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In July’s awards for excellence the text on Bahrain was omitted and we failed to include Qatar National Bank as joint winner of the award for best domestic bank in Qatar. We run these sections below.


Best domestic bank: National Bank of Bahrain

Best foreign bank: Citibank

Rising oil prices and the recovery of aluminium exports have boosted Bahrain's economy in the past 12 months and with government spending remaining constant, the banking sector is optimistic for the year ahead.

National Bank of Bahrain continues to focus on both retail and corporate business and despite a more competitive market has maintained growth in the key areas of retail loans, deposits and credit cards. It increased its loan book by 14%, yet by limiting the majority of its exposure to government and financial institutions it can still boast a very low non-performing loans to total loans ratio of 2.86%. NBB's net income rose by 7% on the previous year and its return on average equity stood at 16.05%.

Lying just behind NBB is Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait. The bank is the largest in terms of assets. It has a strong retail operation and well-developed investment banking facilities. BBK is far more aggressive that NBB, but this has come at a cost , NPLs stand at around 16% of the total loan portfolio.

The strong regulatory framework laid down by the Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA), and the demands for greater transparency helps Bahrain maintain its position as a regional banking centre for foreign banks.

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