Treasury, Compliance and Anti Money Laundering, Remedial and Collection, and Retail Support.
“Bahrain is a major financial hub in the Middle East, and Ithmaar Bank, as a regional Islamic banking pioneer, is proud to help develop these banking students into leaders of the future,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “Our Internship Programme gives undergraduates the opportunity to explore and develop their potential, and we are proud to provide them with the right platform to apply theory and knowledge to an actual work situation and develop their academic, professional and personal skills,” he said.
“Participants in this year’s programme are from prestigious universities in the Kingdom of Bahrain and include the University of Bahrain, Ahlia University, AMA International University, the Applied Science University and Bahrain Polytechnic,” said Ithmaar Bank Head of Human Resources, Enas Rahimi. “The undergraduates demonstrated commitment to learning and work and were awarded a certificate on completion of the Internship Programme and a token cash gift,” she said.

LEADERSHIP GROOMING FOR SENIOR ITHMAAR EMPLOYEES

01 Sep 2015

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 01 September 2015 – Three senior Bahraini Ithmaar Bank employees joined their peers from other Islamic banks across the Kingdom to attend an intensive Leadership Grooming Programme designed to help develop the next generation of C-suite executives.
The 17-day programme, which was conducted by top-tiered Canadian university, the Ivey Business School, is part of a joint initiative by the Central Bank of Bahrain and the Bahrain Waqf Fund.
Ithmaar Bank’s nominees to the programme, Head of Private Banking, Rafed Ahmed Al-Mannai, Asset Management Senior Manager, Ayoob Yusuf Al-Awadhi, and Commercial and International Banking Senior Manager Abdulla Hussain Al-Mulla, were congratulated by the Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, following their success completion of the first part of the Programme.
The participants have successfully completed the first part of the Programme that took place in the Ivey Business School’s Hong Kong Campus for eight working days from 18 May to 27 May 2015. The next part of the Programme will take place in the Ivey Business School’s Canada Campus over nine working days during October 2015.
“This programme aims to fast-track and groom the next generation of C-suite executives to steer the Islamic finance industry in the right direction,” said Abdul Rahim. “This addresses a key demand of the industry to ensure that the number of competent Bahraini nationals, with all the necessary training and experience, continues to increase in positions of Executive Management across the Islamic financial sector,” he said.
“Each of the nominated employees has demonstrated commitment, potential, competence and high integrity,” said Abdul Rahim. “Their input and efforts contributed towards the Bank’s continuing success, and providing them with such an accelerated leadership development programme will help enhance their skills and international business knowledge. This will, in turn, help them become better leaders,” he said.
The Programme which focuses on three key themes – strategic thinking, leadership skills and ethics – targets Bahrainis in mid management roles.
“Primarily using the case study method, participants are provided advanced learning in leadership skills, strategic thinking and ethics, while also exposing them to the Asian business model and the financial sector of Canada,” said Ithmaar Bank Head of Human Capital, Enas Rahimi. “This experience and interaction will help prepare them to become better leaders and decision makers and valuable assets of the Bank,” she said.

ITHMAAR REOPENS ENLARGED WEST RIFFA BRANCH

16 Aug 2015

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 16 August 2015 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail Bank, has reopened its West Riffa branch after significantly enlarging the branch to accommodate additional tellers and customer service stations as well as dedicated facilities exclusively for female customers.
The expansion, said Ithmaar Bank Assistant General Manager and Head of Retail Banking, Mohammed Janahi, is part of the Bank’s commitment to constantly improving its customer service offerings.
“The West Riffa Branch is one of the most popular in Ithmaar Bank’s retail banking network of 17 full service branches which, together with the 47 ATMs at strategic locations across Bahrain, are part of one of the largest networks in the Kingdom,” he said. “In line with our commitment to continuous improvement, we decided to upgrade the branch to ensure better, faster service,” he said.
“The upgraded branch, which includes an almost 30 percent increase in total area over the previous branch premises, also increases the number of tellers, customer service and Ladies Only stations,” said Janahi. “This will significantly improve service and reduce waiting time which, in turn, will improve the overall experience for our customers,” he said.
Ithmaar Bank also operates a Ladies Branch, a full-service branch exclusively for ladies, on Bukawara Road in nearby East Riffa, as well as another full service branch on the same road.

BD 10 MILLION ADDED TO JOINT TAMKEEN-ITHMAAR BANK FINANCE SCHEME PORTFOLIO

09 Aug 2015

As part of their joint efforts to provide financing solutions to help enterprises meet their needs and achieve their business objectives, Tamkeen and Ithmaar Bank signed an agreement to add BD10 million to their joint enterprise finance scheme portfolio.

Commenting on the agreement, Tamkeen Chairman and Acting CEO H.E Shaikh Mohammed bin Isa Al Khalifa said: “Through its various programmes, Tamkeen seeks to help enterprises achieve their developmental goals and provide them with opportunities for expansion and growth. This includes financing solutions that make it easier for these enterprises to succeed in their ventures and projects. To achieve this, Tamkeen cooperates with partners sharing the same objectives, amongst which is Ithmaar Bank, one of leading financing institutions in the kingdom.”

Ithmaar Bank CEO Ahmed Abdul Rahim said: “We are pleased to participate in this Bahrain Government initiative together with Tamkeen to help enterprises realise their strategic objectives. The enterprise finance scheme will provide the foundation and engine for growth of business and the economy. This is part of the bank’s efforts to open new prospects for enterprise to achieve sustainability and growth, diversify their businesses, expand their customer bases, and build a solid foundation for future development.”

With the signing of this agreement, the total financing offered through Tamkeen’s Finance scheme in cooperation with partner banks reached BD372.5 million. More than 8,000 enterprises benefited from the programme to date.

For more information about the scheme and how to benefit from it, please call 17383333, contact support@Tamkeen.bh, or visit any Tamkeen or Ithmaar Bank branches available across the kingdom.

ITHMAAR BANK REPORTS INCREASED PROFITS FOR HALF YEAR 2015

09 Aug 2015

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 9 August 2015 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced today a net profit of US$13 million for the first half of 2015, as compared to a net profit of US$1.77 million for the same period last year. Net profit for the three month period ended 30 June 2015 amounted to US$5.4 million, as compared to a net loss of US$0.34 million reported for the three month period ended 30 June 2014.
Net profit attributable to equity holders of the Bank amounted to US$5.66 million for the first half of 2015, as compared to the net loss of US$0.11 million reported for the same period last year. Net profit attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the three month period ended 30 June 2015 amounted to US$3 million, as compared to the net loss of US$0.61 million reported for the three month period ended 30 June 2014.
The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, follows the review and approval, by the Board of Directors, of the Bank’s consolidated financial results for the six-month period ended 30 June 2015.
“On behalf of the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that the Bank continues to report increased profits for 2015,” said HRH Prince Amr. “The half-year financial results for 2015 show business growth resulting into significant improvement in net profit as compared to the same period last year. This is also explained by turnaround from a net loss of US$0.34 million reported for the three-month period ended 30 June 2014, to a net profit of US$5.4 million for the same period this year,” he said.
“The Bank’s operating income has increased by 37.2 percent in 2015 to US$157.6 million from the US$114.88 million reported for the same period last year,” said HRH Prince Amr. “This increase is due to overall revenue growth which has resulted in the net income, before provisions for impairment and overseas taxation for the period increasing 330.7 percent to US$61.65 million,” he said.
“Total expenses for the first half of 2015 are 4.6 percent lower, at US$95.95 million, than the total expenses reported for the same period in 2014 despite business growth,” said HRH Prince Amr. “This is a result of cost control measures which started in 2014,” he said.
“I am also pleased to report that the balance sheet continues to grow,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Total assets increasing to US$8.6 billion as at 30 June 2015, and increase of 9.4 percent compared to US$7.86 billion as at 31 December 2014, and 12.6 percent compared to US$7.63 billion as at 30 June 2014,” he said.
Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said the 2015 half-yearly financial showed growing customer confidence in the Bank.
“The equity of unrestricted investment account holders has increased to US$2.18 billion as at 30 June 2015, an increase of 8.8 percent compared to $2 billion as at 31 December 2014, and of 10.8 percent compared to US$1.97 billion as at 30 June 2014,” said Abdul Rahim. “Customer current accounts have also increased to US$1.49 billion as at 30 June 2015, an increase of 8.6 percent compared to US$1.37 billion as at 31 December 2014. Liquid assets form 12.5 percent of the Bank’s total assets as at 30 June 2015, increased from 11.3 percent as at 31 December 2014,” he said.
“The financial results for 2015 are very encouraging and demonstrate our ongoing success as we work towards realising our shared vision of becoming one of the region’s premier Islamic retail bank,” said Abdul Rahim. “This success is due, in a large part, to listening closely to our customers and working to exceed their expectations by introducing new products and services while improving customer satisfaction,” he said.
Ithmaar Bank recently introduced a new pre-paid electronic card which allows customers to top-up their cards in real time and make their online shopping experience safer and more convenient than ever before.
Ithmaar Bank also recently earned a prestigious Straight Through Processing Excellence Award from Standard Chartered Bank in recognition of Ithmaar Bank’s 94.5 percent efficiency in the execution of electronic payments during 2014.
Ithmaar had, earlier this year introduced Bahrain’s most rewarding Credit Cards loyalty programme “Ithmaar Rewards”, a new rewards programme for its MasterCard credit card holders. This rewards programme is by far the most comprehensive of its kind, and promises to further improve the Ithmaar Bank customer experience.

ITHMAAR DISCUSSES WOMEN EMPOWERMENT WITH SWC

15 Jul 2015
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 15 July 2015 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail Bank, hosted a Supreme Council of Women delegation to discuss the role of women in the national banking and finance industry and review ways to increase cooperation between the Bank and the Council.
The meeting was organized as part of the ongoing national initiative by the Supreme Council of Women and the Central Bank of Bahrain to support the empowerment of Bahraini women.
The delegation, consisting of Acting Director General of Policy and Development and Director of National Strategy for the Advancement of Bahraini Women, Dr. Dunya Ahmed, and Specialist of Planning and Development, Hind Amin, met with Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, Ithmaar Bank Head of Human Resources, Enas Rahimi, and Associate, Human Resources, Sara Bucheeri.
The meeting, which was held at Ithmaar’s headquarter, discussed the national model that aims at integrating the needs of women, in partnership with relevant parties, particularly Bahrain government and the private sector.
“Ithmaar Bank is committed to supporting the joint SCW-CBB initiative to empower Bahraini women in the banking and finance industry, and to integrate their needs in development programmes while also promoting gender equal opportunities,” said Abdul Rahim. “Women play key roles in all levels and across all departments at Ithmaar Bank, as employees, management, and as members of the Board of Directors, and the Bank’s growth and continued success would not have been possible without them,” he said.
“At Ithmaar Bank, we have long recognised women as equal partners in the workforce,” said Abdul Rahim. “We empower all our employees, ensuring equal growth opportunities for all, and focus on continuously enhancing our performance-based culture,” he said.

ITHMAAR BANK LAUNCHES PREPAID E-CARD FOR ONLINE PAYMENTS

13 Jul 2015
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 13 July 2015 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, has launched a new Sharia-compliant prepaid e-Card designed to provide customers a faster, safer and more convenient online shopping experience.

The new e-Card offers unique features and benefits, including real-time top–ups through Ithmaar Bank’s e-Banking or e-Payment platforms, as well as a daily top-up and utilisation limit of BD10,000, and a minimum top-up of only BD1. The new e-Card also allows users to join Bahrain’s most rewarding loyalty programme, Ithmaar Rewards, and accumulate loyalty points with each transaction. Other features include SMS notifications for each transaction, monthly electronic statements, as well as exclusive discounts on shipping charges through Aramex and a USD5 lifetime Aramex Shop and Ship membership.

“Ithmaar Bank has long been a pioneer in recognising industry trends and offering innovative Sharia-compliant products and services that cater to the financing needs of individuals and institutions,” said Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Retail and Private Banking, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa. “With the rising popularity of online shopping, the new Sharia-compliant Ithmaar Prepaid e-Card is yet another milestone we are introducing to Islamic banking in Bahrain,” he said.

“Among the key features of the new e-Card is the ability to safely and conveniently deliver purchases through Aramex’s ‘Shop and Ship’ service from 15 different locations around the world to Bahrain,” he said.

Ithmaar recently introduced Bahrain’s most rewarding Credit Cards loyalty programme “Ithmaar Rewards”, a new rewards programme for its MasterCard credit card holders. This rewards programme is by far the most comprehensive of its kind, and promises to further improve the Ithmaar Bank customer experience.

ITHMAAR BANK REPORTS PROFIT FOR THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2015

09 May 2015
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 9 May 2015 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, reported today (ed note: 9/05/15) a net profit of US$7.62 million for the first quarter of 2015, a 261 percent increase over the US$ 2.11million net profit reported for the same period last year.
Net profit attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the first quarter of 2015 was US$2.64 million, a 426 percent increase over the US$0.5 million profit reported for the same period last year.
The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, follows the review and approval, by the Board of Directors, of the Bank’s consolidated financial results for the three-month period ended 31 March 2015.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that Ithmaar Bank’s business continues to grow, and that the first quarter financial results reflect the improvement in the Bank’s financial performance,” said HRH Prince Amr. “The Bank’s operating income has significantly increased by almost 46 percent to US$83.34 million for the first quarter of 2015, from US$57.13 million for the same period last year. This increase is mainly due to overall revenue growth, with net income, before provisions for impairment and overseas taxation, for the period increasing 292 percent to US$34.4 million,” he said.
“Total expenses of US$48.94 million for the three-month period ended 31 March 2015, are near constant compared to US$48.35 million for the same period last year, due to cost control measures which started in 2014 both in Bahrain and in Faysal Bank Limited, Pakistan, despite the continued branch expansion in Pakistan” said HRH Prince Amr.
“I am also pleased to report that the balance sheet continues to be stable with the equity of unrestricted investment account holders growing to US$2.09 billion as at 31 March 2015, an increase of 4.18 percent compared to US$2.00 billion as at 31 December 2014,” he said. “This significant increase during the first quarter is further evidence of customers’ continued confidence in Ithmaar Bank.,” said HRH Prince Amr.
Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said the Bank’s focus on retail business has resulted in improved financial results for the first quarter of 2015.
“Total assets grew to US$8.06 billion as at 31 March 2015, an increase of 7.18 percent compared to US$7.52 billion as at 31 March 2014 and increase of 2.49 percent compared to US$7.86 billion as at 31 December 2014,” said Abdul Rahim. “Liquid assets now represent 12.7 percent of the balance sheet compared to 11.3 percent as at 31 December 2014,” he said.
“The Bank’s improving financial results indicate that the Bank is on path to realise its vision of becoming one of the region’s premier Islamic retail banks,” said Abdul Rahim. “To do so, we strive to enhance our customer satisfaction by continuously improving our products and services and thereby growing closer to our customers,” he said.
Ithmaar Bank recently introduced “Ithmaar Rewards”, a new rewards programme for its MasterCard credit card holders. This rewards programme is by far the most comprehensive of its kind and is Bahrain’s most rewarding loyalty programme, which promises to significantly improve the Ithmaar Bank customer experience. The world-class loyalty programme allows Credit Card holders to redeem points online and choose from 700 airlines, 150,000 hotels and car rental service without restrictions or blackout dates and inclusive of all taxes.
Earlier this year, Ithmaar Bank also introduced a number of financing solutions – including auto, home and personal finance offerings – that were tailored specifically to meet customer demands.
Ithmaar Bank also announced that it’s award-winning card-less cash solution, MobiCash, will be provided to customers without a service charge. MobiCash is Bahrain’s first card-less cash withdrawal system and allows customers access to Ithmaar Bank Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) using their mobile phones or computers.

ITHMAAR BANK LAUNCHES BAHRAIN’S MOST REWARDING LOYALTY PROGRAMME ‘ITHMAAR REWARDS’

05 May 2015
Ithmaar Bank launches Bahrain’s most rewarding loyalty programme ‘Ithmaar Rewards’
World-class loyalty programme allows Credit Card holders to redeem points online and choose from 700 airlines, 150,000 hotels and car rental services
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 5 May 2015 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, in collaboration with MasterCard, has launched a new comprehensive value-added credit cards loyalty rewards programme – Ithmaar Rewards.
The programme includes new and unique features, which offer Ithmaar Bank MasterCard credit card holders loyalty points for simply using their credit cards. The points accumulated from amounts spent can be redeemed online to purchase airline tickets from a choice of 700 airlines, make hotel reservations from a choice of 150,000 hotels or book car rental services worldwide without restrictions or blackout dates and inclusive of all taxes.
The loyalty points can be redeemed online by logging on to the Ithmaar Rewards page www.ithmaarbank.com/ithmaarrewards. The programme also allows cardholders to use the accumulated points to book a trip for a friend or family member.
“Ithmaar Bank is committed to becoming the Islamic bank of choice, and we are working to continuously improve our customers’ banking experience,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “We continue to invest heavily in developing our products and services while also working to be closer to our customers and this Ithmaar Rewards launch is a major step,” said Abdul Rahim.
“Ithmaar Bank is determined to become the region’s premier Islamic retail bank,” said Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Retail and Private Banking, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa. “We recognise that, to do so, we must listen closely to our customers and we must deliver on their expectations,” said Al Mutawa. “Ithmaar Rewards is one of Ithmaar Bank’s unique offerings, designed and developed to show our appreciation to our customers. We are very pleased to have worked in collaboration with MasterCard on this project and proud to present a first of its kind, world-class loyalty programme in Bahrain, providing a comprehensive solution to our loyal card holders,” he said.
Somu Roy, Vice President and Country Manager – Bahrain, MasterCard, commented: “We are proud to launch Bahrain’s most rewarding credit card programme with Ithmaar Bank, who are one of our key partners in Bahrain’s Islamic banking sector.” He added: “We pride ourselves in offering customers value-added benefits, premium privileges and rewards. With Ithmaar Rewards, we are actively rewarding MasterCard cardholders for using their cards to enjoy simple, safe and secure transactions.”

-ENDS-

ITHMAAR ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF PERSONAL FINANCE PROMOTION

05 Apr 2015
Manama, Bahrain– 05 April 2015: Five Ithmaar Bank customers will each have their next twelve months’ personal finance instalments paid for them by the Bank as part of the recent “Win back your instalment” promotion.

The promotion was valid until 4 March, and the draw was held at the Ithmaar Bank headquarters in Seef on 16 March under the supervision of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, internal auditors and external supervisors BDO (Bahrain).

The winners, Kawthar Husain Jasim Alsaadon, Salman Abdulla Mohamed Almoalem, Nabeel Malalla Mohamed Abdulla, Ahmed Muttaleb Aswad Aswad and Salman Habib Salman Husain Jawad, were formally informed about their prizes by the Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, in the presence of Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Retail and Private Banking, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa and other senior executives. Abdul Rahim congratulated the winners and wished them continued luck and good fortune.

“It is a pleasure to be able to contribute in such a direct way to improving our customers lives,” said Al Mutawa. “This latest promotion is one of the many ways we try to grow closer to our customers by listening attentively to their needs and developing products and services that meet their specific demands,” he said.

Following the draw, Ithmaar Bank will, for each of the five winners, deposit their instalment amount every month for the next 12 months after which each customer will continue paying their instalments normally until the end of their financing period. In addition to the chance to win the instalments, Ithmaar Bank customers who participated in the personal finance promotion also enjoyed a free one-month grace period, one of the lowest financing rates, tenor periods of up to 84 months and an optional grace period of an additional two-months.

