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 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.
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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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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 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 HOLDING REPORTS SECOND QUARTER RESULTS

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.

ITHMAAR BANK REPORTS CONTINUED PROFITS FOR 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.

ITHMAAR BANK EARNS CSR AWARD, CEO EARNS ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE IN CSR AWARD

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

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

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 POST GRADUATE STUDENTS FROM MOROCCO

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.
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ITHMAAR HOSTS SECURITY AWARENESS SESSIONS FOR OFFICE ASSISTANTS AND SECURITY GUARDS

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

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

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

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 BANK REPORTS FIRST QUARTER PROFITS

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 HOLDING REPORTS FIRST QUARTER PROFITS

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 ANNOUNCES KEY APPOINTMENTS

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

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.

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ITHMAAR SHAREHOLDERS APPROVE ADDITIONAL LISTING ON REGIONAL STOCK EXCHANGES

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

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.
-ENDS-

ITHMAAR BANK OFFERS GULF AIR DISCOUNTS FOR CARDHOLDERS

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

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

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

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

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 BANK IMPROVES THIMAAR, REDUCING MINIMUM AMOUNT AND INCREASING TOTAL WINNERS

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

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

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.

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 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.

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.

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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.

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.