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Islamic finance awards 2012: Best Islamic bank in the Middle East

Al Rajhi Bank’s success in Islamic banking in the Middle East has still not been eclipsed. Other banks were perhaps more aggressive before the crisis. However, since 2008 Al Rajhi’s more conservative, retail-oriented approach, resting on a 500-strong branch network, has meant that it has continued to thrive while competitors fell by the wayside.

Despite a small increase in impairments on the last nine months of 2010, net income increased 7.4% during the first nine months of 2011 (the latest available results), reaching SR5.5 million ($1.47 million).

These results contributed to an increase in shareholders’ equity to SR31 billion, compared with SR29 billion at the same date in 2010, an increase of 7%. Total assets increased to SR213 billion, compared with SR182 billion in the third quarter of 2010, an increase of 17%.

The bank launched a new refinance programme in the retail banking division in 2011, aiming to help customers with changes in their salaries. This came just after the Saudi government announced new unemployment benefits and one-off cash bonuses for public-sector workers.

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