Arab Bank

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Arab Bank
Native name
البنك العربي
Company typePublic
Founded1930; 94 years ago (1930)
Area served
30 countries[1]
Key people
Sabih al-Masri (Chairman)
ProductsRetail banking, Commercial bank, and Investment banking
Increase US$851.3 million (2022)[2]
Total assetsIncrease US$ 64.5 billion (2022)[3]
Total equityIncrease US$ 10.4 billion (2022)[3]
Number of employees
Increase 7620[4] (2023)
  • Arab Bank (Switzerland) Limited (sister institution),
  • Arab Bank Australia Limited,
  • Europe Arab Bank plc,
  • Islamic International Arab Bank,
  • Arab Sudanese Bank,
  • Arab Investment Bank S.A.L,
  • Arab Tunisian Bank,
  • Arab Bank – Syria,
  • Al Arabi Investment Group (AB Invest),
  • Arab National Leasing Company,
  • Al Nisr Al Arabi Insurance Company,
  • Al Arabi Investment Group Company

Arab Bank is a Jordanian bank that is one of the largest financial institutions in the Middle East. It is headquartered today in Amman, Jordan, and operates as a universal bank that serves clients in more than 600 branches spanning five continents. Arab Bank is a publicly held shareholding company listed on the Amman Stock Exchange.

The bank is a major economic engine in Jordan and throughout the Middle East and North Africa region, providing banking services and capital, and facilitating development and trade throughout the region. According to its website in 2018, the bank was the highest-ranked by market capitalization, and represented approximately 25% of the Amman Stock Exchange.[5]

U.S. appellate courts have ruled in the bank's favor in several lawsuits filed in the 2000s alleging its involvement in facilitating the funding of terrorist organizations.[6]


Establishment (1940–1970s)[edit]

Arab Bank was founded in 1930 in Jerusalem, Mandatory Palestine, as the first private sector financial institution in the Arab world. In the 1940s and 1950s, the bank grew to 43 branches and had JOD 5.5 million capital. During the 1960s, the bank focused on investments and became a catalyst for Arab economic developments when most other financial institutions avoided the risk.[citation needed]

The 1960s brought along a wave of Nationalization which swept the Arab world as country after country gained independence from British and French colonial rule. Branches in Egypt and Syria were nationalized in 1961, Iraq in 1964, Aden in 1969, and finally Sudan and Libya in 1970. Within a period of ten years, Arab Bank lost a total of 25 branches. When Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1967, more branches were closed. The bank carried on its expansion. In 1961, the bank opened its first international location, becoming the first Arab financial institution to establish a presence in Switzerland. A sister institution, Arab Bank Switzerland, was established in Zurich in 1962 with another branch in Geneva opening in 1964.[7]

In 1974, after his father's death, Abd Al-Majeed Shoman was named Chairman and General Manager of Arab Bank.[8] Under his leadership, the bank expanded its scope of products and services into new areas of business.[8] Though it previously emphasized trade and small-scale construction finance, the bank undertook a leading role in large-scale project finance, both directly and through participation in syndicated loans.[8] By the 1990s, the bank added investment banking to its services. In the mid-1990s, the bank was given permission by the Central Bank of Jordan and the Israeli Central Bank to reopen in the West Bank/Gaza under the supervision of both the CBJ and the Palestinian Monetary Authority.[citation needed]

Expansion (2000–2010)[edit]

In May 2000, Abd Al Majeed's son Abdel Hamid became CEO. Under his leadership, the Arab Bank reopened operations in Syria in 2005, and took steps to commence its activities in Iraq, circumstances permitting.[9] In January 2007, Arab Bank established Europe Arab Bank (EAB), a London-based, fully owned subsidiary.[10] It also acquired 50% of MNG Bank in Turkey (now known as Turkland Bank) and 50% of Al Nisr Al Arabi Insurance company in Jordan, thus introducing bancassurance to its product variety. Also, the group established Arab Bank-Syria.[11] In 2008, Arab Bank partnered with Vasco, now OneSpan, to work on the bank's authentication technology.[12]

Over the next few years, the bank opened branches in Frankfurt, London, Australia, New York and Singapore. Following the Oslo Peace Accords between Israel and Palestine, at the invitation of Israel, Arab Bank opened branches in several Palestinian towns with broad governmental support.[8]


Today, Arab Bank provides consumer banking services, as well as corporate and institutional banking services to individuals, corporations, government agencies and other international financial institutions.