ITHMAAR BANK’S STRATEGIC INITIATIVES START YIELDING RESULTS

01 Apr 2015
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 31 March 2015 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced today (ed note: 31/03/15) that the strategic decisions taken by the Bank’s Board of Directors early in 2014 have already started yielding results. The decisions, which aimed at turning the Ithmaar Group around by significantly transforming operations, included initiatives for increased revenue, improved margins, divestment of non-core assets and cost reductions across the Group.
The announcement was made by the Ithmaar Bank Chairman, His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, to the Bank’s shareholders at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) that was hosted at the Ramee Grand Hotel in Bahrain. Also present were Directors, members of the Ithmaar executive management team as well as representatives of the Bank’s Sharia Supervisory Board, the Central Bank of Bahrain, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, statutory auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the Bahrain Bourse.
“The immediate implementation of these strategic initiatives, coupled with the consistent growth of Ithmaar Bank’s core business has, despite challenging local, regional and international market conditions, contributed to improving the Bank’s performance in 2014,” said HRH Prince Amr. “As a result, Ithmaar Bank reported net profit before impairment provision and taxation of US$ 28.9 million for 2014, compared to only US$ 4.8 million profit for 2013. The net loss after impairment provision and taxation attributable to shareholders of US$ 15 million is significantly lower by 81% compared to US$ 80.3 million for 2013,” he said.
“This improved financial performance is mainly due to sustainable growth in Ithmaar Bank’s core retail banking operations, as is evident in the significant growth of the Bank’s operating income which increased by 14 percent to US$ 227.7 million in 2014, from US$ 199.9 million in 2013,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Despite growth in business, total expenses for the year ended 31 December 2014, at US$198.8 million, are under control and are 1.9 percent higher than 2013 expenses of US$195.1 million. Ithmaar Bank’s balance sheet also continues to be stable, with total assets increasing by six percent to US$ 7.86 billion as at 31 December 2014, compared to US$ 7.4 billion as at 31 December 2013. “The increase in customer balances reflects growing customer confidence in the Bank, as well as demand for its products and services,” he said.
“This transformation is, in a large part, a result of the strategic decisions taken by the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors earlier in 2014,” said HRH Prince Amr. “The benefits of these initiatives will continue in 2015 and beyond,” he said.
The AGM welcomed the improved performance, and said the Bank is clearly working towards realising the shared vision of becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank. At the AGM, shareholders also voted to adopt the proposed Staff Variable Remuneration Policy Framework, which was developed to comply with the Sound Remuneration Practices issued by the Central Bank of Bahrain.
Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said the Bank’s 2014 financial performance indicates that efforts to turn the group around are clearly paying off, as evident from the growth in the operating profits of 14 percent.
“This growth is a result of the Bank’s commitment to listening closely to its customers, and working to realise their aspirations by continuously improving its products and services,” said Abdul Rahim. “In 2014, for example, Ithmaar Bank introduced a full suite of new credit card solutions from MasterCard, substantially enhanced its popular prize-based savings account, Thimaar, and created new home, personal and auto finance products designed specifically to meet customer requirements,” he said.
Ithmaar Bank operates one of the largest retail banking networks in Bahrain with 46 ATMs and 17 full-service branches, while our key subsidiary, FBL, with its 274 branches across all cities in Pakistan, is amongst the top 10 banks in Pakistan.
“In 2014, Ithmaar Bank also signed a partnership agreement with Bahrain’s Ministry of Housing and Eskan Bank to help overcome the Kingdom’s housing challenges,” said Abdul Rahim. “Under the agreement, Bahraini citizens will be offered government-subsidised financing through Ithmaar Bank to help them buy their first homes as part of a national scheme designed to help overcome the Kingdom’s housing challenges. The Social Housing Financing Scheme allows eligible citizens to finance their first homes through Ithmaar Bank by paying 25 percent of their monthly income towards the property’s monthly instalment with the rest being paid for by the Ministry of Housing through Eskan Bank,’ he said.
“These initiatives helped drive the continued growth in the Bank’s Bahrain retail banking business in 2014,” said Abdul Rahim. “Ithmaar Bank’s financing business in Bahrain, for example, increased by 23 percent, from US$745 million at the end of 2013, to US$914 million at the end of 2014. This growth in 2014 was driven mainly by Home Financing which increased by 53 percent and Personal Financing which increased by 21 percent. Similarly, total customer current accounts, savings accounts, Thimaar and URIA deposits, increased by 11 percent in 2014, from US$1.38 billion at the end of 2013, to US$1.54 billion at the end of 2014,” he said.
-ENDS-

ITHMAAR BANK SUPPORT FOR KEY SHARIA CONFERENCE

26 Mar 2015
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 22 March 2015 – In line with its long standing commitment to playing a real and meaningful role in supporting the development of Bahrain’s banking and finance industry, Ithmaar Bank once again extended its support for a major Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institution (AAOIFI) conference which started in Bahrain earlier today (ed note: 22/03/15).
Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail Bank and a long-time AAOIFI supporter, is a Platinum Partner of the Annual Sharia Conference 2015, an international two-day Conference which is being held under the patronage of the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB). At the inauguration ceremony, AAOIFI Board of Trustees Chairman, Shaikh Ebrahim bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, presented Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, a token of appreciation in the presence of CBB Governor, Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj.
“The AAOIFI Annual Sharia Conference is one of the most important events for the global Islamic banking and finance industry,” said Abdul Rahim. “As Islamic banking pioneers, Ithmaar Bank is pleased to be able to continue to support this important initiative,” he said.
Ithmaar Bank’s relationship with and support for AAOIFI go back to the very establishment of the Institution. The predecessor of Ithmaar Bank was the very first bank anywhere in the world ever to publish its financial results in accordance with AAOIFI standards.
“Ithmaar Bank is committed to becoming one of the region’s premier Islamic retail banks,” said Abdul Rahim. “We recognise that, to do so, we must invest in continuously developing our products and services to become the Islamic bank of choice. We also recognise the important role we must play in supporting and continuously developing the community in which we operate,” he said.
“Key events, like the AAOIFI Annual Sharia Conference, present unique platforms to engage industry leaders in discussions that address some of the challenges faced by the global Islamic banking and finance industry,” said Abdul Rahim. “This, in turn, helps further reinforce Bahrain’s position as a key Islamic Banking and Finance hub in the region,” he said.

GULF AIR OFFERS DISCOUNTS FOR ITHMAAR BANK CUSTOMERS

10 Mar 2015
Manama, Bahrain– 9 March 2015: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, to offer Ithmaar Bank’s cardholders a discounted pricing for Gulf Air online ticket purchases.
Gulf Air Acting Chief Financial Officer, Sahar Ataei, and Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Retail and Private Banking, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa, signed the MOU at a ceremony held at Gulf Air headquarters.

Ithmaar Bank Debit and Credit Card holders, as per this agreement with Gulf Air, receive a 10percent discount when purchasing Gulf Air tickets online. The offer is applicable on both the national carrier’s Falcon Gold (business) and economy class fares and is valid for all tickets purchased from the official Gulf Air website, www.gulfair.com, using a special discount code that will be distributed to all Ithmaar Bank cardholders. The joint promotion is valid until 29 February 2016.
“We are delighted to launch this joint promotion with Ithmaar Bank giving Ithmaar cardholders the opportunity to experience Gulf Air’s hallmark Arabian hospitality and award-winning services with our competitive pricing and at exclusive rates,” said Ataei. “This promotion reinforces our commitment to ensuring that Gulf Air is the carrier of choice,” she said.
“Ithmaar Bank is committed to becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank,” said Al Mutawa. “In line with that commitment, we are continuously improving our products and services to ensure we remain the Islamic retail bank of choice among the people of Bahrain. This agreement with Gulf Air, for example, provides Ithmaar Bank customers preferential pricing, enabling them to travel to their favourite destinations at discounted prices,” he said.

ITHMAAR BANK REPORTS NET LOSS FOR 2014

08 Mar 2015
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 7 March 2015 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, reported today (ed note: 7/03/15) a net loss of US$8.8 million in 2014, significantly less than the net loss of US$79.3 million reported in 2013. The results include a net loss for the quarter ended 31 December 2014 of US$13.7 million, against a net loss of US$67.4 million for the same period last year.
Net loss attributable to equity holders of the Bank for 2014 amounted to US$15 million, compared to a net loss of US$80.4 million reported last year. This includes a net loss attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the three month period ended 31 December 2014 of US$16.2 million, as compared to a net loss of US$67.6 million reported for the same period in 2013.
The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, follows the review and approval by the Board of Directors of the Bank’s consolidated financial results for the year ended 31 December 2014.
“On behalf of the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that Ithmaar Bank continues sustainable growth in its core retail banking operations and has reported net profit before provision for impairment and taxation of US$29 million for 2014,” said HRH Prince Amr. “This is evident in the significant growth of the Bank’s operating income which increased 14 percent to US$227.8 million in 2014, from US$199.9 million in 2013. This increase is mainly due to sustainable revenue growth across most income streams,” he said. “This transformation is, in a large part, a result of the strategic decisions taken by the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors earlier in 2014 and the benefits of which will continue in 2015 and beyond,” said HRH Prince Amr.
The decisions, which aimed at significantly transforming the Group’s operations, included the full conversion of Ithmaar Bank’s subsidiary Faysal Bank Limited Pakistan’s (FBL) remaining conventional operations to fully Islamic banking, divestment of non-core assets and cost rationalization measures across the Group.
“Total expenses for the year ended 31 December 2014, at US$198.8 million, are 1.9 percent higher than 2013 expenses of US$195.1 million,” said HRH Prince Amr. “The 2014 expenses include the one-off expenses associated with the Staff Voluntary Separation Scheme and the full year impact in 2014 of certain branches opened in 2013 in Pakistan,” he said.
“I am also pleased to report that the balance sheet continues to be stable,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Total assets increased by 6.18 percent to US$7.86 billion as at 31 December 2014, compared to US$7.4 billion as at 31 December 2013,” he said.
Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said the Bank’s 2014 financial performance indicates that efforts to turn the group around are clearly paying off, as evident from the growth in the operating profits of 14 percent.
“I am pleased to report that in 2014 we have reduced our losses significantly from US$ 79.32 million to US$ 8.85 million,” said Abdul Rahim. “This indicates that our efforts are paying off and that we are on the right track,” he said.
“The sustainable growth achieved in the core business is evident as net income before impairment provisions and overseas taxation has significantly increased to US$29 million in 2014 as compared to US$4.8 million in 2013,” said Abdul Rahim. “Shareholders’ equity continues to be stable at US$523.4 million,” he said.
“The additional liquidity generated in 2014 was deployed in Murabaha and other financings which increased by 5.63 percent to US$3.33 billion as at 31 December 2014, compared to US$3.15 billion as at 31 December 2013 and in investment securities, which increased by 35.3 percent to US$1.77 billion as at 31 December 2014, compared to US$1.31 billion as at 31 December 2013,” said Abdul Rahim.
“The Bank’s 2014 results show that, during the year, the equity of unrestricted investment account holders marginally grew to US$2 billion as at 31 December 2014 as compared to US$1.99 billion as at 31 December 2013, customers’ current accounts have increased by 8 percent to US$1.37 billion as at 31 December 2014, compared to $1.27 billion as at 31 December 2013, and deposits from banks, financial and other institutions have increased by 13.2 percent to US$1.47 billion as at 31 December 2014, compared to $1.3 billion as at 31 December 2013,” said Abdul Rahim. “This increase reflects growing customer confidence in the Bank and demand for its products and services,” he said.
“Ithmaar Bank is committed to becoming one of the region’s premier Islamic retail banks,” said Abdul Rahim. “To do so, we continue to develop our core Islamic retail banking operations while working to improve efficiencies and reduce costs,” he said.
“This growth is a result of the Bank’s commitment to listening closely to our customers, and working to realise their aspirations by continuously improving our products and services,” said Abdul Rahim.
“In 2014, for example, Ithmaar Bank introduced a full suite of new credit card solutions from MasterCard, substantially enhanced its popular prize-based savings account, Thimaar, and created new home, personal and auto finance products designed specifically to meet customer requirements,” he said.
“Ithmaar Bank operates one of the largest retail banking networks in Bahrain, with 46 ATMs and 17 full-service branches,” said Abdul Rahim. “While our key subsidiary, FBL, is amongst the top 10 banks in Pakistan and has 274 branches across all cities in Pakistan,” he said.
In 2014, Ithmaar Bank also signed a partnership agreement with the Bahrain’s Ministry of Housing and Eskan Bank to help address the Kingdom’s housing challenges. Under the agreement, Bahraini citizens are offered government-subsidised financing through Ithmaar Bank to help them buy their first homes as part of a national scheme designed to address the Kingdom’s housing challenges. The Social Housing Financing Scheme allows eligible citizens to finance their first homes through Ithmaar Bank by paying 25 percent of their monthly income towards the property’s monthly instalment with the rest being paid for by the Ministry of Housing through Eskan Bank.

-ENDS-

ITHMAAR BANK HONOURS OUTSTANDING EMPLOYEES

04 Feb 2015
Manama, Bahrain– 4 February 2015: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, continued a long-standing tradition of celebrating employee achievements and hosted a ceremony to honour outstanding employees. At the ceremony, Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, praised employee efforts and noted that, ultimately, people are the key drivers behind the Bank’s continued success.
“Ithmaar Bank is committed to becoming one of the region’s premier Islamic retail banks,” said Abdul Rahim. “To do so, we invest heavily in continuously developing our products and services, and we work hard to grow increasingly closer to our customers. This customer-focused approach can only be realised through truly dedicated employees who genuinely share Ithmaar Bank’s passion for excellence,” he said.
“I am pleased to join in honouring some of Ithmaar Bank’s most outstanding employees and to share in our collective celebrations,” said Abdul Rahim. “I congratulate each on their achievements, and wish them continued success,” he said.
During the ceremony, which was attended by General Manager, Retail and Private Banking, Abdul Hakim Al Mutawa, and General Manager, Banking Operations, Information Technology and Administration, Abdul Rahman Al Shaikh, Abdul Rahim presented Employee of the Month and Exceeding Sales Targets awards as well as appreciation awards to members of the Collection and Remedial Management Department for their exceptional efforts.
Mai Abdulhameed Mohammed Al-Thawadi from West Riffa Branch, Abdulla Naser Abdulla Al-Mahmeed from Muharraq Branch, Mohammed Abdulla Mohammed Matter from Isa Town Branch , Mohammed Abdulla Mohammed Al Alawadhi from Zinj Branch, Ali Hasan Mohammed Mahmoud from Commercial & International Banking Shaima Ahmed Abdulla Ali from Asset Management and Jassim Mohammed Salem Weswasi from Administration were each presented an Employee of the Month Award; while Marwa Al Hashimi and Mohamed Radhi from Direct Sales, Marwa Younis from Sanad Branch, Mohammed Matter from Isa Town Branch, Fahad Al Yahya from Zinj Branch, Abdulla Al Marzooqi from West Riffa Branch, Anwaar Al Sherooqi from the Main Branch, Hussain Shukralla from Manama Branch, Ali Hasan Juma from Budaiya Branch and Zeyad Albdulla from Um Al Hasam Branch were each presented an Exceeding Sales Target Award. Nine members of the Collection and Remedial Management Department – Saeed Mohamed Abdali Bader, Ali Mohamed Abdulla Al-Jamea, Nawaf Khalid Abdulla Ateeq, Masooma Asghar Abbas Yusuf, Muneera Ghazi Hareb Al-Ghafri, Fatema Ali Abdullatif Abdulla, Fatema Ahmed Habib Abdulkarim, Zahra Farookh Jamal Hasan and Mariam Ebrahim Buzaboon were also honoured for their exceptional efforts.

ITHMAAR BANK COMMITTED TO WORKING CLOSELY WITH BAHRAIN AND KUWAIT AUTHORITIES

25 Jun 2015
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 24 June 2015 – Ithmaar Bank B.S.C. (stock code “ITHMR”) is a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank that is licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) and listed on the Bahrain Bourse and the Kuwait Stock Exchange.
In compliance with CBB requirements, Ithmaar Bank publishes its financial results in line with international accountings standards issued by the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI).
In May, Ithmaar Bank received notification from the Kuwait Stock Exchange requiring the Bank to publish its financial results in line with the International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS).
Ithmaar Bank responded with a letter explaining that publishing two sets of financial results using different international accounting standards will create confusion among investors. Ithmaar Bank wrote to the Kuwait Stock Exchange requesting a meeting to review possible alternatives. Ithmaar Bank has not yet received a response, and remains firmly committed to working closely with the regulators and stock exchanges in both Bahrain and Kuwait.

BAHRAINI WOMAN WINS A KILOGRAM OF GOLD WITH THIMAAR

17 Jan 2015
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 17 January 2015 – Bahraini Anod Alanzi won a kilogram of gold from Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, after winning the first Quarterly Prize in the Bank’s improved prize-based savings account, Thimaar. She is the first person ever to win such a prize in Bahrain.
The Thimaar Account, which was re-launched last October to offer bigger prizes to more winners, is the only saving scheme in Bahrain that offers both gold and cash prizes, as well as anticipated profit rates and free life takaful, as an added incentive to save. Over the next year, a total 3,540 winners will win cash and gold prizes of more than $2,000,000.
Anod was presented a box of 125 gold coins, each of eight grams, by the Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim at the Bank headquarters. Another 82 Thimaar account holders won USD1,000 each, 120 Thimaar Junior winners won USD250 and an Ithmaar account holder won 200 grams of gold. Thimaar draws were held under the supervision of a Ministry of Industry and Commerce representative as well as internal auditors and external supervisors, BDO (Bahrain).
“I was so happy when I heard the news,” said Anod. “Initially, when I first received the call from Ithmaar Bank, I couldn’t believe that I had actually won a kilogram of gold so I called the Main Office to check. In fact, until the moment I physically received the gold, I thought I was dreaming,” she said.
“I am delighted that the enhanced Thimaar offering, particularly with the Gold Rush prizes, is bringing so much joy and happiness to our customers,” said Abdul Rahim. “Gold is of special importance to many of us in the region and is also a way of saving and investing for the future,” he said. “Ithmaar Bank is committed to becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank,” said Abdul Rahim. “In line with that commitment, we are continuously improving our products and services by enhancing our offers to ensure we remain the Islamic retail bank of choice among the people of Bahrain,” he said.
The enhanced Thimaar Account offers more than USD2,000,000 million in gold and cash prizes with 996 monthly winners, four quarterly winners and 500 Eid winners, as well as 1,440 Junior monthly winners and 600 Eid Junior winners. Customers with a balance of BD50 and above in the Thimaar Account are eligible to participate in the monthly, quarterly and Eid draws. This is in addition, of course, to free life cover and anticipated monthly profit for all Thimaar customers.

ITHMAAR BANK ANNOUNCES STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP WITH WELLMED CLINIC

15 Jan 2015
Value added healthcare services for Ithmaar Card holders

Manama, Bahrain– 15 January 2015: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, today (ed note: 150115) signed a strategic partnership agreement with Wellmed Clinic, a leading Orthopedic specialist clinic, to provide value added healthcare services to Ithmaar Bank cardholders.

The agreement allows Ithmaar Bank Debit and Credit cardholders a 20 percent discount in orthopedic consultancy and diagnostics, with a special package for physiotherapy, hydrotherapy (special heated pool) and Gym services as prescribed by the specialist at the Wellmed Clinic. This offer is available for six months from January 15, 2015 till June 15, 2015.

“Ithmaar Bank is constantly seeking avenues to provide our Debit and Credit cardholders with value added services,” said Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Retail and Private Banking, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa. “This strategic partnership with Wellmed is one such initiative which aims to provide our customers with specialised orthopedic and physiotherapy services at special, reduced rate,” he said.

“We are pleased to have signed this agreement with Ithmaar Bank to provide healthcare services at our clinic,” said Wellmed Clinic Managing Director, Zain Al Shaker. “At Wellmed, we are committed to a patient-centric clinical approach focusing on delivering quality healthcare. Our modern facilities help us to stand out as a centre for Orthopedic excellence. Ithmaar Card holders can look forward to availing of the best orthopedic consultancy, diagnostics and physiotherapy services at our Clinic,” she said.

