Between one page folded and another that opens the glory of narration, historical achievements are written that paved the way for current developments in the process of building and giving to Ahli United Bank, which began its journey in the 1940s , and concession and licensing by an Emiri decision during the era of the late Sheikh Ahmed Al-Jaber to take steps until it reached a compatible bank with the provisions of Islamic Sharia.
During her speech in the documentary program, Ahli United Bank CEO Jihad Al-Humaidhi reviewed the bank’s bank journey, which exceeded 80 years, through the most prominent stations in the bank’s history, as it was fully reviewed by the Kuwaiti government is owned. February 1971, and it was then called “Bank of Kuwait and the Middle East.” Until it officially opened in December of the same year,
Then the completion of the process of its transformation into a bank operating in accordance with the provisions of Islamic Sharia in 2010 and to this day, where it has established its position as one of the most important banks in Kuwait and the region.
Ahli United Bank’s CEO, Jihad Al-Humaidhi, said that the journey in 2002 continued its path to more success, as the Ahli United Bank Group, which enjoys a reputable reputation and an influential presence in the banking sector, , has become. the largest shareholder in the bank, after the government at the time decided to sell part of its share owned by the General Investment Authority, which is about 45%, where the privatization succeeded after the great demand of the community as due to the good reputation and strength of the bank, so that the ownership would then be transferred to the private sector.
As for the most prominent and important stop in the journey of a thousand miles and miles, it was in the year 2010, when Ahli United Bank – Kuwait turned into a bank that complies with the provisions of Islamic Sharia.
Al-Humaidhi indicated that in the most difficult circumstances, the bank was able to overcome crises and emerge stronger, starting with the Al-Manakh market crisis in 1983, which it successfully overcame and eliminated with profits, and it is a testament to the strong financial strength that the bank enjoys.
strength and toughness
Al-Humaidhi pointed out that the period of 1990 was a major test for the solidity of the bank’s position, as the brutal Iraqi invasion that destroyed a number of branches, but it could not break into the bank’s safes that money and does not contain customer safety. deposit boxes, due to their durability.
Less than a month after the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, the bank was able to open its doors to customers despite the presence of most of the employees outside the country.
Al-Humaidhi added that during the year 2008, one of the major global economic crises hit the world, that is the financial crisis, from which most international banks were affected, but that Ahli United Bank also overcame this crisis without losses, but rather achieved. profits, due to prudent credit decisions, and the application of a mechanism The “stress tests” launched by the Bank in 2007, before the global crisis, to measure its ability to withstand shocks and potential financial risks, which led to a clear vision and expectations for the future possibilities of the market.
Immunization against “Corona”
Al-Humaidhi confirmed that Ahli United Bank had once again demonstrated its ability to deal with crises with all professionalism and merit, the most recent of which was the Corona pandemic, which hit the banking sector in general, noting that the Central Bank of Kuwait’s reduction of regulatory requirements for liquidity ratios, coupled with the government’s decisions at the time to postpone loans and support for those affected, all of which helped to immunize the banking sector against the repercussions of the pandemic and its ability to effectively enhance its role in community service, to enable it to cope with these repercussions.
Al-Humaidhi pointed out that Al-Ahly United had the highest ratings in Kuwait in 2021 of well-known international agencies due to the bank’s internal strength, as it was rated at A2 and A + levels by Moody’s and Capital Intelligence, and it are very good ratings.
In 2021, the bank also obtained certificates such as ISO 27001 for information security, as well as a certificate of compliance with credit card data security standards (PCI). These are certificates that the bank obtains annually, which confirm that the bank complies with the information. security standard and its commitment to assessing and managing security risks and data management, including Reflected on the leading position it maintains.