After years of being ranked A− from Fitch, A− from Standard & Poor, and A3 from Moody's, the bank's rankings were dropped twice in 2011. Moody's first downgraded its Local Currency Deposit Rating to Baa1,[13] and then downgraded the bank's Financial Strength Rating to a C− from a C. In both instances, Moody's noted the decision was based on an analysis of political instability in the region.[13] In April 2012, Moody's announced a possible downgrade of the bank's current Financial Strength Rating as well as its local currency long- and short-term deposit ratings.[14] In November 2011, Standard & Poor's lowered its long-term counterparty credit ratings to 'BB' from 'BB+', noting the ratings are constrained by the local currency ratings on the sovereign. As of 25 January 2012, Fitch still had Arab Bank ranked at an A−.[15] In April 2023, Fitch rated its Viability Rating (VR) b+.[16]

As of 2018 the bank reported net income after tax of $820.5 million as compared to $533 million in 2017 with net income before tax reaching $1.1 billion. The Group's equity grew to reach $8.7 billion, while the return on equity increased to reach 9.5%. The Group's net operating income grew by 8% driven by growth in net interest and commission income. Credit facilities increased by 3% to reach $25.8 billion, while customer deposits increased to reach $34.3 billion.[17]

As the only Jordanian organization ranked among the top 10 organizations in the Arab world, Arab Bank has shown great progress in its ESG performance throughout the years. During 2014, the bank was ranked at the fifth level and was able to move up to the fourth level during 2015, with a total weight of 2.78%.[18]

Arab Bank has subsidiaries in a small number of countries, including Australia (Arab Bank Australia) and Switzerland (Arab Bank Switzerland).

In 2023, Arab Bank was named "Middle East Bank of the Year" by The Banker magazine, owned by the Financial Times.[19][20]

In 2023, it had assets of $68.3 billion (up 6% from 2022) and net income of $829.6 million (up 52% from 2022). Also under ESG, the bank made its first sustainable perpetual issuance of $250 million in AT1 (Tier 1 capital securities).[21]


In 2006, the bank participated at the International Anti-Money Laundering/Combating Financing Terrorism Conference hosted by the Union of Arab Banks and supported by the United States Department of the Treasury.[22] The conference sought to unite the public and private sector in strengthening defenses against terrorist financing and money laundering in the MENA region.[23]

Since 2006, the bank has held a regulatory compliance summit with speakers from across the international banking community to discuss and learn more about the compliance environment.[24] In 2008, at the request of the Association of Banks, Arab Bank hosted a compliance workshop attended by compliance professionals from banks throughout the country including the Central Bank of Jordan.[25]

The Arab Bank building in Zürich, Switzerland.

Board of directors[edit]

As of 2023, the banks Board of directors were:[26]

  • Mr. Sabih Taher Masri - Chairman
  • Mr. Khaled Sabih Masri - Deputy Chairman
  • Ministry of Finance, Saudi Arabia - Represented by Mr. Hisham Mohammed Attar - Member
  • Social Security Corporation - Represented by Mr. Mohammed Adnan Al-Madi - Member
  • Mr. Wahbe Abdullah Tamari - Member
  • Mr. Alaa Arif Batayneh - Member
  • Mr. Shahm Munib Al-Wir - Member
  • Mr. Sharif Mohdi Saifi - Member
  • Dr. Nabil Hani Alqaddumi - Member
  • Mr. Omar Monther Fahoum - Member
  • Mr. Majed Qustandi Sifri - Member

Abd Al Hameed Shoman Foundation[edit]

In 1978, Arab Bank created the Abd Al-Hameed Shoman Foundation to promote social development in the Arab world in the fields of science and the humanities. It is one of the only foundations created by a private sector company in Jordan.[27] The foundation organizes the Abd Al Hameed Shoman Cultural Forum which brings together leading scientists, educators and innovators of thoughtful discussion on today's cultural issues. In 2011, Arab Bank committed approximately 87% of its annual budget for community investment through the foundation.[28]

In 2011, the bank donated over 8 million Jordanian dinars to its Abd Al-Hameed Shoman Foundation to support scientific research and studies in the humanities in Jordan and the Middle East.[28] In late 2009, Arab Bank launched 'Together', a corporate social responsibility program that links five non-profits dedicated to poverty alleviation, education, orphan support, health and environmental protection.[29] In 2011, Arab Bank donated more than 177,000 Jordanian dinars to the Together Program. In March 2011, Arab Bank Chairman Abdel Hamid Shoman announced the bank would be partnering with the private sector and allocating one million Jordanian Dinars for development projects to help fight against poverty and unemployment in Jordan.[28]