ITHMAAR BANK EARNS EXCELLENCE AWARD

28 Jun 2015
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 28 June 2015 –Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, achieved exceptional operational efficiency in 2014 to earn a prestigious Excellence Award from Standard Chartered Bank.
Ithmaar Bank, which achieved 94.5 percent efficiency in the execution of electronic payments during 2014, received the Straight Through Processing (STP) Excellence Award at a ceremony held at the Bank’s Seef Headquarters. The Award was presented to the Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Head of Banking Operations, Information Technology and Administration, Abdulrahman Al Shaikh, by the Standard Chartered Director of Financial Institutions – Transaction Banking, Hassan Qambar.
Qambar congratulated Ithmaar Bank, and wished the Bank continued success. “This award is evidence of Ithmaar Bank’s operational excellence,” said Qambar. “We are delighted to partner with an institution of such calibre,” he said.
“Ithmaar Bank is committed to becoming the Islamic bank of choice,” said Al Shaikh. “To do so, we focus on enhancing our customer’s satisfaction by continuously improving our products and services, as well as our transaction processing,” he said.
“This award confirms that our efforts are paying off,” said Al Shaikh. “It is an achievement that demonstrates our operational efficiency, and it was made possible by the commitment, dedication and expertise of Ithmaar Bank’s Operations Team,” he said.

ITHMAAR INAUGURATES NEW ATM

1 Jan 2015
MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 11 January 2015 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced that it inaugurated a new drive-through Automated Teller Machine (ATM) at the Isa Town fuel station. This brings the total number of ATMs in Ithmaar Bank’s fast growing retail banking network to 46, including 17 at full service branches, at strategic locations across Bahrain.
The new offsite ATM, said Ithmaar Bank General Manager Retail and Private Banking, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa, was installed in direct response to customer demands and underscores the Bank’s commitment to listening carefully, and responding quickly, to customer needs.
The new ATM, which is designed to be accessible from the comfort of a customer’s car, is located within the Bapco fuel station in Isa Town, near the popular Isa Town Mall as well as the traditional outdoor Isa Town Market and the busy car servicing and mechanical repairs stations. The ATM features sophisticated technology that allows for both additional security features, as well as advanced services including real-time cash deposits and card-less access to cash through Ithmaar Bank’s award winning MobiCash solution.
“Ithmaar Bank is committed to becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank,” said Al Mutawa. “To do so, we listen carefully to our customers and we work hard to ensure we grow continuously closer to them,” he said.
“This latest addition to our retail banking network is located in an exceptionally busy area with a tremendous amount of activity nearby,” said Al Mutawa. “We are confident that it will help improve our customer’s Islamic banking experience, and contribute to making everyone’s lives a little easier,” he said.

ITHMAAR OFFERS FREE ACCESS TO CARD-LESS CASH

06 Jan 2015

Manama, Bahrain– 6 January 2015: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced that it’s award-winning card-less cash solution, MobiCash, will now be provided to customers without a service charge.

MobiCash is Bahrain’s first card-less cash withdrawal system and allows customers access to Ithmaar Bank Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) using their mobile phones or computers. Previously, Mobicash won the prestigious World Summit Award mobile (WSA-mobile), a United Nations award for helping change the way customers access cash.

Ithmaar’s MobiCash allows cash withdrawals from the Bank’s ATMs without a card. Customers can safely and securely send cash virtually to themselves, friends, family members or any third party by simply logging on to the Bank’s eBanking portal or Mobile Banking. The system automatically sends an SMS with a code that allows customers to withdraw cash without a card on the Bank’s ATM network. MobiCash is backed by a network of 47 ATMs across the Kingdom and can be used both by individuals and by corporate customers.
“As part of Ithmaar Bank’s commitment to continuously improving our customer service offerings, we are pleased to provide MobiCash for free to our customers,” said Ithmaar Bank General Manager Retail and Private Banking Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa. “Following its introduction in 2013, MobiCash has proved particularly popular with customers finding real value in being able to access cash at any time, even when they forget their wallets behind,” he said.
“We are delighted to have been able to make such innovative service offering for further improvement in our customers’ Islamic banking experience, and are proud to have been the first to introduce this innovate service in Bahrain,” said Al Mutawa. “With MobiCash now available for free, we expect even more customers to use this unique service,” he said.
“Being pioneers in Islamic retail banking, Ithmaar Bank is committed to providing premium customer support and delivering an exceptional experience to our customers,” said Al Mutawa. “The MobiCash solution is a perfect example of how seriously we take this commitment,” he said.
MobiCash was selected out of 400 mobile applications from more than 100 countries to receive the prestigious award organized by the International Center for New Media (ICNM) in Salzburg, Austria in 2013. The World Summit Award Mobile is a global initiative within the framework of the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The Award is in collaboration with UNESCO, UNIDO, UN GAID and WSA-mobile’s key partner, Abu Dhabi Systems & Information Center.

BAHRAINI WOMAN WINS A BAG OF GOLD UNDER THIMAAR

28 Dec 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 28 December 2014 – Bahraini Suad Mohammed Al Saad literally took home a bag of gold after winning Ithmaar Bank’s second monthly draw for its enhanced prize-based savings account, Thimaar.
Suad was presented a bag of 25 gold coins, each of eight grams, by Ithmaar Bank General Manager Retail and Private Banking, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa, while another 82 Thimaar account holders also won USD1,000 each as part of the monthly draw for a total prize purse of 200 grams of gold and USD82,000 in cash. The draw, which was held at the Ithmaar Bank headquarters under the supervision of a Ministry of Industry and Commerce representative as well as internal auditors and external supervisors, BDO (Bahrain), is the second to be held as part of Ithmaar Bank’s enhanced new Thimaar Account offering.
“This was very interesting once a life-time experience,” said Suad. “I’ve never won a bag of gold before – and I don’t know of anyone who ever has,” she said.
“I was delighted to receive a call from Ithmaar Bank informing me that I’ve won a bag of gold,” said Suad. “I have never won a Thimaar prize before, and I was very excited that my prayers were answered as I knew they would be,” she said.
“I started saving with Thimaar since it was first introduced, and I plan to contribute part of the prize towards helping build a mosque,” said Suad. “This month is a double celebration for me: the National Day, and the Thimaar prize,” she said.
The new Thimaar Account is the only saving scheme in Bahrain that offers both gold and cash prizes, as well as anticipated profit rates and free life takaful, as an added incentive to save. Over the next year, a total 3,540 winners will win cash and gold prizes of more than $2,000,000.
“Ithmaar Bank is committed to becoming one of the region’s premier Islamic retail banks,” said Al Mutawa. “To do so, we recognise the need to continuously improve our products and services. When we launched Thimaar in 2010, for example, we are adhering to our plan to add to it each year with more benefits to our customers. In doing so, we reinforce our commitment both to improving our customer offerings, and to contributing to the growth and prosperity of our communities,” he said.
“We choose the “Gold Rush” theme for the new phase of Thimaar, and incorporated not only cash prizes but also a full kilogram of gold coins that customers can choose to keep as an investment,” said Al Mutawa. “We believe that no one is too young to start learning about the importance and value of money and Thimaar Junior account, another first of its kind in Bahrain, offers additional prizes for accounts opened for minors under the age of 18 years as an added incentive. This, we believe, provides a unique savings offering for children and helps in developing lasting relationships with the Bank,” he said.
The enhanced Thimaar Account offers more than USD2,000,000 million in gold and cash prizes with 996 monthly winners, four quarterly winners and 500 Eid winners, as well as 1,440 Junior monthly winners and 600 Eid Junior winners. Customers with a balance of BD50 and above in the Thimaar Account are eligible to participate in the monthly, quarterly and Eid draws. This is in addition, of course, to free life cover and anticipated monthly profit for all Thimaar customers.

SPECIALISED BIBF TRAINING FOR ITHMAAR EXECUTIVES

23 Dec 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 23 December 2014 – Senior executives from Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, attended an intensive, four-day course that was specifically tailored for them by Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF).
The credit programme course, which was designed exclusively for Ithmaar Bank, focused on the latest credit assessment techniques and, in particular, on evaluating associated risks when financing middle to large market businesses. The course was delivered by Ashish Sarkar, a senior banking executive with more than twenty years of experience in credit analysis, credit risk management, corporate and international banking field.
In addition to the Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer other members of the Bank’s management team attended the course which focused on industry and business cycle risk evaluations, analysing working capital and liquidity and the management of future debt servicing.
“Ithmaar Bank is committed to becoming one of the region’s premier Islamic retail banks,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “It is a commitment we take very seriously and we recognise that, to realise this ambitious goal we must invest in continuously developing our products and services and as well as, most importantly, our people,” he said.
“Ithmaar Bank has long recognised its people as its greatest asset, and we continue to work to ensure they remain among the best in the financial services sector,” said Abdul Rahim. “The credit training programme, for example, was specifically designed to meet our requirements and, in doing so, allows us to further improve credit assessment skills,” he said.
BIBF Deputy Director Dr Ahmed Al Shaikh stressed the value of investing in human resources skills to promote business performance.
“One of BIBF’s key objectives is to ensure that training programmes cater for meeting the needs of business development by providing quality and professional content as well as establishing strategic partnerships with international professional institutions”, he added.

ITHMAAR BANK MARKS BAHRAIN WOMEN’S DAY

02 Dec 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 02 December 2014 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, yesterday (ed note: 01/12/14) marked Bahrain Women’s Day by honouring the Bank’s women employees and presenting each with a gift.
The honouring ceremony was hosted by Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, and attended by the General Manager, Banking Operations, Information Technology and Administration, Abdulrahman Mohammed Al Shaikh, the Head of Human Resources, Enas Rahimi, and other members of the Bank’s management team.
“In marking Bahrain Women’s day, we celebrate the key contributions of women to our economy, our society and our community at large,” said Abdul Rahim. “Women play key roles in all levels and across all departments at Ithmaar Bank, as employees, management, and as members of the Board of Directors, and the Bank’s growth and continued success would not have been possible without them,’ he said.
“Ithmaar Bank has long recognised women as equal partners in the workforce,” said Abdul Rahim. “We empower all our employees, ensuring equal growth opportunities for all, and focus on continuously enhancing our performance-based culture. Marking Bahrain Women’s day and honouring our women employees is an opportunity to emphasise this among our employees,” he said.
Ithmaar Bank’s total workforce of 270 employees include 75 women employees who account for 28 percent of the workforce. Kuwait’s Shaikha Hissah bint Saad Al Sabah, who is president of both the Council for Arab Business Women and the Council for Arab African Business Women, is also a member of the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors.

ITHMAAR BANK REPORTS INCREASED INCOME, PROFITS FOR 2014

13 Nov 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 13 November 2014 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced today (ed note: 13/11/14) a total net profit of US$ 4.84 million for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2014, compared to a net loss of US$ 11.97 million reported for the same nine-month period last year. Net profit for the three month period ended 30 September 2014 amounted to US$3.06 million, as compared to net loss of US$4.45 million reported for the three month period ended 30 September 2013.
Net profit attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2014 amounted to US$1.14 million, compared to a net loss of US$12.79 million reported in the same period last year. Net profit attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the three month period ended 30 September 2014 amounted to US$1.26 million, as compared to net loss of US$5.15 million reported for the three month period ended 30 September 2013.
The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, follows the review and approval by the Board of Directors of the Bank’s consolidated financial results for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2014.
“On behalf of the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that Ithmaar Bank has reported profit and continues to grow its core retail banking operations,” said HRH Prince Amr. “The financial results show stable, consistent growth in Ithmaar Bank’s performance,” he said.
“In particular, I am pleased to announce that net income, before provisions for impairment and overseas taxation, has increased by 270 percent to US$29.93 million during the nine month period ended 30 September 2014, compared to US$8.10 million during the same period last year,” said HRH Prince Amr. “This increase is mainly due to sustainable revenue growth across most income streams,” he said.
“Our improved performance is evident from the growth in operating income, which increased by 17 percent to US$176.55 million, compared to US$150.56 million reported during the same period last year,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Total expenses for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2014, at US$146.62 million, are 2.92 percent higher than the same period in 2013, mainly due to the one-off expenses associated with the Staff Voluntary Separation Scheme and the full year impact in 2014 of certain branches opened in 2013 in Pakistan,” he said.
“I am also pleased to report that the balance sheet continues to be stable,” said HRH Prince Amr. “The equity of unrestricted investment account holders has increased by 5.4 percent to US$1.98 billion as compared to $1.88 billion as at 30 September 2013 and has remained stable at US$1.99 billion as of 31 December 2013. The Bank continues to reduce its cost of funding as part overall cost reduction initiative. Customer current accounts have increased to US$1.29 billion as at 30 September 2014, an increase of 10.08 percent compared to US$1.18 billion as at 30 September 2013 and increase of 1.8 percent compared to US$1.27 billion as at 31 December 2013, mainly due to the Bank’s continued focus on developing its core retail banking business and raising low cost funds. Liquid assets now represent 13.1 percent of the balance sheet as at 30 September 2014,” he said.

Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said the results indicate that Ithmaar Bank is on track to realising its commitment to becoming one of the region’s premier Islamic retail banks.
“The 2014 financial results show stable, consistent growth in our core Islamic retail banking operations and continue to reflect improving operational efficiencies and increasing profitability,” said Abdul Rahim. “Murabaha and other financing increased to US$3.22 billion as at 30 September 2014, an increase of 2.8 percent from $3.13 billion as at 30 September 2013 and increase of 2 percent from $3.15 billion as at 31 December 2013,” he said.
“The above indicates growing customer commitments to Ithmaar Bank, and reflect both increasing confidence in, as well as demand for, the Bank’s products and services,” said Abdul Rahim. “This, in turn, is a result of Bank’s commitment to growing closer to its customer by listening closely to their requirements and working to continuously improve our offerings to help further enhance our customer’s Islamic banking experience,” he said.
“In line with that commitment, we enhanced and re-launched our popular prize-based savings account, Thimaar, to offer customers a chance to win both gold and cash,” said Abdul Rahim. “We also enhanced our home financing offering to allow customer greater flexibility and additional choices, as well as completive rates and an optional grace period,” he said.
“Earlier this month, we also added a new offsite Automated Teller Machine (ATM) to our retail banking network, already one of the largest in Bahrain,” said Abdul Rahim. “The new offsite ATM, which was installed in direct response to customer demands, brings the total number of ATMs in Ithmaar Bank’s retail banking network to 47, including 17 at full service branches, at strategic locations across Bahrain. Our large network of retail banking branches allows us to grow closer to our customers while we work on continuously enhancing our products and services,” he said
“Our key subsidiary, Faysal Bank Limited (FBL), with its 269 branches, is amongst the top 10 banks in Pakistan. Ithmaar Bank currently holds about 67% of Faisal Bank Limited, Pakistan (FBL). During the year, Ithmaar increased its representation of the Board of FBL to five directors out of eight directors. The new Board of Directors of FBL introduced several major changes in the Bank including management structure, business transformation and major cost saving initiatives. Such developments will positively reflect on the Bank’s performance in the coming years starting from 2015,” said Abdul Rahim.

ITHMAAR AWARDS OUTSTANDING EMPLOYEES

22 Oct 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 20 October 2014 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, honoured employees who had exceeded their targets by presenting each a trophy and a certificate of appreciation at special awards ceremony.
The ceremony, which was hosted by Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Abdul Rahim and attended by General Manager Retail and Private Banking, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa, Assistant General Manager, Retail Banking, Mohammed Janahi, Head of Business Development Unit, Fayza Hasan, and other senior members of the Bank’s management team, aimed to further reinforce the bank’s performance-based culture.
The employees, Hussain Ali Al Rahma and Fadhel Abbas Al Aradi both members of Ithmaar Bank’s Direct Sales Unit, as well as Dalal Habib from the Hamalah Branch, Layla Nabeel from the West Riffa Branch, and Mohammed Al-Aradi and Ahmed Saif from the Muharraq Branch, each earned the “Exceeding Target Award” in recognition of their exceptional performance.
“The Exceeding Target Award was introduced earlier this year to identify, recognise and continuously encourage exceptional performance among employees both in the Bank’s various branches and the Direct Sales Unit,” said Abdul Rahim. “This target-driven award helps further develop our performance-based culture and keeps our collective focus on continuously improving our customer’s Islamic retail banking experience,” he said.
“I am particularly pleased to note that our staff, who interact with our customers and our real brand ambassadors, have been exceeding expectations,” said Abdul Rahim. “This award celebrates some of Ithmaar Bank’s most important values, and I congratulate each of winners on their achievements,” he said.

SALMABAD ATM TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE

17 Oct 2014

A fire damaged the Ithmaar Bank Automated Teller Machine (ATM) in Salmabad earlier today (ed note: 171014). There were no injuries, police are investigating the cause. Ithmaar Bank is working to get the ATM operational as soon as possible. Meanwhile, customers can use the nearby ATMs in Aali and Isa Town.

ITHMAAR PRESENTS EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH AWARDS

12 Oct 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 11 October 2014 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank continued its long-standing tradition of celebrating employee achievements and honoured three employees for their outstanding performance by presenting them the Employee of the Month Award.
The employees, Abdulla Adam Al-Turabi and Mai Abdulhameed Al-Thawadi, both Officers in the Retail Banking Department, and Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Jassim a Senior Officer in the Retail Banking Department, received their awards from the Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, who also presented them with a token cash prize, a Certificate of Appreciation and a trophy. Also present at the honouring ceremony were General Manager Retail and Private Banking, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa, and other senior members of the Bank’s management team.
“At Ithmaar Bank, we have long maintained that our employees are our greatest asset,” said Abdul Rahim. “In particular, as an Islamic retail bank, our retail banking employees play a key role in continuously improving customer satisfaction and in delivering our products and services in the best possible way,” he said.
“We are committed to becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail Bank,” said Abdul Rahim. “We recognise that, to do so, we must continuously innovate creative banking solutions and improve our products and services. Recognising exceptional performance and investing in employee development will help translate this vision into a tangible reality,” he said.
“The Employee of the Month Award recognises, celebrates and rewards exceptional employee performance,” said Abdul Rahim. “I am pleased to note the dedication, commitment and expertise of our employees and I am confident that this contributes directly and in a big way to our continued success,” he said.

ITHMAAR BANK UPGRADES WEBSITE

21 Sep 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 21 September 2014 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, has upgraded its website (www.ithmaarbank.com) to introduce an improved user experience and deliver innovative, customer-focused solutions using the latest technology.
The website upgrade was completed in line with Ithmaar Bank’s commitment to becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank by continuously improving its products and services while growing closer to its customers.
“Ithmaar Bank’s new, responsive website interface includes various innovative functionalities that improve user experience,” said Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Retail and Private Banking, Abdulhakeem Al Mutawa. “Navigation in the improved website, for example, is simplified by categorizing the product-centric primary menu, including Retail Banking, Financing, Private banking and Premier banking to match the visitor’s profile. The menu also provides a one-stop list for groups of services including accounts, financing and e-banking,” he said.
“Our website now allows users to personalize their Ithmaar Bank web experience by adapting the site to their needs. They can, for example, select any specific service to be displayed as their own Ithmaar Bank home page for future visits,” said Al Mutawa. “The website is responsive, and automatically adapts itself to the size of the users screen to provide easier, more intuitive navigation. The website can be viewed across multiple platforms including smart phones, tablets and desktops,” he said.
“The processes of filling application forms and inquiring about financing, for example, were brought online with the introduction of digital application forms. An enhanced calculator is also available where customers can make tentative calculations on Ithmaar Bank’s various financing offers,” he said.
The new Ithmaar Bank website was designed and developed by Spark Digitus, an award-winning Bahrain-based creative digital agency.
Visitors to the website can select their favourite product for easy access from anywhere within the site andthey can even share product details over social media platforms with friends and family.
In terms of look-and-feel, the website sets a new industry bench mark.It moves away from the typical banking websites, and delivers instead a modern, sophisticated interface which blends functionality and design.

