Arab Bank

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Arab Bank
Native name
البنك العربي
Public
Traded as Amman Stock Exchange: ARBK
Industry Banking
Founded 1930; 86 years ago (1930)
Headquarters Amman, Jordan
Area served
30 countries[1]
Key people
Sabih Masri (Chairman)
Products Current and saving accounts, Personal loans, Overdraft facility, Home loans, Car loans, Credit cards, Term deposits, Funds transfer, Currency exchange, Investment opportunities, Commercial lending, Project and structured finance, Private banking, Asset management, Brokerage, Money markets, Foreign exchange, Capital markets, Commercial lending, Term financing, Project and structured finance, Corporate finance and capital markets
US$ 424.9 million (2016)[2]
Total assets US$ 49 billion (2015)[3]
Total equity US$ 8 billion (2015)[3]
Number of employees
6,540 (2015)[4]
Subsidiaries Arab Bank (Switzerland) Limited (sister institution), Arab Bank Australia Limited, Europe Arab Bank plc, Islamic International Arab Bank plc, 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
Website Arabbank.com

Arab Bank is one of the largest financial institutions in the Middle East, founded in 1930 in Jerusalem, Mandatory Palestine, as the first private sector financial institution in the Arab world. Headquartered today in Amman, Jordan, it 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, the bank is the highest-ranked by market capitalization, and represents 28% of the Amman Stock Exchange.

In 2013, Global Investor named Arab Bank the "Best Cash Manager in the Middle East" and distinguished Arab Bank Invest as the "Best Brokerage House in Jordan".[5] Euromoney also honored it as "Best Bank in Jordan" for the sixth consecutive year.[6] In 2013, Arabian Business recognized the bank as Regional Bank of the Year.[7] From 2012 to 2013, Global Finance honored the bank with seven awards including Best Trade Finance Provider in the Middle East, Jordan and Yemen, Best Emerging Market Bank in Jordan and Yemen and Best Foreign Exchange Provider and Best Investment Bank in Jordan.[8] According to its 2010 Sustainability Report, J.P. Morgan honored Arab Bank Switzerland with the Quality Recognition Award for Outstanding Achievement 2009–2010 Best in Class.[9]

In 2000s, several lawsuits were filed against the Arab Bank about its involvement in facilitating the funding of terrorist organizations, all the lawsuits were later appealed by courts and no action was taken against bank.[10]

History[edit]

Establishment[edit]

In the 1940s and 1950s, the bank grew to 43 branches and had JOD 5.5 million capital. During the 1965s period, the bank focused on investments and became a catalyst for Arab economic developments when most other financial institutions avoided the risk.

During the nationalization wave of the 1960s, Arab Bank lost a total of 25 branches.[11] Following the Six Day War in 1967, the bank closed its West Bank and Gaza branches. Although it closed branches in the Middle East, the bank continued to expand in other parts of the world. In 1961, the bank opened its first international location, becoming the first Arab financial institution to establish a presence in Switzerland.[11] By 1964 Arab Bank Switzerland had locations in both Zürich and Geneva.

In 1974, after his father’s death, Abd Al-Majeed Shoman was named Chairman and General Manager of Arab Bank.[12] Under his leadership, the bank expanded its scope of products and services into new areas of business.[12] 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.[12] 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.[13]

Expansion[edit]

In May 2000, Abd Al Majeed’s son, Abdel Hamid became CEO. Under his leadership, Arab Bank reopened operations in Syria in 2005, and took steps to commence its activities in Iraq, circumstances permitting.[14] In January 2007, Arab Bank established Europe Arab Bank (EAB), a London-based, fully owned subsidiary.[15] 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.[16]

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.[12]

Arab Bank today[edit]

Arab Bank headquarters in Amman, Jordan.

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,[17] 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.[17] 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.[18] 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-.[19]

As of their 2013 first quarter report, Arab Bank Group had a shareholders' equity base of $7.6 billion (USD), a net profit before tax of $256.9 million (USD), and $45.7 billion (USD) in assets.[20]

The S&P/Hawkamah3 ESG Pan Arab Index underwent annual rebalancing on December 1, 2015. The index includes the top 50 Pan Arab companies based on their performance on almost 200 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) metrics, and uses an innovative ESG score-weighting scheme to ensure stocks with higher ESG scores have a greater influence on the index than those with lower ESG scores.

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%.[21]

Compliance[edit]

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.