Past lawsuits[edit]

Several civil lawsuits were filed against the bank in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn under the Anti-Terrorism Act and Alien Tort Statute in 2004,[30][31] all of which resulted in decisions in favor of the bank.[32] In these cases, U.S. and non-U.S. plaintiffs alleged they or their family members were harmed by acts of terrorism that occurred in Israel or the West Bank/Gaza from 1995 to 2005. They alleged that the bank held accounts for individuals and organizations that, in turn, supported terrorist activities. Similar cases were brought against UBS, Credit Lyonnais, Bank of China, American Express Bank, National Westminster Bank and Commerzbank.[33]

On 9 February 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned a liability verdict in the case of Linde v. Arab Bank Plc in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).[34] The verdict overturned from 22 September 2014 after 30 days of trial and two days of jury deliberation, found the bank liable for knowingly supporting terrorism relating to 24 different terrorist acts.[35][36] The Second Circuit found that the District Court erred in failing to provide the jury with adequate instructions during the court proceedings.[6] In 2015, the bank reached a settlement with 597 victims or the relatives of victims of 22 Hamas attacks between 2001 and 2004 in Israel.[37]

In 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York dismissed Jesner v. Arab Bank, a case filed by 6,000 foreign citizens injured in Israel during the Second Intifada under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS),[38] ruling that corporations are not proper defendants in ATS suits.[39] The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit unanimously affirmed this dismissal in December 2015.[40] In April 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States granted the plaintiffs' petition to hear the case, Jesner v. Arab Bank, PLC.[41] Oral arguments before the Supreme Court were held in October 2017, and on 24 April 2018, the Court affirmed the dismissal of all claims against the bank, finding that foreign corporations are not proper defendants in cases brought under the ATS.[42]

On 6 November 2012, a U.S. judge dismissed a civil litigation action brought by Israeli resident Mati Gill under the Anti-Terrorism Act for injuries he sustained in an alleged terrorist attack in Israel in 2008.[43][44]

In 2005, the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network assessed a $24 million penalty against the New York Branch of Arab Bank for failing to implement an adequate anti-money laundering program to manage the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing, and violating the suspicious activity reporting requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act.[45] Arab Bank was also no longer allowed to process US dollar payments.[37] On 1 October 2018, the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency terminated this consent order.[46]

On 26 February 2004 the Israel Defense Forces confiscated funds from Arab Bank's and Cairo-Amman Bank's Ramallah branch in connection with an investigation into whether certain account holders were supporting terrorism.[47] In September 2009, the IDF issued a letter to Arab Bank stating that it had no evidence that the bank or any of its directors or employees were involved in or funded terrorist activities.[47]