ITHMAAR BANK REPORTS PROFITS AND INCREASED REVENUES FROM CORE BUSINESS

16 Aug 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 16 August 2014 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced today a net profit of US$1.77 million for the first half of 2014, as compared to the net loss of US$7.52 million reported for the same period last year. Net loss for the three month period ended 30 June 2014 amounted to US$0.34 million, as compared to net loss of US$8.95 million reported for the three month period ended 30 June 2013.
Net loss attributable to equity holders of the Bank amounted to US$0.11 million for the first half of 2014, as compared to the net loss of US$7.64 million reported for the same period last year. Net loss attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the three month period ended 30 June 2014 amounted to US$0.61 million, as compared to net loss of US$9.49 million reported for the three month period ended 30 June 2013.
The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, follows the review and approval, by the Board of Directors, of the Bank’s consolidated financial results for the six-month period ended 30 June 2014.
“On behalf of the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that Ithmaar Bank continues to grow its core retail banking operations during the second quarter,” said HRH Prince Amr. “This is illustrated in the financial results that show revenue growth across most income streams,” he said.
“Our improved performance is evident from the growth in operating income, which increased by 17.68 percent to US$114.88 million from the US$97.61 million reported for the same period last year,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Total expenses for the first half of 2014, at US$100.56 million, are 5.42 percent higher than the same period in 2013, mainly due to the one-off expenses associated with the Voluntary Separation Scheme and the full year impact in 2014 of certain branches opened in 2013 in Pakistan,” said HRH Prince Amr.
“I am also pleased to report that the balance sheet continues to be stable,” said HRH Prince Amr. “The equity of unrestricted investment account holders has increased by 9.1 percent to US$1.97 billion as compared to $1.80 billion as at 30 June 2013 and has remained stable at US$1.99 billion as of 31 December 2013. Customer current accounts have increased to US$1.49 billion as at 30 June 2014, an increase of 19.08 percent compared to US$1.25 billion as at 30 June 2013 and increase of 17.61 percent compared to US$1.27 billion as at 31 December 2013, mainly due to the Bank’s continued focus on developing its core retail banking business and raising low cost funds,” he said.
Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said the 2014 half-yearly financial results show stable, consistent growth in the Bank’s core Islamic retail banking operations and reflect improving efficiencies and increasing profitability.
“The financial results demonstrate the success of our ongoing efforts to develop core Islamic retail banking operations and resultant recurring income. Murabaha and other financing continues to increase, and amounted to US$3.31 billion as at 30 June 2014, an increase of 4.81 percent from US$3.15 billion as at 30 June 2013 and increase of 4.84 percent from US$3.15 billion as at 31 December 2013, expenses are under control and the impact of cost reduction measures implemented during the year will be realized in full during 2015” said Abdul Rahim. “Liquid assets now represent 13.77 percent of the Bank’s total assets as at 30 June 2014,” he said.
“The results also indicate that board initiatives to enhance the group’s performance in 2014 are paying off, and that the Bank is continuing to work towards realising its vision of becoming one of the region’s premier Islamic retail banks,” said Abdul Rahim. “We are doing so by listening closely to our customers with focus on enhancing service quality and developing both our products and our services to meet their specific requirements and continuously improve their Islamic retail banking experience,” he said.
“Ithmaar Bank has one of the largest distribution networks in Bahrain with a total of 17 branches and 48 ATMs in strategic locations, and our key subsidiary, Faysal Bank Limited (FBL), with its 269 branches, is amongst the top 10 banks in Pakistan,” said Abdul Rahim. “Our large network of retail banking branches allows us to grow closer to our customers while we work on continuously enhancing our products and services,” he said.
Ithmaar Bank has recently introduced a full suite of new MasterCard credit card solutions, as well as new personal and auto finance products designed specifically to meet customer requirements.
Most recently, Ithmaar Bank signed a partnership agreement with the Bahrain Ministry of Housing and Eskan Bank to help address the Kingdom’s housing challenges. Under the agreement, Bahraini citizens will be offered government-subsidised financing through Ithmaar Bank to help them buy their first homes as part of a national scheme designed to address the Kingdom’s housing challenges. The Social Housing Financing Scheme allows eligible citizens to finance their first homes through Ithmaar Bank by paying 25 percent of their monthly income towards the property’s monthly instalment with the rest being paid for by the Ministry of Housing through Eskan Bank.

ITHMAAR’ S MAIN BRANCH WIN BEST BRANCH AWARD

10 Aug 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 10 August 2014 – Ithmaar Bank’s Main branch won the coveted Best Branch Award for the first quarter of 2014.
The Award was presented to the Main branch Manager, Sami Al-Hajri, by the Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, at a special honouring ceremony held at the Bank’s headquarters in Seef. The ceremony was also attended by Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Retail and Private Banking, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa, and other senior executives.
“The Main branch is perhaps our most high-profile branch,” said Al Mutawa. “To win the Award, the Main Branch demonstrated consistently exceptional performance with a particular emphasis on efficiency and customer satisfaction. I take this opportunity to congratulate Sami and his team on their achievement and wish them continued success,” he said.
“The Best Branch Award has proved a powerful motivator for all our retail banking staff, and has helped the Bank continuously improve its customers’ Islamic banking experience,” said Al Mutawa. “The winning branch, for example, must out-perform all Ithmaar Bank’s branches when measured against comprehensive criteria that include assets and liability growth, profitability, branch quality and aesthetics,” he said.
“The quarterly award allows Ithmaar Bank’s 17 full-service branches to challenge each other to enhance their services and improve their performance in-line with the Bank’s committed to becoming the Islamic retail bank of choice,” said Al Mutawa. “This competitive process also helps us evaluate the improvement of each branch to ensure the continuous development of our services,” he said.

DILMUNIA WINS INTERNATIONAL BRANDING ACCOLADE

23 Jul 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 22 July 2014 – Dilmuina at Bahrain earned the Best Visual Identity award at the 2014 Transform MENA Awards in recognition of its strategic and creative visual brand positioning. Dilmunia is a project of master developer Ithmaar Development Company (IDC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank.
Dilmunia is a mixed-use project built on a man-made island off the coast of Muharraq. With a unique Health and Wellness anchor, Dilmunia will include residences, hotels, leisure and shopping districts, and provide residents and visitors with state-of-the-art wellness facilities and spas in a resort-type environment. Infrastructure works for the USD 1.6 billion development commenced in early 2013, and the three residential projects launched within Dilmunia since have reported exceptionally positive sales. Dilmunia’s commitment to excellence has made it a sought after location for Bahrainis and expats alike. Dilmunia is expected to be a major addition to the social and tourism infrastructure of Bahrain.
The development’s strategic and creative visual brand positioning by Unisono, one of the region’s leading strategic creative consultancies, was awarded a prestigious bronze accolade at the 2014 Transform MENA Awards in Dubai, UAE. The independent consultancy is recognised as one of the best branding agencies in the Middle East and worldwide having won top prizes at The REBRAND 100 Global and The Transform Europe Awards, UK.
“Our commitment to excellence begins with selecting the right partners for Dilmunia,” said IDC Manager – Investment, Waleed Ali. “We are delighted with the work produced in partnership with Unisono and to have been recognized as a leading property brand in the region,” he said.
“This award celebrates a successful partnership with Dilmunia and further recognition for the international quality of Unisono’s brand development process,” said Unisono Founding Partner and Director of Branding, Liam Farrell.
“We were delighted not only with the calibre of work submitted and the reaction of those who won, but also by the commitment from all who were there to make the Transform Awards an important fixture in the region,” said Transform magazine Publishing Editor, Andrew Thomas.

ANOTHER THIMAAR WINNER TAKES HOME $100,000 IN PRIZE MONEY

20 Jul 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 19 July 2014 –Jamal Adli Anabtawi, a regular saver in Ithmaar Bank’s prize-based savings account, Thimaar, has won $100,000 in the Thimaar Quarterly Grand Draw.
The draw, which was held last week at Ithmaar Bank headquarters under the supervision of a Ministry of Industry and Commerce representative as well as both internal and external auditors, also named a further 183 winners who, together with the Quarterly Prize winner, took home a total prize purse of $191,000.
Following the draw, Ithmaar Bank Assistant General Manager, Retail Banking, Mohammed Janahi, noted that the Thimaar savings scheme continues to prove extremely popular and congratulated the latest winners.
“Encouraging saving is part of the Bank’s mission as it benefits savers long into the future,” said Janahi. “Ithmaar Bank’s Thimaar account attracts large numbers of savers due to its frequent prizes that reward those who, like Jamal, have a regular saving ethic. I would like to congratulate him for winning this year’s third Quarterly draw, as well as all the winners of the July monthly draw,” he said.
Thimaar, Arabic for fruits or harvest, is a Sharia-compliant account introduced by Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, to encourage a more responsible spending and saving pattern by offering prize-linked incentives to savers. Thimaar also provides free life cover as well as anticipated monthly profits. The more participants save, the more chances they have to win prizes. Consequently, those saving are also strengthening and preparing themselves to meet future financial needs.
Total prize money during the period November 2013 to November 2014 will be more than US$2 million, divided amongst Quarterly Winners, Monthly Winners, Monthly Junior Winners and Special Draw Winners. The next Thimaar and Junior Eid draw will take place on 22 July, 2014 to announce the winners for an exclusive draw for Eid Al Fitr. The final Quarterly Grand draw of the year for US$ 100,000 will take place on 2 October, 2014. The draws are open to all savers with BD50 or more in the Sharia compliant Thimaar Account.

ANOTHER THIMAAR WINNER TAKES HOME $100,000 IN PRIZE MONEY

20 Jul 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 19 July 2014 –Jamal Adli Anabtawi, a regular saver in Ithmaar Bank’s prize-based savings account, Thimaar, has won $100,000 in the Thimaar Quarterly Grand Draw.
The draw, which was held last week at Ithmaar Bank headquarters under the supervision of a Ministry of Industry and Commerce representative as well as both internal and external auditors, also named a further 183 winners who, together with the Quarterly Prize winner, took home a total prize purse of $191,000.
Following the draw, Ithmaar Bank Assistant General Manager, Retail Banking, Mohammed Janahi, noted that the Thimaar savings scheme continues to prove extremely popular and congratulated the latest winners.
“Encouraging saving is part of the Bank’s mission as it benefits savers long into the future,” said Janahi. “Ithmaar Bank’s Thimaar account attracts large numbers of savers due to its frequent prizes that reward those who, like Jamal, have a regular saving ethic. I would like to congratulate him for winning this year’s third Quarterly draw, as well as all the winners of the July monthly draw,” he said.
Thimaar, Arabic for fruits or harvest, is a Sharia-compliant account introduced by Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, to encourage a more responsible spending and saving pattern by offering prize-linked incentives to savers. Thimaar also provides free life cover as well as anticipated monthly profits. The more participants save, the more chances they have to win prizes. Consequently, those saving are also strengthening and preparing themselves to meet future financial needs.
Total prize money during the period November 2013 to November 2014 will be more than US$2 million, divided amongst Quarterly Winners, Monthly Winners, Monthly Junior Winners and Special Draw Winners. The next Thimaar and Junior Eid draw will take place on 22 July, 2014 to announce the winners for an exclusive draw for Eid Al Fitr. The final Quarterly Grand draw of the year for US$ 100,000 will take place on 2 October, 2014. The draws are open to all savers with BD50 or more in the Sharia compliant Thimaar Account.

ITHMAAR AND ESKAN SIGN SOCIAL HOUSING FINANCING SCHEME AGREEMENT

14 Jul 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 14 July 2014 – Eskan Bank signed today an agreement with Ithmaar Bank naming Ithmaar an accredited Bank in the Social Housing Financing Scheme and formally appointing it a participant in the Scheme.

The Scheme was introduced by the Ministry of Housing in October 2013 under the patronage of the Deputy of the Prime Minister, His Excellency Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance and Eskan Bank.

The Agreement was signed by Eskan Bank General Manager Dr. Khalid Abdulla and Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim.

As part of the Agreement, Ithmaar Bank joins a number of other financial institutions who participated in the programme in October 2013 by signing similar agreements with Eskan Bank. The Ministry of Housing had then signed similar contracts with contractors and real estate developers formally accrediting them as approved providers of housing units that are in line with the standards and specifications of the Ministry.

Following the signing ceremony with Ithmaar Bank, Dr. Abdulla said: “This Programme is in line with the directives of our wise leadership to provide appropriate housing to citizens, and is part of the national housing strategy which aims to identify financing and housing solutions to address the housing challenges in order to achieve stability for Bahraini families with limited income”.

“The Government is committed ensuring the participation of the private sector in developing solutions,” said Dr. Abdulla.

The general manager of Eskan Bank said that they are pleased for the significant increase in the numbers of banks, financial institutions and real estate development companies which have joined the Social Housing Financing Scheme, as this is a clear indication of the success of the scheme in its trial time, especially with the growing demand from citizens to take advantage of this programme which provides many advantages, including a shorten waiting period for housing applications, as well as providing various options for citizens, especially those with limited income or those in specific income brackets who are entitled to other housing services.

“Eskan Bank is working in coordination with the Ministry of Housing to continue develop this ambitious program by increasing the numbers of financial institutions and real estate development companies, besides the great efforts of the Ministry of Housing in this regard,” said Dr. Abdulla. “The current housing vision is moving towards sustainability of housing issues over the long term and delivering housing applications. This is the vision which is always emphasized and directed by the Minister of Housing and Eskan Bank Chairman, Engineer Bassem Bin Yaqoub Al-Hammar and it is one of the most important objectives of the strategic housing scheme,” he said.

From his part, Abdul Rahim said: “As a pioneering Islamic retail bank, Ithmaar recognises the importance of the social role it must play which is supporting the housing issues in the Kingdom. We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Ministry of Housing and Eskan Bank to help realise this ambitious scheme and provide the necessary support to customers looking to buy their first homes.”

“Ithmaar Bank is committed to playing a real and meaningful role in the community, and we are privileged to be able to participate in the scheme,” said Abdul Rahim. “The scheme effectively allows housing applicants to purchase residential units immediately from the private sector without having to stay on the housing services waiting list,” he said.

As part of the Scheme, the Social Housing Financing Scheme gives the opportunity for citizens who are above 45 years old and their minimum salary is BD700 to benefit from one of the real estate financings which are offered by participated banks in the scheme by maximum of BD 90,000 to buy one of the housing units provided by the private sector.
The Government’s role, through the Ministry of Housing, is to support each beneficiary by paying the difference between their repayment capacity of 25percent of their monthly salaries and the actual instalment towards financing the cost of the housing unit. This financing subsidy financing period will be over a 25 year period in line with the Ministry of Housing-approved programmes.

Beneficiaries of the Scheme will be able to buy villas and apartments provided two key criteria are met: the price of the housing unit must reflect its fair market value; and the unit must meet building codes in the Kingdom.

ITHMAAR BANK ISSUES INVESTOR UPDATE ON SHAMIL BOSPHORUS MODARABA

29 Jun 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 28 June 2014 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, has issued an investor report on its Shamil Bosphorus Modaraba (SBM), indicating the fund will not achieve its investment objectives and stating that there is also a low probability that investors will have their entire capital returned. As Modareb, the Bank will be contacting investors to discuss the investor report and to explain available options.

The SBM is a US$90 million investment fund opened in November 2007 that provided equity for the acquisition, development and sale of a diversified pool of assets that included land, property and development sites in Turkey.
During 2013, the Bank attempted to negotiate an exit from Turkey with its Turkish partners and more recently it has been conducting enquiries through its appointed advisers and consultants.

“The report issued to investors relays information the Bank has gathered to date and the Bank is very concerned by what it has recently learned as a result of the enquiries undertaken by its advisers and consultants,” said Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Retail and Private Banking, Abdulhakeem Al Mutawa.

“Ithmaar Bank has engaged the services of various advisers and consultants at its own expense, including Dechert LLP (UK) and Hassan Radhi and Associates (Bahrain), to determine the reasons for the SBM not achieving its investment objectives.

“The Bank’s advisers and consultants are also reviewing the status of the financial position of the fund’s assets and liabilities in order to determine the value of the SBM and available recourse.”
“As Modareb, Ithmaar Bank continues to operate in the best interests of all the SBM investors and will meet with investors to explain the report and available options,” he added.

MASTERCARD AWARD PRESENTED TO ITHMAAR BANK

MANAMA, BAHRAIN -22 June 2014 – MasterCard today presented an award to Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, in recognition of the Bank achieving the Kingdom’s fastest growing MasterCard debit card portfolio.

The Award was presented to Ithmaar Bank Chief ExecutiveOfficer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, by MasterCard Division President, Middle East and North Africa, Raghu Malhotra, at the Bank’s Seef headquarters. The ceremony was also attended by MasterCardVice President and Head of Business Development for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, Somu Roy; Ithmaar Bank Chief Operating Officer,Ravindra Khot; Ithmaar BankGeneral Manager Retail and Private Banking, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa,Ithmaar BankAssistant General Manager and Head of Retail Banking,Mohammed Janahi, and members of the Bank’s management team.

“Ithmaar Bank is committed to becoming the Islamic bank of choice, and we are working to continuously improve our customers’ banking experience,” said Abdul Rahim. “Our partnership with MasterCard has been particularly effective in this regard, and has helped us offer Islamic banking solutions tailored specifically to our customers’ requirements,” he said.
“As a result, Ithmaar Bank now has the fastest growing MasterCard debit cards portfolio in the Kingdom,” said Abdul Rahim. “This is an achievement we can all be justifiably proud of,” he said.
Malhotra said: “This award recognises the exceptional growth of Ithmaar Bank’s MasterCard debit card portfolio and underscores the Bank’s growing success as an Islamic retail financial institution. We are very proud of our long-standing association with Ithmaar Bank, and I am pleased to be here to celebrate our ongoing success.”

Last year, Ithmaar Bank announced a collaboration with MasterCard to expand the Bank’s debit card offerings and launched two new debit cards from the MasterCard Premium Debit Card Collection. The cards – Ithmaar MasterCard Debit Plus, and Ithmaar MasterCard Premier Debit Card – were the first Islamic-segmented MasterCard Debit Cards in Bahrain.
Earlier this year, Ithmaar Bank introduced a full suite of new Sharia-compliant MasterCard Credit Cards. The new credit cards, which were tailored to meet the specific requirements of Ithmaar customers, were introduced as part of the Bank’s commitment to listening to, and delivering on, customer expectations.

A total of four new credit cards – MasterCard Gold, MasterCard Gold Plus, MasterCard Titanium and MasterCard Platinum, that offer a range of extended features and benefits have been unveiled.

The new credit cards offer Ithmaar Bank customers free worldwide Takaful travel insurance as well compelling terms including, for example, a minimum repayment of only 5 percent of the ending balance within 25 days from the statement date. The credit cards offer immediate access to more than 2.5 million Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), and are welcomed at more than 35.9 million outlets around the world. Ithmaar Bank also provides free supplementary cards to immediate family members of the primary cardholder, as well as exclusive discounts through MasterCard and free access to selected airport lounges for Titanium and Platinum credit card holders. The MasterCard Platinum Credit Card is available exclusively for Ithmaar Bank Premier Members.

Ithmaar Bank’s tailored credit and debit card solutions both underscore the Bank’s commitment to continuously develop its retail banking operations. MasterCard’s recent award, naming Ithmaar Bank as The Fastest Growing MasterCard Debit Card Portfolio in Bahrain, is another indicator of the Bank’s efforts to improve customer satisfaction.

ITHMAAR BANK RETURNS TO PROFITABILITY IN Q1 2014

15 May 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 14 May 2014 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced today (ed note: 14/05/14) a net profit of US$2.11million for the first quarter of 2014, an almost 50 percent increase over the $1.43million net profit reported for the same period last year.

