Country Awards for Excellence 2021: Middle East
Best Bank: Ahli United Bank
Best Investment Bank: Sico Bank
When Covid hit in early 2020, Ahli United Bank and its group chief executive Adel El-Labban stepped up. The bank worked with struggling clients in the eight regional states in which it operates and, true to its reputation as a conservative lender, ratcheted up provisioning to offset losses.
It worked. Net profit dipped 38.1% year on year to $452 million, but neither its cost-to-income ratio, which stayed below 30%, nor its capital adequacy ratio, at 16.1%, moved much in 2020. The bank says what hurt it most weren’t the losses it incurred but its provisioning levels.
In 2020 it posted higher profits and a lower non-performing loan ratio than any other local lender.