In 2019, over 1,132 Israeli victims of terrorism and families of Israelis murdered in terrorist attacks filed a $5.8 billion lawsuit against Arab Bank, claiming that the bank cooperated with, supported, assisted, funded, and encouraged terrorist actions that resulted in thousands of casualties and wounded.[48][49]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Arab Bank Global Network Archived 11 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine Arab Bank
  2. ^ "Arab Bank Investor Relations - Fact Sheet". Retrieved 6 September 2023.
  3. ^ a b "Arab Bank Investor Relations - Fact Sheet". Arab Bank. Retrieved 6 September 2023.
  4. ^ "Arab Bank's "Our People" sheet". Arab Bank. Retrieved 6 September 2023.
  5. ^ "Arab Bank Group: Investor Relations Presentation". 31 March 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Arab Bank terrorism case ends as U.S. court voids jury verdict". Reuters. 9 February 2018. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  7. ^ "Our History".
  8. ^ a b c d "Steady Expansion". Arab Bank. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
  9. ^ "Arab Bank Today". Arab Bank. Archived from the original on 17 July 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
  10. ^ "Arab Bank to establish Europe Arab Bank in London". Business Intelligence. Retrieved 23 May 2006.
  11. ^ "Banking on success". Business Management. Archived from the original on 16 March 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
  12. ^ "Arab Bank signs for Vasco authentication technology". Finextra. 25 March 2008.
  13. ^ a b "Moody's takes downgrade actions on Arab Bank, Cairo Amman Bank and Housing Bank". Global Arab Network. Archived from the original on 18 February 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  14. ^ "Announcement: Moody's reviews 14 banks in Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Ukraine for downgrade". Moody's. 5 April 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  15. ^ "Arab Bank PLC". Fitch Research. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  16. ^ Release, Press. "Fitch upgrades United Arab Bank's VR to 'b+' and affirms IDR at 'BBB+', outlook stable".
  17. ^ Petra News. "Arab Bank Group Reports Net Profits". Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  18. ^ "Du tops list for transparency among Middle East companies" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 August 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  19. ^ "Arab Bank named Middle East's 'Bank of the Year'". Arab News. Archived from the original on 13 January 2024. Retrieved 26 March 2024.
  20. ^ "Arab Bank Named Bank of the Year 2023 in the Middle East by The Banker Magazine". The Jordan Times. Archived from the original on 25 March 2024. Retrieved 26 March 2024.
  21. ^ "Arab Bank Group reported net profits of $829.6m for 2023". The Jordan Times. Archived from the original on 14 March 2024. Retrieved 26 March 2024.
  22. ^ "Arab Bank sponsors a major international anti-money laundering conference". AMEinfo. Archived from the original on 6 April 2008. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  23. ^ "Arab Bank Sponsors a Major International Anti-Money Laundering Conference". PR Newswire. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  24. ^ "Arab Bank addresses global compliance initiatives and challenges". AMEInfo. Archived from the original on 6 November 2010. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  25. ^ "Arab Bank contributes to strengthening the compliance function within Jordan Banks". Arab Bank. Archived from the original on 24 November 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  26. ^ "About Us - Board of directors". Arab Bank. Retrieved 27 June 2023.
  27. ^ "The AHS Foundation". Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  28. ^ a b c "Sustainability Report 2011" (PDF). Arab Bank. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  29. ^ "Together for the better". Arab Bank. Archived from the original on 10 January 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  30. ^ "Overview of Litigation". Arab Bank Facts. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  31. ^ Fisher, Daniel (13 August 2015). "Jury Will Put A Price on Terrorism – And Stick A Bank with the Bill". Forbes. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  32. ^ Bravin, Jess (24 April 2018). "Supreme Court Curbs Human-Rights Cases Against Corporations". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  33. ^ "Swiss Mega-Bank UBS Sued by Victims of Terrorism". The Terror Finance Blog. Archived from the original on 19 December 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
  34. ^ "Jury Will Put A Price on Terrorism – And Stick A Bank with the Bill". Reuters. 9 February 2018. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  35. ^ Palazzolo, Joe (22 September 2014v). "Arab Bank Found Liable for Providing Assistance to Hamas". WSJ. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  36. ^ "Arab Bank Liable for Supporting Terrorist Efforts, Jury Finds". Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  37. ^ a b "FinCEN Files: UK bank may have moved money 'linked to terror activity'". 22 September 2020 – via
  38. ^ "Supreme Court says corporations can't be sued under centuries-old law for overseas human rights abuses". The Washington Post. 24 April 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  39. ^ "Summary: Supreme Court Rules in Jesner v. Arab Bank". Lawfare. 27 April 2018. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  40. ^ "In Re: Arab Bank, PLC Alien Tort Statute Litigation" (PDF). SCOTUS Blog. 8 December 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  41. ^ "Jesner v. Arab Bank, PLC Timeline". SCOTUS Blog. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  42. ^ "Supreme Court of the United States Opinion on Jesner v. Arab Bank" (PDF). Supreme Court of the United States. 24 April 2018. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  43. ^ "Hamas financing case can proceed against Arab Bank: judge". Reuters. 12 September 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  44. ^ "Arab Bank Wins Dismissal of Israel Terrorism Attack Suit". Bloomberg Business Week. 6 November 2012. Archived from the original on 10 November 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  45. ^ "Arab Bank's $24 Million Lesson: Your Clients' Clients are Yours, Too". American Banker. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
  46. ^ "Order Terminating The Consent of Order" (PDF). U.S. Department of the Treasury - Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. 1 October 2018. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  47. ^ a b "IDF clears Ramallah bank of terror involvement". Haaretz. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
  48. ^
  49. ^ "Terror victims file NIS 20b. lawsuit against Arab Bank". The Jerusalem Post | 31 December 2019.

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