The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, follows the review and approval, by the Board of Directors, of the Bank’s consolidated financial results for the three-month period ended 31 March 2014. Ithmaar Bank’s financial results were announced in US Dollars after shareholders approved, during the 30 March 2014 Annual General Meeting, to change the Bank’s presentation currency from Bahraini Dinars to US Dollars.

“On behalf of the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that Ithmaar Bank continues to grow its core retail banking operations while implementing strategic board initiatives aimed at improving the performance of the Group in 2014,” said HRH Prince Amr. “The improved performance is evident from revenue growth across most of the income streams, and accordingly Ithmaar Bank reported total income of US$111.15million for the first quarter of 2014, an almost 5 percent increase over the US$105.92 million reported for the same period in 2013,” he said.

“Total expenses in 2014, at US$48.35million, are 6 percent higher than the same period in 2013, mainly due to the full year impact in 2014 of certain branches opened in 2013 in Pakistan,” said HRH Prince Amr.

“I am also pleased to report that the balance sheet continues to be stable with the equity of unrestricted investment account holders growing to US$1.99 billion as at 31 March 2014, an increase of 13.3 percent compared to US$1.76 billion as at 31 March 2013,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Customer current accounts also increased to US$1.35 billion as at 31 March 2014, an increase of 13.6 percent compared to US$1.19 billion as at 31 March 2013. These significant increases are mainly due to the Bank’s continued focus on developing its core retail banking business and raising low cost liabilities. This has also resulted in the decrease of the total due to banks, financial and other institutions, by almost 18 percent, to US$1.15 billion as at 31 March 2014, compared to US$1.41 billion as at 31 March 2013,” he said.

Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said the 2014 financial performance demonstrates the success of ongoing efforts to develop core Islamic retail banking operations while improving efficiencies and reducing costs.

“The financial results show stable, consistent growth in our retail banking operations,” said Abdul Rahim. “Murabaha and other financing continued to increase, and amounted to US$3.25 billion as at 31 March 2014, an increase of 3.4 percent from US$3.15 billion as at 31 March 2013. This is mainly due to the Bank’s continued focus on growing our core retail banking business. Liquid assets now represent 16 percent of the balance sheet compared to 15.4 percent as at 31 March 2013,” he said.

“Ithmaar Bank is committed to realising its vision of becoming one of the region’s premier Islamic retail banks, and the results indicate that our efforts are paying off,” said Abdul Rahim. “We will continue to further develop our retail banking offerings and grow closer to our customers while we implement strategic board initiatives to improve the performance of the Group in 2014,” he said.

“In Bahrain, Ithmaar implemented staff cost rationalization initiatives under a Voluntary Separation Programme in the first quarter of 2014 and this will reduce the Bank’s staff costs going forward, and also began implementing other initiatives to reduce costs, including funding costs,” said Abdul Rahim. “In Faysal Bank Limited, Pakistan (FBL), cost rationalization measures are being initiated during the second quarter of 2014. FBL is in discussion with the local regulatory authorities on the plan for full conversion of the banking operations to Islamic,” he said.

Ithmaar has since announced a new personal finance product with low profit rates as well increased grace period. This latest product, together with the Bank’s new credit card solutions as well as its popular prize-based savings account, Thimaar, underscores Ithmaar’s commitment to listening to and responding to customer demands.

Ithmaar Bank now has one of the Kingdom’s largest networks with a total of 17 branches and 47 ATMs in strategic locations, and FBL, with its 269 branches, is amongst the top 10 banks in Pakistan.

ITHMAAR DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, BIN FAQEEH ANNOUNCE USD45 MILLION RESIDENTIAL PROJECT AT DILMUNIA

03 May 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 3 May 2014 – A major USD45 million residential apartment project was announced today (ed note: 030514), following the sale of key plots on the landmark Dilmunia at Bahrain island to Bin Faqeeh Real Estate Investment Company.

The deal marks an important milestone in the construction of the ambitious 125-hectare man-made island and one of the largest projects of its kind in the region. Dilmunia is a project of master developer Ithmaar Development Company (IDC), which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank traded on both the Bahrain Bourse and the Kuwait Stock Exchange (stock symbol: ITHMR). Ithmaar Bank also acts as Dilmunia’s Investment Manager.

The sale agreement, signed between IDC Chief Executive and Member of the Board, Mohammed Khalil Alsayed and Bin Faqeeh Real Estate Investment Company Chairman of the Board, Faisal Abdulwahid Faqeeh, covers the sale of strategically located plots, with details of the residential development itself due to be announced by Bin Faqeeh later this year.

“We are proud to welcome Bin Faqeeh to Dilmunia’s growing family of high quality developments,” said Alsayed. “Being a prominent real estate developer in Bahrain, with a large number of successful projects already built and in use, we are confident that they will fit in well among the world class developments that Dilmunia is attracting,” he said.

“As with all the real estate developments on Dilmunia, the Bin Faqeeh project will, of course, also benefit from the innovative health and wellness facilities that are the central attraction of the Dilmunia concept,” said Alsayed. “In keeping with this theme, all Dilmunia’s projects will meet the highest standards, and the most modern criteria,” he said.

The USD1.6 billion Dilmunia at Bahrain development is a mixed-use project built on a man-made island off the coast of Muharraq. With a unique Health and Wellness anchor, Dilmunia will include residences, hotels, leisure and shopping districts, and provide residents and visitors with wellness facilities and spas in a state-of-the-art resort-type environment.

Faqeeh said that he expects Dilmunia to be a major addition to the infrastructure of, not just Bahrain, but the Gulf region as a whole.

“Among the primary qualities that drew us to Dilmunia are its health and wellness theme, and the key role we expect it to play in transforming Bahrain into a regional hub for that industry,” said Faqeeh. “Along with the jobs and other economic benefits it will create in real estate and construction, this development will put Bahrain on the map as a major destination for health tourism, and we very much want to be a part of that,” he said.

“There is a very real gap in the market for high quality projects like Dilmunia, which is not only a major real estate development, but also has a centrally managed theme that will give the island a unique character,” said Faqeeh. “We look forward to continuing to work with IDC on this development and potential future collaborations,” he added.

IDC has been working hard to ensure the promised development deadlines are met and to date has achieved every one of the projected delivery milestones.

Dilmunia is located in close proximity to the Bahrain International Airport, with easy access to Saudi Arabia via the King Fahad Causeway. The name Dilmunia is inspired by Bahrain’s ancient civilization of Dilmun, which is believed to have been the inspiration for the mythical Garden of Eden. Dilmunia seeks to create a modern Garden of Eden, balancing the need for growth with the need for a healthy, sustainable ecology and leisure spaces.

Established in early 2008, Bin Faqeeh has an ambitious plan that entails the construction of real estate projects growing its portfolio from its current US$300 million to approximately US$400 million by the end of 2014. Among its major projects are The Grand, The Breaker, Dar Al Salam and Business Bay. It is also working on other projects in different areas in Bahrain.

ITHMAAR HONOURS OUTSTANDING EMPLOYEES

28 Apr 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 28 April 2013 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank honoured three employees for their outstanding performance, presenting each of with a cash prize and a Certificate of Appreciation.

The honouring ceremony continues a long-standing tradition of celebrating employee achievements and recognising outstanding performance with the Employee of the Month Award programme.

The employees, Ahmed Fareed Saud Buqais, Zainab Ashoor Mahmood Shihatah and Fatema Ebrahim Husain Al-Rafaei received their awards from the Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, in the presence of Assistant General Manager and Head of Information Technology, Yousif Al Khan, Assistant General Manager, Retail Banking, Mohammed Janahi and other senior members of the Bank’s management team.

Buqais is a Senior Associate in the Information Technology Department, Shihatah a Senior Officer in the Retail Banking Department, and Al-Rafaei a Senior Officer in the Retail Banking Department.

“The Employee of the Month Award is one of our oldest traditions in terms of recognising employee excellence,” said Abdul Rahim. “At Ithmaar, we have long maintained that it is the quality of our people that will, ultimately, ensure the Bank’s continued success – and I am pleased to note that the dedication, expertise and commitment of our people is clearly translating to an improved Islamic banking experience for our customers,” he said.

ITHMAAR’S WEST RIFFA BRANCH WIN BEST BRANCH AWARD

15 Apr 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 15 April 2014 – Ithmaar Bank’s West Riffa branch won the Best Branch Award for the fourth quarter of 2013. It is fourth time the Branch wins the coveted award since it was introduced in 2011 to further improve the quality of service at the branches.

The Award was presented to the West Riffa branch Manager, Abdulla Ali, by the Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, at a special honouring ceremony held at the Bank’s headquarters in Seef. The ceremony was also attended by Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Retail and Private Banking, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa, and other senior executives.

The award, which was introduced at the end of the third quarter of 2011, challenge each of Ithmaar’s 17 full service branches to demonstrate consistently exceptional performance for a chance to be named the quarter’s Best Branch.

“The quarterly Award recognizes a branch’s ability to uphold Ithmaar Bank’s commitment to the highest standards of quality and customer satisfaction,” said Al Mutawa. “Our fast growing retail banking network, now one of the largest in the Kingdom, has made this an extremely competitive award and I am pleased that this competitive spirit is contributing to improved customer satisfaction,” he said.

“The Best Branch Award evaluates each of the seventeen branches against comprehensive criteria that include asset and liability growth, profitability, branch quality and aesthesis,” said Al Mutawa. “The evaluation process is designed to cover all aspects of retail banking to ensure that consistent, across the board performance is recognized,” he said.

“The Award has proved a powerful motivator for all our retail banking staff through positive, friendly competition,” said Al Mutawa. “This, in turn, contributes directly to helping us uphold the very highest standards of customer satisfaction,” he said.

Ithmaar Bank’s Isa Town Branch won the Best Branch Award for the third quarter of 2013, and the Ladies Branch, the only one of its kind in Bahrain, won the Award for the second quarter of 2013.

THOUSANDS OF THIMAAR WINNERS ANNOUNCED, MORE TO COME

12 Apr 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 12 April 2014 – More than five million dollars in prize money has been distributed to more than four thousand winners since Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, launched Thimaar, a prize-based saving account, in September 2010.

Thimaar, Arabic for fruits or harvest, is a Sharia-compliant account designed to encourage people to adopt a more responsible spending/saving pattern by offering cash prizes, along with an expected profit rate and other benefits, as additional incentives to save. The Account, which offers best in kind incentives, was re-launched to offer even bigger prizes to even more winners.

The new Thimaar offers more than $2,000,000 in prize money to a total of 3,000 winners, with four grand prizes of $100,000 each, 1,600 Thimaar Junior winners and 400 Eid winners. Since the new Thimaar was re-launched last October, a total of $650,000 in prizes have been presented to more than 700 winners.

“Ithmaar Bank is committed to becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank,” said Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Retail and Private Banking, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa. “In line with that commitment, we are continuously improving our products and services to ensure we remain the Islamic retail bank of choice among the people of Bahrain,” he said.

“We are also resolutely committed to growing closer to our customers,” said Al Mutawa. “We listen to what they have to say and we pay close attention to their needs – and we try to tailor our offerings to meet their specific requirements,” he said.

“The Thimaar Account, for example, has already brought a lot of joy to a lot of our customers,” said Al Mutawa. “It has also contributed to improving established spending/saving patterns among many, many more of our customers and, in doing so, has succeeded in one of its key objectives. I am confident that the improved Thimaar, with bigger prizes and more winners, will continue this trend,” he said.

Thimaar, which offers customers a chance to win one of 3,000 prizes totalling $2,000,000, for every BD50 deposited, also provides free life cover as well as anticipated monthly profit. Ithmaar Bank also holds additional draws for Thimaar accounts opened for children younger than 18 years old. In addition to entering the regular Thimaar draws, minor account holders also have a chance to win 1,200 prizes totalling $240,000 in the Junior Monthly draws and 400 prizes totalling $80,000 in the Junior Eid draws.

In the latest Thimaar draw, which was held last week at Ithmaar Bank’s headquarters, Bahraini Maryam Al Balooshi won the USD100,000 Quarterly Prize. In the same draw, which was held under the supervision of the internal and external auditors, as well as the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, two Thimaar customers each won a USD5,000 Monthly Prize and eighty one Thimaar customers each won a USD1,000 Monthly Prize. One hundred Thimaar Junior Account holders each also won a USD200 Junior Prize.

ITHMAAR BANK IMPLEMENTS STRATEGIC INITIATIVES TO TURN THE GROUP AROUND IN 2014

30 Mar 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 30 March 2014 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced today (ed note: 30/03/14) that it has already started implementing cost-cutting and other strategic initiatives, both in the Bahrain and in Pakistan, aimed at turning the Group around in 2014.

The announcement was made by the Ithmaar Bank Chairman, His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, to the Bank’s shareholders at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) that was hosted at the Movenpick Hotel in Bahrain. Also present at the AGM were Directors Khalid Abdulla-Janahi and Tunku Dato’ Ya’acob Bin Tunku Abdullah (Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee), and representatives of the Bank’s Sharia Supervisory Board, the Central Bank of Bahrain, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the statutory auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the Bahrain Bourse.

The AGM welcomed Ithmaar Bank’s increased focus on further strengthening its Islamic retail and commercial banking operations and on continuing towards realising the shared vision of becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank.

Earlier this month (ed note: 18/03/14) Ithmaar Bank announced that its Board of Directors had initiated several measures aimed at increasing revenues, improving margins and reducing costs across Ithmaar Group. In particular, the cost reduction initiatives across Ithmaar Group are expected to result in savings in the range of BD9 – BD13 million annually.

“The far-reaching cost reduction initiatives include many aspects of our operations, including Information Technology, Administration and Staff Costs, both at Ithmaar Bank in Bahrain and its subsidiaries, mainly Faysal Bank Limited (FBL) in Pakistan,” said HRH Prince Amr. “This will allow us to realise the full potential of the powerful synergies created over almost four years of business acquisition and reorganisation within the Group,” he said.

“In Bahrain, we have already implemented some reorganisation and staff cost rationalization under the Voluntary Separation Programme, and this will significantly reduce the Bank’s staff costs going forward,” said HRH Prince Amr. “We have also begun implementing several technology-related initiatives that will reduce costs and bring the Bank closer to its customers, as well as further improvements to the Bank’s administration processes that will further improve cost-efficiency,” he said.

“In Pakistan, we have commissioned internationally-renowned independent consultants to advise on the complete re-engineering of FBL’s operations, with a specific emphasis on growth and cost cutting initiatives,” said HRH Prince Amr. “This follows an Ithmaar Bank Board decision to convert FBL’s remaining conventional operations to Islamic banking over the next few years following necessary regulatory approvals,” he said.

Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, said both Ithmaar Bank in Bahrain and FBL in Pakistan had good potential for additional growth in revenues and cost reductions.

“The immediate implementation of the Board’s strategic decisions earlier this year to turn the Group around in 2014 has started, and we have already taken significant steps forward,” said Abdul Rahim. “These initiatives, coupled with the consistent growth of our core business, despite challenging local, regional and international market conditions, will contribute to improving the Bank’s performance,” said Abdul Rahim. “It will also further improve customer satisfaction and increase shareholder value,” he said.

“In 2013, for example, Ithmaar Bank’s sustained, consistent efforts started paying off with tangible results,” said Abdul Rahim. “New products and enhanced services are the key drivers of our business growth, and our increased branch and ATM network has helped extend our reach. This, in turn, has contributed to our improving performance, which includes improved liquidity and increased deposits,” he said.

“The Bank’s balance sheet, for example, continues to be stable, with good growth in core business: unrestricted investment account deposits grew by 13.4 percent despite a reduction in average profit rates, a reaffirmation of investor confidence,” said Abdul Rahim. “The customer base in Bahrain has also more than doubled over the last three years, and liquid assets increased to represent about 14.8 percent of the balance sheet,” he said.

“Ithmaar Bank reported a profit of BD 1.8 million before taxation and provisions for the year ended 31 December 2013 and a net loss of BD 29.9 million after taxation and provisions for the year,” said Abdul Rahim. “The major factors impacting the performance of the Group for the year were the significant reduction in regulatory benchmark profit rates in Pakistan, coupled with increased minimum profit rate on certain liability products resulting in significant margin compression in FBL; and recognizing prudent impairment provisions on its investment portfolio,” he said.

“The positive story for 2013 is that total income for 2013 mainly comprises increased recurring income, though this was impacted by margin compression in FBL, whereas the 2012 income included certain one-off items,” said Abdul Rahim. “The results of the various strategic and cost rationalisation initiatives that has already started will have a major positive impact on the Bank’s performance in 2014 and thereafter,” he said.

ITHMAAR BANK TO TRANSFORM GROUP OPERATIONS, IMPROVE COST EFFICIENCIES AND INCREASE RETAIL GROWTH

18 Mar 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 18 March 2014 –Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced yesterday (ed note: 18/03/14) that its Board of Directors has initiated several measures aimed at turning Ithmaar Group around in 2014.

This includes a combination of increased revenue, improved margins and cost reductions across Ithmaar Group. In particular, the cost reduction initiatives across Ithmaar Group are expected to result in savings in the range of $25-$35 million annually.

“To realise the full potential of the powerful synergies created over the past few years, we must now leverage existing resources and share information technology systems and infrastructure between Ithmaar Bank in Bahrain and its subsidiaries, mainly Faysal Bank Limited (FBL) in Pakistan to maximise cost efficiencies,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “In particular, we have conducted a study with the aim of identifying areas to reduce costs, including staff and other overheads, and ultimately improve our efficiency across Ithmaar Group,” he said.

“This follows almost four years of business acquisition and reorganisation within the Group that included the seamless integration of business and systems at Ithmaar Bank and Shamil Bank in April 2010 as well as at Ithmaar Bank and First Leasing Bank in 2013; and FBL’s acquisition of the Pakistan operations of Royal Bank of Scotland in 2010. The focus is now to realize the full potential of these cost synergies through rationalization of human resources and IT infrastructure,” said Abdul Rahim

“This cost rationalisation will result in better utilisation of both our information technology systems and our human resources, who we have long-recognised as our most important asset,” said Abdul Rahim. “It will also allow us to further improve our financial performance as a commercial institution and return to sustainable profitability,” he said.

“Key strategic decisions taken by the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors include the full conversion of FBL Pakistan’s remaining conventional operations to Islamic banking,” said Abdul Rahim.” “This key decision is in line with the Bank’s commitment to further consolidate its Islamic banking business, to develop its core business and to becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank,” he said.

“Ithmaar Bank, with its 67 percent stake in FBL, is increasing its control by adding two more directors to become five out of eight directors, including the FBL president and chief executive officer,” said Abdul Rahim. “FBL has good potential for additional growth in revenues and cost reduction,” he said.

“These sustained, consistent efforts are paying off and we have already started seeing tangible results,” said Abdul Rahim. “New products and enhanced services are the key drivers of our business growth, and our increased branch and ATM network has helped extend our reach. “This, in turn, will substantially improve Ithmaar Group performance and the shareholder value,” he said.

ITHMAAR BANK REPORTS LOSS AFTER PROVISIONS, BUT CORE BUSINESS CONTINUES TO GROW

02 Mar 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 02 March 2014 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank reported today (ed note: 02/03/14) a net loss of BD29.9 million in 2013, compared to a net loss of BD10.1 million in 2012.

The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, followed the review and approval, by the Board of Directors, of the Bank’s consolidated financial results for the year ended 31 December 2013. The results include a loss, for the quarter ended 31 December 2013, of BD25.4 million, against a loss of BD4.2 million for the same period last year.

“On behalf of the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors, I am pleased to share certain strategic decisions taken by the Bank in early 2014 aimed at significantly transforming the Group’s operations,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Key decisions include the full conversion of its subsidiary Faysal Bank Limited Pakistan’s (FBL) remaining conventional operations to Islamic banking, subject to approval from FBL shareholders and the regulators; and cost rationalization measures across the Group,” he said.