In 2009, Michael Matossian, the bank’s Executive Vice President and Global Head of Group Regulatory Compliance was named Chief Compliance Officer of the Year at the 2009 Compliance Awards.[26]

Board of directors[edit]

  • Mr. Sabih Taher Masri, Chairman
  • H.E. Dr. Bassem Ibrahim Awadallah, Deputy Chairman
  • H.E. Mr. Samir Farhan Kawar, Member
  • Ministry of Finance, Saudi Arabia, Member
  • Mrs. Nazik A. A. Odah / Al-Hariri, Member
  • Social Security Corp., Member
  • Mr. Mohammed Ahmad Hariri, Member
  • Mr. Wahbe Abdullah Tamari, Member
  • Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation, Member
  • Mr. Bassam Wael Kanaan, Member
  • Mr. Abbas Farouq Zuaiter, Member
  • Mr. Alaa Arif Batayneh, 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 four non-profits dedicated to poverty alleviation, education, 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]

Lawsuits[edit]

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.[30] 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.[30]

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.[31] The bank also must maintain at least $420 million in assets in the U.S.[32]

In a civil litigation action filed in 2011, Israeli resident Mati Gill sued Arab Bank for damages under the Anti-Terrorism Act for injuries he sustained in an alleged terrorist attack in Israel in 2008.[33] Judge Weinstein dismissed plaintiff’s claims in their entirety on 6 November 2012.[34]

Several civil lawsuits have been 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 2014.[35][36] In these cases, U.S. and non-U.S. plaintiffs allege 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 allege 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 LTD, National Westminster Bank, PLC and Commerzbank AG.[37] On 22 September 2014, Arab Bank, after 30 days of trial and two days of jury deliberation, was found liable for knowingly supporting terrorism relating to 24 different terrorist acts in the case of Linde v. Arab Bank Plc, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).[32][38] On 8 December 2015, the previous ruling was appealed and no action was taken against bank.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Arab Bank Global Network Arab Bank
  2. ^ "424.9 مليون دولار امريكي ارباح مجموعة البنك العربي للنصف الاول من عام 2016". دنيا الوطن. Retrieved 25 July 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Investor Relations Fact Sheet". Arab Bank. Retrieved March 2016. 
  4. ^ "Arab Bank's "Our People" sheet". Arab Bank. Retrieved March 2016. 
  5. ^ "Arab Bank Receives Best Cash Manager Award in the Middle East at the Global Investor Summit". MENAFN Press. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Arab Bank PLC : AB Invest Named Best Brokerage House in Jordan". 4-Traders. Retrieved 17 November 2013. 
  7. ^ "Arab Bank PLC : Arab Bank Named Best Bank in Jordan by Euromoney for Sixth Consecutive Year". 4-Traders. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "Awards: Best Internet Banks—Round 1". Global Finance. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  9. ^ "Arab Bank Launches Its First Sustainability Report". Retrieved 8 May 2012. 
  10. ^ a b http://www.reuters.com/article/us-arab-bank-jo-lawsuit-idUSKBN0TR1V720151208
  11. ^ a b "Nationalization". Arab Bank. Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  12. ^ a b c d "Steady Expansion". Arab Bank. Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  13. ^ "The Arab Bank's place in Jordan and the Region". Wikileaks. Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  14. ^ "Arab Bank Today". Arab Bank. Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  15. ^ "Arab Bank to establish Europe Arab Bank in London". Business Intelligence. Retrieved 23 May 2006. 
  16. ^ "Banking on success". Business Management. Archived from the original on 16 March 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  17. ^ a b "Moody's takes downgrade actions on Arab Bank, Cairo Amman Bank and Housing Bank". Global Arab Network. Retrieved 21 May 2012. 
  18. ^ "Announcement: Moody's reviews 14 banks in Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Ukraine for downgrade". Moody's. Retrieved 22 May 2012. 
  19. ^ "Arab Bank PLC". Fitch Research. Retrieved 23 May 2012. 
  20. ^ "Investor Fact Sheet". Arab Bank. Retrieved July 2013. 
  21. ^ "Du tops list for transparency among Middle East companies" (PDF). 
  22. ^ "Arab Bank sponsors a major international anti-money laundering conference". AMEinfo. 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. Retrieved 21 May 2012. 
  25. ^ "Arab Bank contributes to strengthening the compliance function within Jordan Banks". Arab Bank. Retrieved 21 May 2012. 
  26. ^ "2009 Awards Winners". Complinet. Retrieved 21 May 2012. 
  27. ^ "The AHS Foundation". Retrieved 23 May 2012. 
  28. ^ a b c "Sustainability Report 2011" (PDF). Arab Bank. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  29. ^ "Together for the better". Arab Bank. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  30. ^ a b "IDF clears Ramallah bank of terror involvement". Haaretz. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  31. ^ "Arab Bank's $24 Million Lesson: Your Clients' Clients are Yours, Too". American Banker. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  32. ^ a b Joe Palazzolo (22 September 2014). "Arab Bank Found Liable for Providing Assistance to Hamas". WSJ. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  33. ^ "Hamas financing case can proceed against Arab Bank: judge". Reuters. 12 September 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2012. 
  34. ^ "Arab Bank Wins Dismissal of Israel Terrorism Attack Suit". Bloomberg Business Week. 6 November 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2012. 
  35. ^ "Overview of Litigation". Arab Bank Facts. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  36. ^ Fisher, Daniel (13 August 2015). "Jury Will Put A Price On Terrorism -- And Stick A Bank With The Bill". Forbes. Retrieved 13 August 2015. 
  37. ^ "Swiss Mega-Bank UBS Sued by Victims of Terrorism". The Terror Finance Blog. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  38. ^ Arab Bank Liable for Supporting Terrorist Efforts, Jury Finds – Retrieved 22 September 2014

External links[edit]