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Awards for excellence - Kuwait

Best bank

National Bank of Kuwait

The balance of power remains with National Bank of Kuwait which has been Kuwait's best bank since 1994. The closest competitor is Gulf Bank, which is improving, both in terms of its presence and its performance. However it will not be comforted by the view of one analyst. Although Gulf Bank may be getting better, he says, "National Bank is still way out ahead".

Gulf Bank, though, says an analyst, "has a good approach in retail banking and I would probably call it the market leader over NBK in that market, so that is an area they will probably look to keep on increasing. I would say that it has a stronger retail presence but NBK wins on the wholesale side, on corporate and investment banking."

Gulf has the largest domestic branch network and has a retail market share of 40% but NBK benefits from having a good reach beyond its own borders. "It has a relatively strong presence in the UK," says an observer. "Its international reach is far stronger than any other Kuwaiti bank. Closer to home it is looking to expand its presence in Lebanon and Egypt.

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