“The positive story for 2013 is that total income for 2013 mainly comprises increased recurring income, though this was impacted by margin compression in FBL, whereas 2012 income included certain one-off items,” said HRH Prince Amr.

“The Bank recognized prudent impairment provisions on its investment portfolio and simultaneously pursued aggressive recoveries of non-performing assets which resulted in provision write backs,” said HRH Prince Amr. “The impairment provisions for 2013, of BD30.9 million, represent a 51.9 percent increase as compared to BD20.4 million for 2012,” he said.

“One of the key initiatives to further improve the Group’s performance is to enhance the monitoring of non-core assets and to initiate effective remedial measures leading to the accelerated recovery of non-performing assets,” said HRH Prince Amr. “This is in addition to the orderly exit from our investment portfolio which continues to be high on our priorities,” he said.

“One of the major factors impacting the performance of the Group for this year is the significant reduction in benchmark profit rates in Pakistan,  coupled with increased minimum profit rate on certain liability products resulting in significant margin compression in FBL,” said HRH Prince Amr. “The Bank’s operating income of BD75.4 million in 2013 is 13.9 percent lower than that reported for 2012, mainly due to the significant compression of margins in FBL,” he said.

“Total expenses, however, are under control despite the increased number of branches of the Group by five in 2013, and the full year impact in 2013 of nine branches opened during 2012,” said HRH Prince Amr. “The new cost rationalization measures will further improve the efficiency ratio in future,” he said.

“I am also pleased to report that the balance sheet continues to be stable at BD2.79 billion, with the equity of unrestricted investment account holders recording an impressive growth of more than 13.4 percent to reach BD748.5 million as at 31 December 2013, from BD660.2 million as at 31 December 2012,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Meanwhile, Ithmaar’s focus on growing low-cost customer liabilities resulted in customer current accounts increasing by 6.4 percent to reach BD479.0 million as at 31 December 2013, from BD450.0 million as at 31 December 2012,” he said.

“Liquid assets have also increased by 10.2 percent to reach BD412.4 million as at 31 December 2013 (14.7 percent of the total assets), as compared to BD374.2 million as at 31 December 2012,” said HRH Prince Amr.

Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Abdul Rahim said that the Bank continues to forge ahead with plans to become region’s premier Islamic retail bank.

“The Bank continued to invest heavily in developing its products and services, on expanding its retail banking network and on improving its customer service offerings,” said Abdul Rahim. “The Bank continues to grow closer to its customers, listening closely to their needs and providing tailored financial solutions,” he said.

“Technology and internal controls are the backbone that support business growth,” said Abdul Rahim. “The Group continues to invest in further enhancing systems and controls, and is implementing new solutions for risk, anti-money laundering, core banking, and others,” he said.

“In Bahrain, Ithmaar Bank now has one of the Kingdom’s largest networks with a total of 17 branches and 47 ATMs in strategic locations, and FBL, with its 269 branches, is amongst the top 10 banks in Pakistan,” said Abdul Rahim.

Ithmaar Bank introduced 7esabi, an innovative savings account exclusively for youth; launched the first Islamic segmented MasterCard Debit Cards in Bahrain and signed a key agreement to allow anyone with a globally-issued MasterCard credit or debit cards, to use Ithmaar ATMs.   Ithmaar Bank also introduced an education finance solution to help parents manage the financial commitments required for their children’s education, and further improved and re-launched its popular prize-based savings account, Thimaar, with bigger prizes and more winners.  Thimaar, which offers customers a chance to win one of 3,000 prizes a year totalling more than US$2,000,000 for every BD50 deposited, also provides free life cover as well as anticipated monthly profit. Ithmaar has also recently launched Premier Banking targeting high net worth individuals.

Ithmaar has won the prestigious Hawkamah Bank Corporate Governance Award in recognition of its corporate governance practices.

EXCLUSIVE SOLIDARITY INSURANCE RATES FOR ITHMAAR PREMIER

04 Feb 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 08 February 2014 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic Retail Bank, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Solidarity Group, the largest Takaful group in the world, to offer Ithmaar Bank’s Premier members exclusive insurance rates.

The MOU, which was signed by Solidarity Group Chief Executive, Ashraf Bseisu, and Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Retail and Private Banking, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa, offers Ithmaar Premier Members exclusively discounted rates at Solidarity General Takaful, a subsidiary of Solidarity Group.

Following the signing ceremony, Ithmaar Premier members can now enjoy discounted rates on motor, home, travel, medical and personal accident insurance products, as well as on pleasure crafts, including boats.

“Ithmaar Premier is a members only programme designed to recognise our most valuable customers by providing exclusive benefits and services,” said Al Mutawa. “The invitation-only programme offers members a dedicated relationship manager, as well as preferential bank charges and an exclusive debit card with additional privileges. The discounted insurance packages with Solidarity General Takaful are the latest addition to the growing list of Ithmaar Premier benefits,” he said.

“Solidarity Group, as well our subsidiaries and associates both in Bahrain and abroad, is committed to delivering innovative insurance solutions that meet specific market requirements,” said Bseisu. “We are pleased to partner with Ithmaar Bank and provide exclusively discounted rates at Solidarity to the Bank’s most valuable customers. This, we believe, adds tremendous value both to Ithmaar Premier members as well as to Solidarity Group and Ithmaar Bank,” he said.

ITHMAAR IT SECURITY EARNS ISO CERTIFICATION

28 Jan 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 28 January 2014 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic Retail Bank, earned international recognition for its information security processes when it was formally awarded the ISO27001 certification.

The certification process involved a rigorous audit, which was conducted by Bureau Veritas, on the Bank’s Information Security Management System. Lead auditors from Bureau Veritas performed detailed evaluation and assessment across the Bank against the criteria set out by the ISO 27001 standard. Established in 1828, Bureau Veritas is a global leader in Testing, Inspection and Certification services, with operations in more than 140 countries

Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, received the ISO 27001 certificate from the Bureau Veritas Chief Executive for Bahrain, Zulfiqar Haider, at an official ceremony at Ithmaar Bank headquarters.

“The ISO27001 certification is a result of Ithmaar Bank’s focus on adopting and implementing global standards and best practices to ensure the effectiveness, efficiency, confidentiality and integrity of all our day to day IT operations,” said Abdul Rahim. “I congratulate our team for meeting and setting global standards that has been officially recognized through this ISO certification,” he said.

“At Ithmaar Bank, we have always considered our customers’ data to be of vital importance and earning the prestigious ISO 27001 certification confirms just how seriously we take security of this data,” said Ithmaar Bank Head of Information Technology Department, Yousif AlKhan. “This accreditation will further enhance customer confidence and reinforces Ithmaar’s position as a pioneering Islamic retail Bank. It also sets the stage for the launch of new, innovative electronic services for our retail and corporate customers,” he said.

The ISO 27001 standard provides a robust model for information security risk assessment and security design, implementation, and management,” said AlKhan. “With its comprehensive approach, the Standard helps ensure the adoption of appropriate security controls that protect the information of customers and other stakeholders,” he said.

ISO27001 certification requires, for example, that the management systematically examine the Bank’s information security risks, taking account of the threats, vulnerabilities, and impacts; to design and implement a coherent and comprehensive suite of information security controls and/or other forms of risk treatment to address those risks that are deemed unacceptable; and to adopt an overarching management process to ensure that the information security controls continue to meet the Bank’s information security needs on an on-going basis.

ITHMAAR LAUNCHES NEW MASTERCARD SOLUTIONS

25 Jan 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 25 January 2014 – Ithmaar Bank, an Islamic Retail Bank, announced today (ed note: 250114) that it is introducing a full suite of new Sharia-compliant MasterCard credit cards. The new Ithmaar Bank credit cards, which were tailored to meet the specific requirements of Ithmaar customers, are being introduced as part of the Bank’s commitment to listening to, and delivering on, customer expectations.

A total of three all-new credit cards – MasterCard Gold, MasterCard Gold Plus and MasterCard Titanium – were unveiled following the joint Ithmaar Bank MasterCard announcement, and offer a range of extended features and benefits.

The new cards offer Ithmaar Bank customers free worldwide Takaful travel insurance as well compelling terms including, for example, a minimum repayment of only 5percent of the ending balance within 25 days from the statement date. The cards offer immediate access to more than 2.5 million Automated Teller Machines (ATMS), and are welcomed at more than 35.9 million outlets around the world. Ithmaar Bank will also provide free supplementary cards to immediate family members of the primary cardholder, as well as exclusive discounts through MasterCard and free access to selected airport lounges for Titanium credit card holders.

“Ithmaar Bank is determined to become the region’s premier Islamic retail bank,” said Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Retail and Private Banking, Abdul Hakeem Al Mutawa. “We recognise that, to do so, we must listen closely to our customers and we must deliver on their expectations,” he said. “The new suite of credit card solutions, which was developed in cooperation with MasterCard to meet the specific demands of our customers, does just that,” said Al Mutawa, “and we are particularly pleased to be able to introduce these exciting, and especially relevant, new products.”

“We continue to invest heavily in developing our products and services while also working to be closer to our customers and this MasterCard launch is a major step,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Abdul Rahim.

MasterCard Worldwide Vice President and Country Manager Bahrain, Somu Roy, congratulated Ithmaar Bank on the launch of the MasterCard Premium Credit Cards.

“We are proud to launch the Credit Card suite with Ithmaar Bank, who are the pioneers of Bahrain Islamic banking sector,” said Roy. “With our enormous global experience, MasterCard has gained valuable insights, and hence understands the unique lifestyle needs of customers,” he said.

“In particular, we are pleased to partner with Ithmaar Bank for the launch of three new credit card solutions,” said Roy. “In addition to offering a host of benefits, including exceptional security and worldwide acceptance, the Gold and Gold Plus cards offer customers access to a unique collection of experiences – including dining, shopping, travel and entertainment offers – that were especially curated for MasterCard cardholders as part of the Priceless Arabia programme. Titanium Credit Card holders are also provided free access to selected airport lounges as well as automatic enrolment in the Priceless Arabia programme,” he said.

AHMED ABDUL RAHIM NAMED ITHMAAR CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

19 Jan 2014

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – Ithmaar Bank Chairman, His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, announced today (ed note: 180114) the appointment of Ahmed Abdul Rahim as the Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer. Abdul Rahim has been the Ithmaar Bank Acting Chief Executive Officer since September 2013.

The announcement follows the approval of both the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors as well as the Central Bank of Bahrain of the formal appointment.

“I am pleased to name Ahmed the Ithmaar CEO,” said HRH Prince Amr. “He has, in many ways and over many years, played an instrumental role in developing the Ithmaar Bank success story, and I am confident that, in his new role, he will lead the Bank to even greater success,” he said.

“Ahmed has held several key positions at Ithmaar Bank, both before and after its reorganisation in 2010 including with its then wholly-owned subsidiary, Shamil Bank,” said HRH Prince Amr. “In each role, despite challenging local, regional and international conditions, he has demonstrated exceptional commitment and delivered well beyond expectations,” he said.

“The Board of Directors and I are confident that Ahmed will play a key role in leading Ithmaar Bank towards becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank,” said HRH Prince Amr. “His successful banking career, his intimate understanding of Ithmaar Bank and, in particular, his experience and expertise in retail banking, make him the ideal candidate for leading Ithmaar Bank’s executive management through the next phase of growth,” he said.

HRH Prince Amr congratulated Abdul Rahim on behalf of the Board of Directors on the appointment and wished him continued success. Abdul Rahim, who has been with Ithmaar Bank since 2006, thanked HRH the Chairman and the members of the Board for their continued confidence.

“I am grateful to HRH the Chairman and the members of the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors for their support,” said Abdul Rahim. “I am confident that, with the guidance of the Board of Directors as well as that of the Sharia Supervisory Board, we will continue to work towards realising our shared vision of becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank,” he said.

“I have had the privilege of working as part of the Ithmaar Bank executive management team over the past seven years,” said Abdul Rahim. “I am certain that, together, we will be able to realise the aspirations of the Bank’s shareholders and other stakeholders while continuing to deliver an ever improving banking experience for our customers. In particular, I am confident that we will continuously work together towards becoming the Islamic retail bank of choice,” he said.

Abdul Rahim is a seasoned banker with a thirty-five year banking career. In his role as the Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Retail Banking, he led a dramatic growth in the Bank’s core retail banking business with a more than 130 percent surge in new customer relationships following Ithmaar Bank’s 2010 reorganisation.

Prior to Ithmaar’s reorganisation with its then wholly-owned subsidiary, Shamil Bank, and its subsequent transformation into an Islamic retail bank, Abdul Rahim held the dual roles of Ithmaar Bank Chief Operating Officer and Shamil Bank Deputy Chief Executive Officer and has played a major role in ensuring the seamless reorganization of Ithmaar Bank and Shamil Bank into Ithmaar Bank in April 2010. Prior to his Ithmaar Bank appointment, he held senior positions, including Manager FX and Funding, Chief Internal Auditor and, later, Assistant General Manager, Corporate Services at the National Bank of Bahrain (NBB). He holds an MBA from the University of Glamorgan, Wales (UK), and is an Associate Financial Accountant from the Institute of Financial Accountants, London (UK). He also holds an Executive Management Diploma from the University of Bahrain and an Advanced Banking Diploma from the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance.

ITHMAAR SUPPORT FOR EDUCATION SCHOLARSHIP FUND

25 Dec 2013

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 25 December 2012 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, helped support a local charity that provides an Education Scholarship Fund (ESF) for children of financially challenged families.

Established by the Pakistani Women’s Association (PWA), the ESF helps children escape the poverty trap and, in doing so, helps increase the level of enlightenment in society.

Ithmaar’s cheque in support of the Fund was presented to the PWA President, Azra Mohammed Mohsin, by Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board, Mohammed Bucheerei. Also present were Ithmaar Bank Executive General Manager Juma Abull and PWA Treasurer and Board Member Saadia Khawaja.

“As a pioneering Islamic bank, Ithmaar recognises the important role that education plays in developing our society at large and, more importantly, the significant role we must play in supporting such initiatives,” said Bucheerei. “The PWA has been engaged in contributing to local charities for the past fourteen years and the ESF is one of their most important charitable initiatives. We are privileged to be able to help support this noble initiative,” he said.

“The Fund currently supports more than 100 children in the current academic year,” said Mohsin. “The scholarship recipients have worked hard to remain in the programme and they are relying on the Fund’s financial support to fulfil their aspirations. This, in turn, is possible only because of the generous support of people and organisation like Ithmaar,” she said.

ITHMAAR BANK CUTS LOSSES, CONTINUES GROWTH

13 Nov 2013

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 13 November 2013 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank announced today (ed note: 13/11/13) a net loss of BD4.5million for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2013, compared to a net loss of BD5.9million for the same period last year.

The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, follows the review and approval, by the Board of Directors, of the Bank’s consolidated financial results for the nine-month period.

“On behalf of the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that Ithmaar Bank continues to grow its core retail banking operations and has significantly reduced its loss, both for the year-to-date and for the third quarter,” said HRH Prince Amr. “The financial results show a net loss of BD1.7million for the three month period ended 30 September 2013, which is 74.1percent lower than the net loss of BD6.5 million reported for the same period last year,” he said.

“I am also pleased to report that operating income continues to be stable, at BD56.7million, despite a significant compression of margins in overseas subsidiary due to 100 basis points cuts in benchmark profit rates in the past year,” said HRH Prince Amr. “This resulted in a net profit, before impairment provisions and taxation, of BD3.1million for the nine month period ended 30 September 2013, compared to BD5.6million in the same period last year. The profit before impairment provisions and taxation for the three-month period ended 30 September 2013 was BD2.2million compared to BD2.9million in the same quarter last year. This is a significant improvement from BD0.8million reported for the first six months of 2013,” he said.

“Expenses have also continued to reduce,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Total expenses for the nine-month period ended September 2013, at BD53.7million, are 3.1percent lower than the BD55.4million reported for the same period last year, this is despite the full period impact in 2013 of several new branches opened in Bahrain and by overseas subsidiary during this period in 2012,” he said.

“I am also pleased to report that the balance sheet continues to be stable, with the equity of unrestricted investment account holders recording an impressive growth of more than 16.6percent, from BD607million as at 30 September 2012, to BD708million as at 30 September 2013,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Meanwhile, Ithmaar’s focus on growing low-cost customer liabilities resulted in an 8.6percent decrease in certain high cost liabilities in an overseas subsidiary due to investors, as well as banks, financial and other institutions,” he said.

“Liquid assets, comprising cash, balances and commodity placements with banks, financial and other institutions, have also increased and represent about 15.1percent of the balance sheet as at 30 September 2013” said HRH Prince Amr. “These balances, which increased from 13.6percent as at 31 December 2012, exclude investments in government securities held by an overseas subsidiary,” he said.

Ithmaar Bank Acting Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Abdul Rahim said that the Bank remains committed to realising its board-approved vision of becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank.

“We continue to invest heavily in developing our products and services while also working to be closer to our customers,” said Abdul Rahim. “The financial results, which show an increase in the equity of unrestricted investment account holders as well as a reduction in both losses and expenses, indicate that our efforts are paying off,” he said

“In the three month period ended September 2013, for example, Ithmaar added three new Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) to its fast-growing retail banking network and refurbished two full-service branches,” said Abdul Rahim. “The three new ATMS, in Muharraq, Saar and Riffa are strategically located across the Island and bring the total number of ATMs to 47. As a result, with 17 branches and 47 ATMs, Ithmaar Bank now boasts one of the largest retail banking networks in the Kingdom,” he said.

“Meanwhile, we have continued to focus on listening to our customers, improving services and on delivering tailored solutions that meet their specific requirements,” said Abdul Rahim. “We signed, for example, a key agreement with MasterCard to allow tourists and businessmen arriving in Bahrain from around the world, as well as expatriates and residents with globally-issued MasterCard credit and debit cards, to use their cards at Ithmaar Bank ATMs. As a result, customers now have seamless access to Ithmaar’s ATMs, including cash withdrawals and balance inquiries, regardless of where, or by which bank, their cards were issued,” he said.

Ithmaar Bank has also re-launched its popular prize-based savings account, Thimaar, with bigger prizes and more winners. Thimaar, which offers customers a chance to win one of 3,000 prizes totalling more than US$2,000,000, for every BD50 deposited, also provides free life cover as well as anticipated monthly profit.

Ithmaar has also recently launched Premier Banking targeting high net worth individuals and 7esabi account targeting youth and won the prestigious Hawkamah Bank Corporate Governance Award in recognition of its corporate governance achievements.

TWO THIMAAR WINNERS TAKE HOME $200,000 IN PRIZE MONEY

19 Oct 2013

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 19 October 2013 – A Bahraini secretary and mother of four, as well as a Bahraini supervisor and father of three, each won $100,000 in the Thimaar Grand Prize Draw which was held earlier this week at Ithmaar Bank’s headquarters.

Salwa Abdul Razzaq and Naveed Mohammed Butt received their winnings from Ithmaar Bank Acting Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, at a ceremony attended by Chief Operating Officer, Ravindra Khot, and Assistant General Manager, Retail Banking, Mohammed Janahi.

Thimaar, Arabic for fruits or harvest, is a Sharia-compliant account that was introduced by Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, to encourage people to adopt a more responsible spending/saving pattern by offering cash prizes, along with an expected profit rate and other benefits as additional incentives to save.

“I was delighted to meet the two Thimaar Grand Winners and present them their prize money,” said Abdul Rahim. “It is truly heart-warming to realise just how much joy and happiness we’ve been able to bring to our customers’ lives,” he said.

“I am also particularly pleased to note that Thimaar has been able to encourage more regular, disciplined saving patterns, and that Ithmaar has continued to make significant contributions to improving our customers’ lives,” said Abdul Rahim. “We remain as committed as ever to growing closer to our customers and to continuously improving both their banking experience and, whenever possible, their lives,” he said.

Razzaq and Butt both said they felt “blessed” and that they were “overwhelmed” when they received the news.