Al-Humaidhi explained that the bank has won many different annual awards, including the award for the best Islamic bank in Kuwait in 2021 from Asia Money magazine, as well as the award for the best integrated corporate banking website, in addition to the award. for the best bank that sukuk issued in the same year.It issued $ 600 million and it was a resounding success for the bank after the total demand for sukuk covered 3 times the size of the target issue. He was also awarded the Best Head of IT Technology Award, confirming the strength and robustness of the Bank’s information technology.
advanced technology systems
Al-Humaidhi has confirmed that the information technology infrastructure in AUB enjoys high durability, and the bank also has modern systems whose function is to address technical crises without human intervention, so that when a crisis occurs in automated computers, all data is automated copied and recovered in a timely manner at the crisis management site. .
She added that one of the most important technologies related to technology infrastructure is “cyber security”, as it is considered very important in the fight against suspected “burglary and piracy” that is widespread in the world, and “The United “has prestigious certifications from international companies regarding technological security in general.
Al-Humaidhi pointed out that the main platforms owned by Al-Ahly United are the companies’ platform which gives them the freedom to handle all their banking transactions in a secure way, in addition to many services being added to the automated counter system (ATM) that is unique to “The United” in some of them, such as external transfers that can The customer can complete it through the ATM, as well as other benefits such as updating civil information, withdrawal without a bank card, and others.
There are also a number of benefits added to the bank’s technology, as a “QR code” has been placed on some of the bank’s transactions to ensure that it is correct and easy to read from any other party.
The work was also adopted by an invisible “robot” within the systems to facilitate and expedite internal transactions without human intellectual intervention.
Upgrading the employee .. a primary goal
The Director-General of Human Resources at Al-Ahly United, Captain Amin, said the bank’s goal is to upgrade all its employees.
He added that there are a number of former bank employees who have held the highest positions, and some of them have been chairmen of boards and CEOs in the banking sector, the investment sector and state agencies, all of whom have contributed to building the Kuwaiti economy.
He pointed out that there are a large number of employees who started their careers at Ahli United Bank with their graduation, and today have achieved prestigious positions, including the CEO of the bank, the general manager of the treasury department, as well as the general manager of information technology and many others, and it reflects the work environment we are proud of at Ahli United Bank since its inception.
He pointed out that from the first day of joining the bank, the employee participates in an intensive program to qualify and prepare him before he starts working in its management, and then prepares him for the next job at his bank. trends and readiness fit.
Converting to “Islamic” … a qualitative achievement
The executive member of the Sharia supervisory board at the bank, dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Qassar, said the process of turning Al-Ahly United into an Islamic bank was a turning point in his path, and it required excellent efforts to complete it. “complex” process.
In his speech on the documentary program, he emphasized that the most important feature of that stage was the insistence of the workers, owners and the board to complete the transformation process as soon as possible, due to the experiences and expertise of the human element, therefore the transformation process was built on a strong, solid and accurate foundation, and lasted no more than a year and a half.
Al-Qassar added that during the transformation phase, a complete legal structure was prepared in terms of contracts, dealing with old obligations and training of workers on the new Islamic system and products.
Al-Qassar explained that the legal environment of Islamic banks differs somewhat from the “traditional” in terms of avoiding interest in contracts, so drafting Islamic contracts was one of the challenges that provided a common ground for all employees of the bank’s leaders to the youngest employee, as legally drafted To preserve the rights of customers during the transition phase without any change in the size of the financial obligations in the traditional contracts of the Islamic.
He said that the second challenge is how to convey a message to the public that the bank has changed into a bank that operates according to the provisions of Islamic Sharia, after it was a traditional bank, and in this regard there was a prominent role for the then chairman of the board of directors, mr. Hamad Al-Marzouq, as he directly followed that process and formed a whole team to follow up clients one by one and convince them of the transformation process and how to carry out transactions in accordance with the provisions of Sharia, and it was achieved in a short time thanks to God Almighty Al-Qassar pointed out that when the client comes to the Islamic bank, he surely knows that there is a very important difference between Islam and Islam. conventional banks, which is the element of interest As the first does not deal in any way with interest rates, and this is what distinguishes Islamic banks.
As for the second point, it is represented by clarity and transparency in debt contracts, which means that when the client comes to the Islamic bank, he knows the size of the debt he owes, the size of the installments owed, and the time at which it owes ends Validity of contracts.