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The Middle East’s 25 smartest banks staff writer
Wednesday, 25 November 2009

This week Arabian Business celebrates the 25 banks that have weathered the financial storm the best.

A range of approaches - from conservatism to aggressive opportunistic expansion - have ensured that the institutions on this list are strongly placed to emerge from the downturn ahead of their peers.

We've studied their strategies, their assets, their credit ratings and much more. Read on for an invaluable insight into the brightest stars of the Middle East banking industry.

View Smartest Banks 2009 List

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Comments (3)

Pipe dreams
Posted by TALAL on 20 December 2009 at 18:19 UAE time

With all due respect the list in not only wrong but misleading as well. I agree with Paddy that you need to come up with more meaningful criteria for ranking Banks as this doesn't work at all. When new financial results are out next year at least 3 on the list may end up up the creek without a paddle.
Agree with the list
Posted by SG, Kuwait, Kuwait on 9 December 2009 at 09:50 UAE time

I have been working in the corporate banking field for over 5 years now and the banks listed above are quite secure. Choosing randomly and checking the historic audited financials you will see that these banks have been taking adequate provisions over the years unlike banks like Commercial Bank of Kuwait that took extreme sudden provisions making them reporting losses in 3Q of 09 whereas KD100m for the same period the previous year; that goes to show the type of credit they run. As for all the questions Paddy is asking, well an article that answers all those questions might as well be a book cos you are asking for financial analyses of each bank which could easily need 100 pages or so (4 pages each minimum). This report is a morale booster but is based on financials issued by the best international auditors. and, by the way, i do not work in any of those top banks but i intend to.
Tangible evidence missing
Posted by Paddy, Dubai, UAE on 26 November 2009 at 00:04 UAE time

The report talks about the performance of each bank at a very high level without delving deep into the numbers. For example, what is the net NPL for each bank in comparison with their assets? What is the exposure ratio (total exposure to the risky sectors out of the total assets) of each bank to risky sectors like Credit Cards, Construction & Real Estate etc? What is the recovery position with respect to Credit Card advances? What is the exposure of each bank (especially UAE and Saudi banks) to the Saad and Algosaibi groups? Have they kept aside provisions against these troubled assets? What has each bank done differently to tide over the financial crisis? HAs there been any fresh capital infusion into any of these banks? What is the Capital Adequacy Ratio of these banks? The lack of transparency with regard to reporting in the Middle East financial sector means that the banks may not have fully reported their bad assets. Maybe the report is intended to be a morale booster to the general public and not exactly based on hard facts.
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