“I was shocked when I received the call from Ithmaar telling me I had won $100,000,”said Razzaq. “I thought I was dreaming,” she said. Razzaq, who lives in Isa Town, said she plans to use part of her winnings to help the less fortunate as well as invest in her youngest daughter’s higher education.

“I’ve won Thimaar prizes before – but this is by far the largest prize I have ever won,” said Butt. “I believe this is a result of my mother’s blessings and I hope to use part of the money for charity as well as to send my mother for Umara (pilgrimage),” he said.

ITHMAAR ANNOUNCES KEY APPOINTMENTS

12 Oct 2013

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 12 October 2013 – Ithmaar Bank Acting Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, announced today (ed note: 12/10/13) three key appointments.

Abdul Rahim appointed Abdul Hakeem Al-Mutawa as General Manager, Head of Retail and Private Banking, Abdul Rahman Al-Shaikh as General Manager, Head of Banking Operations, Information Technology and Administration, and Taimour Raouf as Senior Manager, Head of Marketing and Corporate Communications.

“The appointments are well earned promotions for three of Ithmaar’s key executives and underscores the Bank’s focus on further developing its core retail and commercial banking business,” said Abdul Rahim. “On behalf of the Ithmaar Bank Executive Management team, I congratulate Abdul Hakeem, Abdul Rahman and Taimour on their appointments and wish them continued success. I am confident that they will make major contributions towards further developing the Bank,” he said.

“Ithmaar Bank is committed to realising its board-approved vision of becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank,” said Abdul Rahim. “To do so, we invest heavily in continuously developing our products and services but we recognise that our people are our greatest asset and that, ultimately, they drive the Bank’s continued success. These key promotions reward excellence and reinforce the Bank’s long-standing commitment to performance-based recognition,” he said.

Al-Mutawa, who prior to his latest appointment, was Assistant General Manager, Head of Private Banking, joined Ithmaar Bank in January 2003 and has more than 31 years of experience while Al-Shaikh, who was Assistant General Manager, Head of Banking Operations, joined the Bank in August 1991 and has more than 40 years of experience, and Raouf, who was Senior Manager Corporate Communications and Public Relations, joined the Bank in August 2008 and has more than 16 years of experience.

ITHMAAR ATMS ACCEPT GLOBAL MASTERCARD CREDIT AND DEBIT CARDS

24 Sep 2013

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 24 September 2013 – Tourists and businessmen arriving in Bahrain from around the world, as well as expatriates and residents with globally-issued MasterCard credit and debit cards, will now be able to use their cards at Ithmaar Bank Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) after Ithmaar Bank signed a key agreement with MasterCard.

Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, said this latest agreement allows all MasterCard users, a seamless access to the Bank’s ATMs – including cash withdrawals and balance inquiries – regardless of where, or by which bank, the card was issued.

“We are firmly committed to continuously improving our customer service offerings,” said Ithmaar Bank Acting Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “This latest agreement with MasterCard is another step in this direction,” he said.

Earlier this year (ed note: April 2013), Ithmaar announced a tie-up with MasterCard and introduced the first Islamic segmented MasterCard Debit Cards in Bahrain with the launch of two new debit cards from the MasterCard Premium Debit Card Collection. As part of this program, all eligible Ithmaar Bank customers can have their existing debit cards upgraded, at no additional cost, to the new MasterCard Debit Plus card, while Ithmaar Premier Customers will receive an exclusive Ithmaar MasterCard Premier Debit Card. Ithmaar Bank will further differentiate the offerings available to its diverse set of customers through these new cards.

Earlier, at the beginning of Ramadan, Ithmaar also launched a dedicated card specifically for youth accountholders. Called 7esabi, an Arabic term meaning “My Account”, the innovative account offers unique benefits and features, including a dedicated MasterCard debit card, for youth between 12 and 18 years old. The new account was designed to get youth familiarised with the basic concepts of banking as early as possible.

“Ithmaar Bank has long stressed the importance of customer satisfaction to our continued success,” said Abdul Rahim. “We realise, however, that not all customers have the same requirements and that we cannot achieve exceptional customer satisfaction with standard, one-size-fits-all solutions. Instead, we are tailoring our offering to meet the specific requirements of our different customers,” he said.

ITHMAAR CHAIRMAN ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENT OF NEW ACTING CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

28 Aug 2013

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 28 August 2013 – Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board, Mohammed Bucheerei, will retire on 31 August 2013 and Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, appointed as Acting Chief Executive Officer effective 1 September 2013.

Ithmaar Bank Chairman, His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, who made the announcement earlier today (ed note: 28/08/2013), paid tribute to Bucheerei’s achievements over a more than forty-three year career, and congratulated Ahmed on his latest appointment.

“Mohammed will conclude his long banking career when he retires at the end of August,” said HRH Prince Amr. “During his long, illustrious banking career, Mohammed made major contributions, most recently as the Ithmaar Chief Executive Officer. We are deeply grateful for his contributions and wish him all the best,” he said.

“Mohammed’s success at the helm of Ithmaar Bank is the crowning achievement of his international banking career,” said HRH Prince Amr. “His success is a direct result of his absolute commitment and exceptional work ethics – and, on behalf of the Board of Directors, I wish him all the very best with his well-earned retirement plans,” he said.

“Ithmaar Bank’s growing success as an Islamic Retail Bank is, in many ways, a result of Mohammed’s leadership,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Mohammed’s success throughout his award-winning career and, in particular, at Ithmaar Bank, is a result of his vast experience in accounting, marketing, commercial and offshore Banking, coupled with his unfaltering dedication,” he said.

Bucheerei, who was also Chief Operating Officer of Dar Al-Maal Al-Islami Trust, Ithmaar Bank’s largest shareholder, has played a key role within the group over the past twenty-two years and contributed directly, and in very significant ways, to the group’s success.

Bucheerei thanked HRH Prince Amr for his support and guidance, and congratulated Abdul Rahim wishing him continued success.

“Leading Ithmaar’s successful transformation from a conventional investment bank into an Islamic retail bank was both extremely challenging and very rewarding, particularly as our achievements have been recognized and well received and we are now reaping the rewards,” said Bucheerei. “This success is due, in a large part, to the support and guidance of its Board of Directors led by the Chairman, HRH Prince Amr, and I am deeply grateful for the confidence entrusted. It has been, in many ways, the highlight of my career,” he said.

“Although I am, obviously, saddened to leave the Bank, I am comforted by the fact that, under Ahmed’s exceptional leadership, Ithmaar will continue to greater success,” he said. “Meanwhile, I look forward to spending time with my family after a more than forty-year banking career,” he said.

“Ahmed’s appointment as Acting Chief Executive Officer is in line with the Bank’s commitment to becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Ahmed is a seasoned banker with an impressive thirty-five year banking career. In his most recent role as the Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Retail Banking, he led a dramatic growth in the Bank’s core retail banking business with a more than 100 percent surge in new customer relationships following our April 2010 reorganisation,” he said.

“Ahmed’s established retail banking track record uniquely positions him to lead Ithmaar into the next phase of growth as we continue to work towards becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank,” said HRH Prince Amr. “I am confident that he will play a key role in leading the Bank to greater success,” he said.

Abdul Rahim, who has held several senior positions at Ithmaar since 2006, thanked HRH the Chairman and the Board for their confidence and the opportunity to contribute to the Bank’s growing success.

“Mohammed, who was named Islamic Banker of the Year – 2012, has led Ithmaar’s development as an Islamic retail bank,” said Abdul Rahim. “I am privileged to be invited to lead the Bank to further achievements and I am confident that, under the direction of HRH the Chairman, the Board of Directors and the Sharia Supervisory Board, we will continue to work towards realising our shared vision of becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank,” he said.

Prior to Ithmaar’s reorganisation with its then wholly-owned subsidiary, Shamil Bank, and its subsequent transformation into an Islamic retail bank, Abdul Rahim held the dual roles of Ithmaar Bank Chief Operating Officer and Shamil Bank Deputy Chief Executive Officer and has played a major role in ensuring the seamless reorganization of Ithmaar Bank and Shamil Bank into Ithmaar Bank in April 2010. Prior to his Ithmaar Bank appointment, he has held senior positions, including Manager FX and Funding, Chief Internal Auditor and, later, Assistant General Manager, Corporate Services at the National Bank of Bahrain (NBB). He holds an MBA from the University of Glamorgan, Wales (UK), and is an Associate in Financial Accounting from the Institute of Financial Accountants, London (UK). He also holds an Executive Management Diploma from the University of Bahrain and an Advanced Banking Diploma from the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance.

ITHMAAR YOUTH ACCOUNT OFFERS MASTERCARD BENEFITS

19 Aug 2013

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 19 August 2013 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, said today (ed note: 19/08/13) that the new savings account it launched exclusively for youth at the start of Ramadan, offers exciting benefits.

Called 7esabi, an Arabic term meaning “My Account”, the innovative account offers unique benefits and features, including a dedicated MasterCard debit card, for youth between 12 and 18 years old. The new account was designed to get youth familiarised with the basic concepts of banking as early as possible.

The 7esabi account includes its own uniquely designed MasterCard debit card which will be issued directly to the accountholder and allow them to make purchases at Point of Sale (POS) machines, withdraw or deposit cash at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), shop or pay bills online and conduct banking transactions at their favourite Ithmaar Bank branch. The 7esabi account will be a joint account between the youth accountholder and one of their parents which, in turn, will allow parents to decide spending limits. Parents, along with the accountholder, will also receive SMS notifications – which include the amount, time, merchant name and available balance – for all 7esabi transactions to allow everyone complete peace of mind.

“At Ithmaar, we have long maintained that growing ever closer to our customers is one of the most important factors that can contribute to our ongoing success,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board, Mohammed Bucheerei. “This new account is an example of our ongoing efforts to meet and exceed the expectations of all our customers,” he said.

“The launch of the 7esabi MasterCard debit card is a step towards extending financial inclusion to the youth with a product that is tailored specifically to their needs,” said MasterCard Vice President Somu Roy. “This is indeed a milestone for all of us and is a sign that the financial sector continues to evolve in line with the needs of the market it serves,” he said.

The new account allows youth liberating new freedoms in terms of their ability to spend, save and shop under simple but effective control mechanisms by their parents. Ultimately, this will help create financial discipline in perhaps the most important unit in our community, the basic family unit.

7esabi accountholders will enjoy the same expected profit rates as regular saving accountholders. As an additional feature, there will be no minimum balance charges for 7esabi accounts, and standing orders form a parent’s account to the associated 7esabi account will be free of charge. A special discounts-and-benefits loyalty programme is also in place for the immediate benefit of 7esabi cardholders. It includes big discounts and savings at a number of shops and outlets of specific youth interest. Every new 7esabi account holder will be presented an exclusive booklet of twenty Buy-One-Get-One-Free vouchers for use at various, predominately food, outlets, and all active 7esabi account holders will have a chance to be one of two winners of a BD50 cash prize every week.

Bucheerei said 7esabi was introduced in line with Ithmaar Bank’s strategic plan, and marked another important step forward in the right direction.

“Ithmaar is firmly committed to becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail and commercial bank as we continue to increase our focus on core banking activities,” said Bucheerei. “Ithmaar now boasts one of the largest retail banking networks in Bahrain with 17 full service branches and 43 Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in 26 strategic locations around the Kingdom. We will continue to work towards further developing our core retail business in the year ahead with the commissioning of additional new branches as well as the introduction of new products and services,” he said.

Ithmaar’s achievements have helped earn the Bank international kudos, with the Bank’s Mobicash offering earning multiple awards including the “Best Mobile Banking Service” award at the Banker Middle East Products Award 2013 and the prestigious UN-based “World Summit Award mobile (WSA-mobile)”. Most recently, Ithmaar also earned the Hawkamah Bank Corporate Governance Award, a prestigious regional award, in recognition of its corporate governance policies.

Earlier this year, (ed note: April 2013), announced plans to further expand the Bank’s debit card offerings. Ithmaar Bank has since launched two new debit cards from the MasterCard Premium Debit Card Collection which are the first Islamic segmented MasterCard Debit Cards in Bahrain. Under the newly introduced program, all eligible Ithmaar Bank customers will have their existing debit cards upgraded, at no additional cost, to the new MasterCard Debit Plus card, while Ithmaar Premier Customers will receive an exclusive Ithmaar MasterCard Premier Debit Card. MasterCard Debit Plus card holders will not only gain free access to various airport lounges in the region including Dubai, Kuwait, Cairo, Dammam, Jeddah and Riyadh, but they will also be automatically enrolled in the MasterCard Moments Program. This program is managed by MasterCard and it offers numerous benefits, privileges and discounts from prestigious brands around the world.

The new Debit Plus card will offer special daily cash withdrawal limits and daily Point of Sale (POS) purchase limits. With a MasterCard branded debit card, cardholders will have access to payment facilities at more than 34 million merchants worldwide. The Ithmaar MasterCard Premier Debit card, which offers additional benefits and features, will be presented exclusively to Ithmaar Premier members. Ithmaar Premier is an invitation-only programme for Ithmaar Bank’s customers.

ITHMAAR EARNS PRESTIGIOUS CORPORATE GOVERNANCE AWARD

25 Jun 2013

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 25 June 2013 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, earned a prestigious regional award in recognition of its corporate governance policies.

“Ithmaar Bank was chosen from among banks across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia for the Hawkamah Bank Corporate Governance Award, a regional initiative that aims to recognize, support and encourage superior governance practices in the banking sector in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board, Mohammed Bucheerei. “This prestigious award is a result of Ithmaar Bank’s commitment to applying international best practice applications across our operations and, in particular, with regards to our corporate governance policies,” he said.

Launched in 2007 by Hawkamah, the Institute for Corporate Governance, the Award showcases banks that have gone the extra mile in improving their corporate governance practices, beyond the legal and regulatory requirements imposed by their respective jurisdictions. Each application is assessed against multiple criteria, including Disclosure and Transparency, Stakeholder/Shareholders Rights, Commitment to Good Corporate Governance, and Control Environment and Processes.

The Award was received by Ithmaar Bank Assistant General Manager, Chief Risk and Compliance Officer, Tawfiq Al Bastaki, at a large ceremony attended by more than 500 senior bankers from across the region.

Bucheerei said the Award stands testimony to the Bank’s growing success and underscores its commitment to becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank.

“Ithmaar is firmly committed to becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail and commercial bank as we continue to increase our focus on core banking activities while working towards restructuring our investment portfolio,” said Bucheerei. “Ithmaar now boasts one of the largest retail banking networks in Bahrain with 17 full service branches and 43 Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in 26 strategic locations around the Kingdom. We will continue to work towards further developing our core retail business in the year ahead with the commissioning of additional new branches as well as the introduction of new products and services,” he said.

Ithmaar’s achievements have helped earn the Bank international kudos, with the Bank’s Mobicash offering earning multiple awards including the “Best Mobile Banking Service” award at the Banker Middle East Products Award 2013 and the prestigious UN-based “World Summit Award mobile (WSA-mobile)”.

ITHMAAR INAUGURATES LADIES-ONLY BRANCH

24 Apr 2013

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 24 April 2013 – – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, inaugurated a new, full-service branch exclusively for ladies.

The new branch, which bring to 17 the total number of branches in Ithmaar Bank’s fast growing network of retail branches, was inaugurated by Central Bank of Bahrain Head Of Wholesale Islamic Banking Supervision, Aysha Al-Jalahma, in the presence of the Branch Manager, Amani Ahmed Ajlan, as well as other female Ithmaar employees.

The inauguration, said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board, Mohammed Bucheerei, is in line with the Bank’s commitment to becoming the region’s premier Islamic Bank and is in direct response to customer demands.

“The ladies branch, the latest addition to our fast growing retail banking network, was commissioned to address the specific requirements of our female customers,” said Bucheerei. “At Ithmaar, we have long maintained that it is only by listening closely to our customers and constantly working to grow ever closer to them, that we will be able to maintain our growth and success,” he said.

“We take customer satisfaction very, very seriously,” said Bucheerei, “and I am delighted to announce that, with the inauguration of the new ladies branch, we have taken another all-important step in the right direction,” he said.

The new branch, on Bukawara Road in East Riffa, is only a few meters away from the existing Ithmaar East Riffa Branch. This will bring the total number of branches to 17 and the total number of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) to 41 in 25 strategic locations.

The ladies-only branch was designed to meet Ithmaar Bank’s established branch design and branding guidelines to ensure a consistent customer experience. In addition, the branch also features unique design elements introduced by a team of female interior designers.

The new branch is being run entirely by female Ithmaar Bank employees – from tellers to the branch manager – to ensure a strict ladies-only application.

“At Ithmaar, we have long recognised the important role women play in our community – both as employees and as customers,” said Bucheerei. “Perhaps more importantly, we have also long recognised our responsibilities, as a pioneering Islamic retail bank, towards supporting and, wherever possible, empowering women in our community,” he said.

“Women have specific spending and saving patterns as well as financial preferences and banking requirements,” said Bucheerei. “In particular, many women in our community especially value privacy. The new ladies branch helps address these very requirements,” he said.

ITHMAAR SUPPORT FOR ANNUAL SHARIA CONFERENCE

14 Apr 2013

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 14 April 2013 – In line with its long standing commitment to playing a real and meaningful role in supporting the development of Bahrain’s banking and finance industry, Ithmaar Bank once again extended its support for a major Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institution (AAOIFI) conference which starts in Bahrain today (ed note: 15/04/13).

Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail Bank and a long-time AAOIFI supporter, is the Major Conference Partner of the Annual Sharia Conference 2013, an international two-day Conference which is being held under the patronage of the Central Bank of Bahrain.

“With our long, proud history as a pioneer of Islamic banking in the region, Ithmaar remains as committed as ever to further developing the concept of Islamic banking and finance and, more importantly, to delivering a premium Islamic banking offering,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board, Mohammed Bucheerei.

“Our relationship with and support for AAOIFI go back to the very establishment of the Institution,” said Bucheerei. “In fact, Ithmaar Bank, then Faysal Islamic Bank of Bahrain (FIBB), the predecessor of Shamil Bank and later Ithmaar Bank, was the very first bank anywhere in the world ever to publish its financial results in accordance with AAOIFI standards,” he said.

“Global events like the AAOIFI Annual Sharia Conference present unique platforms to engage industry leaders in discussions that will successfully tackle the globalization challenges for Islamic finance,” said Bucheerei. “We are delighted to continue our long-standing tradition of supporting the Conference and to be a platinum strategic partner of the Annual Sharia Conference 2013,” he said.

“Our continued support for such events is in line with the Bank’s commitment to becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail and commercial bank as we continue to increase our focus on core banking activities while working towards restructuring our investment portfolio,” said Bucheerei. “We will continue to work towards further developing our core retail business in the year ahead with the commissioning of additional new branches as well as the introduction of new products and services,” he said.

ITHMAAR BANK INTRODUCES NEW MASTERCARD PAYMENT SOLUTIONS

02 Apr 2013

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 02 April 2013 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, today announced (ed note: 020413) its collaboration with global payments and technology company MasterCard to further expand the Bank’s debit card offerings.

Following the new tie-up with MasterCard, Ithmaar Bank has launched two new debit cards from the MasterCard Premium Debit Card Collection which are the first Islamic segmented MasterCard Debit Cards in Bahrain. Under the newly introduced program, all eligible Ithmaar Bank customers will have their existing debit cards upgraded, at no additional cost, to the new MasterCard Debit Plus card, while Ithmaar Premier Customers will receive an exclusive Ithmaar MasterCard Premier Debit Card. Ithmaar Bank will further differentiate the offerings available to its diverse set of customers through these new cards.

MasterCard Debit Plus card holders will not only gain free access to various airport lounges in the region including Dubai, Kuwait, Cairo, Dammam, Jeddah and Riyadh, but they will also be automatically enrolled in the MasterCard Moments Program. This program is managed by MasterCard and it offers numerous benefits, privileges and discounts from prestigious brands around the world.

The new Debit Plus card will offer special daily cash withdrawal limits and daily Point of Sale (POS) purchase limits. With a MasterCard branded debit card, cardholders will have access to payment facilities at more than 34 million merchants worldwide.

The Ithmaar MasterCard Premier Debit card, which offers additional benefits and features, will be presented exclusively to Ithmaar Premier members. Ithmaar Premier is an invitation-only programme for Ithmaar Bank’s customers.

Ithmaar also announced that MasterCard cardholders will be able to withdraw cash and make balance inquiries from the Bank’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) soon.. Cash withdrawals can be made with all MasterCard credit cards, whether issued locally or globally, as well as all debit cards issued within the GCC. This, in turn, effectively allows customers extended access to cash across the Kingdom with any MasterCard Debit and Credit cards from around the world.

Many of Ithmaar Bank’s full service ATMs offer a unique real-time cash deposit service that allows customers to instantly deposit cash directly into their accounts. This service is currently available at ATMs located in Seef Tower (Main branch), East Riffa (Bukawara), Muharraq, West Riffa, Bahrain Mall, Salmabad, Manama Souq, Sanad, Budaiya, Hamala, Busaiteen and Ladies Branch.

“The strategic partnership with MasterCard demonstrates the Bank’s commitment to become the Islamic retail bank of choice by continuously improving our customer offerings,” said Ithmaar Bank General Manager, Retail Banking, Ahmed Abdul Rahim. “We take these commitments very seriously,” he said.

“We are also driven to maintain our long-standing commitment to get closer to our customers by adding new products and services while simultaneously improving existing offerings and constantly enhancing our customer services experience,” said Abdul Rahim. “This is in line with our strategic plan of becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank,” he added.

“Consumers in Bahrain have demonstrated a growing keenness towards adopting premium debit products that give them the convenience of accessing their funds from anywhere in the world while also enjoying unique privileges and rewards. The Ithmaar MasterCard Debit Plus Card and Ithmaar MasterCard Premier Debit Card have been tailored to meet the specific needs of the Bahraini consumer and we are confident that the launch of this debit payment solution will prove to be a key catalyst for further enhancing the appeal of premium debit cards in the region,” said Raghu Malhotra, Division President, Middle East and North Africa, MasterCard.

ITHMAAR BANK – MORE FOCUS ON CORE ACTIVITIES

31 Mar 2013

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 31 March 2013 – Shareholders of Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank today (ed note: 310313) once again threw their weight behind the Bank’s plans to increase its focus on core banking activities while working towards restructuring its investment portfolio. Ithmaar Bank Chairman, His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, said this is in line with the Bank’s commitment to becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail and commercial bank.

Speaking after chairing the Annual General Meeting of the Bank’s shareholders, HRH Prince Amr said the Bank is on the right track following its reorganisation, in April 2010 with its then wholly-owned subsidiary, Shamil Bank, and its subsequent transformation into an Islamic retail Bank.

“Ithmaar Bank’s core banking business on a standalone basis has done consistently well,” said HRH Prince Amr. “We are posting a 26% year-on-year (YoY) growth in financing assets and a 31% YoY growth in customer funds (URIA and current accounts). Our post-April 2010 reorganisation and retail focus has resulted in an 80% surge in new customer relationships. In fact, we grew our customer base by over 18,000 new relationships in 2012 alone, which is about 20% of our present total built over a 30-year history,” he said.

“We are investing in people and technology, and our results have been recognised through local and international awards,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Our market share, as benchmarked against the statistics of the Central Bank of Bahrain, show gains on all key retail banking product offerings – current accounts, home financing, vehicle financing and personal financing,” he said.

“Our other lines of business are also progressing well,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Corporate banking is breaking new ground in Saudi Arabia. The weighted average tenor of Mudaraba deposits has almost doubled since Ithmaar’s transformation, while at the same time we were able to, since then, significantly reduce the financing costs, indicating a growing investor confidence. Looking inwards, we have introduced several measures such as cost rationalisation, strengthening our internal controls and enhanced our reporting, financial and risk management as well as audit frameworks,” he said.

“Although we have, clearly, got our fundamentals right and are moving in the right direction, we are posting a consolidated net loss attributable to shareholders amounting to BD11.5 million for 2012,” said HRH Prince Amr. “This is, however, less than half the BD23.7 million loss reported in 2011, and a huge improvement over the preceding two years. It is, also, encouraging to note the turnaround in profit, before impairment and taxation, of BD12.8million for 2012, compared to a loss of BD14.3million in 2011 as well as the key fact that total income has grown by 7.9 percent, to BD183.4million in 2012 from BD170million in 2011,” he said.

Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board, Mohammed Bucheerei, said the achievements stood testimony to the Bank’s successful transformation and stressed that the management team is committed to realising the Board-approved vision of becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank.

“In 2012 we continued our aggressive retail expansion programme, adding new branches and Automated Teller Machines (“ATM”), improving our products and services and introducing new, award-winning solutions,” said Bucheerei. “The results of these efforts are already bearing fruit, with operating income, for example, increasing by 32.7 percent to BD87.5million in 2012 from BD66million in 2011,” he said.

In fact, Ithmaar’s achievements have also helped earn the Bank international kudos, with the Bank’s Mobicash offering earning the UN-based World Summit Award mobile (WSA-mobile). The prestigious award stands testimony to the Bank’s growing success and underscores its commitment to becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank.

“We will continue to work towards further developing our core retail business in the year ahead with the commissioning of additional new branches as well as the introduction of new products and services,” said Bucheerei. “We will also continue to work towards reducing our investment portfolio,” he said.

As part of Ithmaar’s efforts to realise its vision of becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank, and to increase the Bank’s focus on further developing its core retail banking business activities, Ithmaar merged earlier this year with one of its Bahrain-based associates, the First Leasing Bank. The merger, which was approved by the shareholders of both banks in 2012 and completed in February 2013 following necessary regulatory approvals, involved a transfer of business and share swop arrangements.

ITHMAAR REPORTS 2012 GROWTH

28 Feb 2013

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 28 February 2013 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank reported today (ed note: 28/02/13) a net loss of BD10.1million in 2012, compared to a net loss of BD23.3million in 2011. It is encouraging to note the turnaround in profit before impairment and taxation with a profit of BD12.8million for 2012, compared to a loss of BD14.3million in 2011.

The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, followed the review and approval, by the Board of Directors, of the Bank’s consolidated financial results for the year ended 31 December 2012. The results include a loss, for the quarter ended 31 December 2012, of BD4.2milion, against a loss of BD25.8million for the same period last year.

“On behalf of the Ithmaar Bank Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce improved performance across all Ithmaar Bank’s business lines,” said HRH Prince Amr. “In particular, I am pleased to announce that total income has grown by 7.9 percent, to BD183.4million in 2012 from BD170million in 2011,” he said.

“Operating income has also increased by 32.7 percent, to BD87.5million from BD66million in 2011,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Consequently, the results show that net profit before impairment and taxation for the year is a profit of BD12.8million against a loss of BD14.3million last year,” he said.

HRH attributed the positive financial results of 2012 to continued growth in Ithmaar’s core retail banking operations. “In 2012, the number of retail branches across the group increased by nine and, despite this increased operations, administrative expenses remained under control and are marginally lower than for 2011,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Meanwhile, the Bank has continued to set-up prudent impairment provisions which, in 2012, amounted to BD20.4million as compared to BD8.2million in 2011. In 2012, the performance of one of our subsidiaries was also impacted by significant profit rate cuts announced by its local regulator,” he said.

Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board, Mohammed Bucheerei, said the Bank is continuing to work towards realising the board-approved vision of becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank.

“I am pleased to report that Ithmaar Bank continues to successfully transform its balance sheet structure with a focus on retail business,” said Bucheerei. “This is evident from the growth in Murabahas and other financings which have increased by 15percent, to BD1.19billion in 2012 from BD1.03billion in 2011. Similarly, the equity of unrestricted investment account holders has increased by an impressive 18.6percent, to BD660.2million in 2012 from BD556.7million in 2011,” he said.

“Shareholders’ equity remains strong and stable, at BD222.1 million, and the Bank’s balance sheet footing has marginally increased by 4.6percent, to BD2.7billion in 2012 from BD2.6billion in 2011, ,” said Bucheerei. “The Bank’s impressive financial performance in 2012 is, mainly due to our success in continuing to develop our retail banking operations, adding new products and improving our services,” he said.

In fact, Ithmaar’s achievements have helped earn the Bank international kudos, with the Bank’s Mobicash offering earning the UN-based World Summit Award mobile (WSA-mobile). The prestigious award stand testimony to the Bank’s growing success and underscore its commitment to becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail bank.

ITHMAAR COMPLETES FIRST LEASING MERGER, INCREASES CAPITAL TO US$758MILLION

23 Feb 2013

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 23 February 2013 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, announced today (ed note: 23/02/13) that it had merged with one of its Bahrain-based associates, First Leasing Bank.

The announcement follows the final approval of the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) and the Bahrain Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOIC), as well as the completion of the three-month and the sixty-day notice period required by the CBB and the MOIC respectively.

The merger increased Ithmaar Bank’s issued and paid-up capital by $56.7million to $758million after the Bank issued 226.7 shares to all First Leasing Bank shareholders, except those held by and on behalf of Ithmaar Bank, at a nominal value of 25 cents per share. The Ithmaar Bank-First Leasing Bank merger involved a swap of four Ithmaar Bank shares for each FLB share

This follows the approval of the shareholders of both banks during separate Extraordinary General Meetings that were held in Bahrain on 21 October 2012.

Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board, Mohammed Bucheerei, said the merger is in line with the Bank’s commitment to concentrating on further developing its core business and continuing its growth.

The merger, which increased Ithmaar Bank’s paid up share capital to $758 million, enhances Ithmaar’s capital base as well as its capital adequacy ratios. It also improves Ithmaar shareholders’ profile.

The Bank has begun necessary procedures in coordination with the Bahrain Bourse to merge the registrar of FLB shareholders to the registrar of Ithmaar shareholders. These procedures are expected to be completed shortly.

A recent report, published by the Bahrain Bourse, indicates that Ithmaar Bank shares saw more than 160percent growth in 2012, despite a 6.83 decline in the Bahrain All Share Index that year. The same report also ranked Ithmaar shares as the most traded (number of transactions) shares among the 41 local listed companies in 2012, and the second highest in terms of both Value of Shares Traded and volume of Shares Traded.

The merger will also consolidate Ithmaar Bank’s position as an Islamic retail bank and create powerful new synergies, improving efficiencies and reducing costs. Ultimately, this translates into a renewed focus on developing Ithmaar Bank’s core business of retail and commercial banking operations and on fuelling its continued growth.

First Leasing Bank was specialised in offering equipment leasing and, as an Islamic retail and commercial bank. Merging the two operations creates unique opportunities for further developing Ithmaar’s core business while reducing costs and improving efficiencies.

Since Ithmaar Bank’s reorganisation in April 2010 with its then wholly-owned subsidiary, Shamil Bank, and its subsequent transformation from an investment bank into an Islamic retail Bank, Ithmaar has focused on developing its retail and commercial banking operations. This is in line with the Ithmaar board-approved vision of becoming a premier Islamic retail bank.

ITHMAAR HONOURS TOP EMPLOYEES

18 Feb 2013

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 18 February 2013 – In line with its long-standing tradition of celebrating excellence, Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, honoured five of its employees for their outstanding performance.

During the honouring ceremony the employees, Khaireya Naser Abdulrasool Mohamed, a Senior Staff in the Administration Department, Mona Ebrahim Ahmed Al Sindi, an Officer in the Retail Banking Department, Fatema Ebrahim Husain Al-Rafaei and Alya Ghuloom Hasan Malalla, both Senior Officers in the Retail Banking Department, and Maha Yahya Faeq Al-Turk, a Senior Officer in the Asset Management Department, received a trophy, and a cash prize from Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board, Mohammed Bucheerei, in the presence of Executive General Manager, Support Group, Juma Abull, General Manager, Retail Banking, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, Assistant General Manager, Retail Banking, Mohammed Janahi, and Manager, Retail Banking, Khalid Ebrahim Abdulkarim.

“The honouring ceremony continues a long-standing tradition of celebrating employee achievements and recognising outstanding performance with an Employee of the Month Award programme,” said Bucheerei. “It is always a pleasure to recognise the achievements of employees who play a pivotal role in the Bank’s growing success,” he said.

utstanding performance.

During the honouring ceremony the employees, Khaireya Naser Abdulrasool Mohamed, a Senior Staff in the Administration Department, Mona Ebrahim Ahmed Al Sindi, an Officer in the Retail Banking Department, Fatema Ebrahim Husain Al-Rafaei and Alya Ghuloom Hasan Malalla, both Senior Officers in the Retail Banking Department, and Maha Yahya Faeq Al-Turk, a Senior Officer in the Asset Management Department, received a trophy, and a cash prize from Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board, Mohammed Bucheerei, in the presence of Executive General Manager, Support Group, Juma Abull, General Manager, Retail Banking, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, Assistant General Manager, Retail Banking, Mohammed Janahi, and Manager, Retail Banking, Khalid Ebrahim Abdulkarim.

“The honouring ceremony continues a long-standing tradition of celebrating employee achievements and recognising outstanding performance with an Employee of the Month Award programme,” said Bucheerei. “It is always a pleasure to recognise the achievements of employees who play a pivotal role in the Bank’s growing success,” he said.

ITHMAAR WINS UN-BASED AWARD FOR BAHRAIN

06 Feb 2013

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 06 February 2013 – Ithmaar Bank helped earn the Kingdom of Bahrain pride of place among the world’s most technologically developed countries when it was singled out for a prestigious United Nations (UN) based award.

Bahrain is the only country in the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) region, and one of only two in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, to have made it among the 40 World Summit Award mobile (WSA-mobile) contest winners. A total of 400 mobile applications from more than 100 countries participated in the contest.

Organized by the International Center for New Media (ICNM) in Salzburg, Austria, the World Summit Award Mobile is a global initiative within the framework of the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The award takes place in collaboration with UNESCO, UNIDO, UN GAID and WSA-mobile’s key partner, Abu Dhabi Systems & Information Center.

Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, was nominated, in recognition of its pioneering MobiCash offering, for the WSA-mobile award by the Bahrain Internet Society.

“This year’s 40 awardees demonstrate that in a world of six billion mobile connections, the future belongs to mobile apps,” said WSA-mobile Chairman Prof. DDr. Peter A. Bruck. “Due to the large number of nominating countries, most winners come from Europe (21). However, awardees from Asia (8), South America (4), North America (2) and the Arab countries (2) demonstrate that mobile innovation is a global phenomenon,” he said.

“Our goal is to find apps that really make a difference for people around the globe”, said Bruck while pointing at the UN agenda of the global award. “This year’s awardees demonstrate the richness and diversity of mobile apps, and they clearly show that there is a lot going on outside Europe and the USA. If we want to make use of mobile technology’s full potential, these trends must not be ignored,” he said.

“We nominated Ithmaar Bank’s MobiCash offering for this prestigious award because we realise just how much potential this service has,” said Bahrain Internet Society President Nawaf Abdulrahman. “Ithmaar’s MobiCash, a first-of-its-kind solution in Bahrain which allows the Bank’s customers to send and receive cash through a mobile phone, can forever change the way people manage cash. This is exactly the kind of innovative thinking that we, at the Bahrain Internet Society, try to promote,” he said.

The Awards were presented at a three-day international conference and exhibition hosted by the WSA in Abu Dhabi.

Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board, Mohammed Bucheerei, who received the award from Prof. DDr. Bruck, stressed the Bank’s commitment to continuing its pioneering role in helping develop the region’s Islamic banking industry.

“Ithmaar has played a pioneering role in the creation and subsequent development of electronic banking in Bahrain and across the region. We have also played a pioneering role in the Islamic banking in the region.” said Bucheerei. “We remain as committed as ever to continuing this role – this prestigious international award stands testimony to that very commitment,” he said.

Ithmaar Bank’s MobiCash allows customers to withdraw cash from the Bank’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) without using a card. Ithmaar’s cardless cash withdrawal solution, a first of its kind in Bahrain, allows customers unprecedented convenience and can forever change the way people in Bahrain access cash. Ithmaar customers can now simply log on to the Bank’s online banking portal – either through a computer or through a smart mobile phone – and send virtual cash to an individual through their mobile telephone number. The system automatically sends an SMS code to that individual’s mobile. The individual can then go to any Ithmaar ATM, enter his or her mobile number together with the code received and simply withdraw the amount.

“There are tremendous applications to this service,” said Bucheerei. “An Ithmaar Bank customer can, for example, easily send virtual cash to friends and family or to themselves to use when the card is not immediately accessible. Ithmaar’s cardless cash withdrawal solution, Mobicash, backed by a network of about 40 ATMs across Bahrain, will make cash available virtually anywhere, at anytime,” he said.

ITHMAAR PARTICIPATES IN TAMKEEN EXPO, SUPPORTS SMES

10 Jan 2013

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 10 January 2013 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, participated in the first Tamkeen Conference and Exhibition which end earlier this week (ed note: 08/01/13) at the Gulf Hotel.

The event was organised as part of Tamkeen’s efforts to support the private sector and empower Bahrainis to become employees of choice. Ithmaar’s participation in the two day event is in line with the Bank’s long standing commitment to playing a real and meaningful role in the local community.

“Tamkeen has an exceptionally wide range of initiatives to support both establishments and citizens of Bahrain. To date, more than 66,000 Bahrainis and enterprises have benefited from Tamkeen’s initiatives – and plans are in place to raise the total number of beneficiaries to 100,000,” said Tamkeen Chief Executive Mahmood Hashim Al Kooheji. “This comprehensive event provides entrepreneurs, business owners, the private sector, and Bahraini society at large an opportunity to see, first-hand, how Tamkeen can enable them to build their capabilities and achieve their potential,” he said.

“As a pioneering Islamic retail bank, Ithmaar recognises the important role it must play in supporting the development of the local community,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board, Mohammed Bucheerei. “This is a responsibility we take very, very seriously and are delighted to be able to support this first of its kind event which aims to support start-ups, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and the national workforce,” he said.

The event showcases how the various Tamkeen programmes have impacted the business projects of participants and stimulated their growth, and allows visitors to sign up for or learn more about Tamkeen programmes that support both enterprises and Bahrainis across all sectors.

The exhibition also includes an “Achievements Wall” that showcases Tamkeen’s most important achievements and milestones since its establishment in 2006. Parallel to the exhibition, the event includes a conference that focuses on Tamkeen’s achievements and the role of entrepreneurship and the private sector in advancing economic development. It also included workshops led by prominent experts discussing best international practices for key topics such as marketing strategies, quality assurance systems, use of social media, efficient participation in exhibitions, ways to apply to e-tenders, basics of entrepreneurship success and sound strategic planning.

“Tamkeen’s contributions to the development of Bahrain’s national economy by supporting both enterprises and individuals are truly remarkable and, by any measure, exceptionally impressive,” said Bucheerei. “The private sector, however, also has an important role to play in supporting Tamkeen’s initiatives and we must all work together to help realise our collective goal of developing our great nation,” he said.

Ithmaar was one of the very first banks in Bahrain to support Tamkeen’s initiatives of providing accessible low-cost financing for SMEs. Tamkeen’s Enterprise Financing Scheme portfolio currently stands at BD210 million. Nearly 5,000 enterprises have benefited from this programme to date, including over 1,000 start-ups.

Working with Tamkeen, Ithmaar Bank, through its then wholly-owned subsidiary Shamil Bank, provided in 2007 the ground-breaking Nibras SME Financing Scheme. The scheme, which was expanded after its early success, has since served as a blueprint for current Tamkeen-supported financing offerings with other banks in Bahrain.