First Gulf Bank Wins International Recognition

ABU DHABI - First Gulf Bank (FGB) has won international recognition by The Banker Awards as “Bank of The Year 2009, UAE”. The award, presented at a ceremony held in London last week, honours FGB for its growth and performance in terms of capital, assets and return on equity. It also acknowledges FGB’s banking strategy, structure and technology, and how these have equipped it for future developments in the market.

By (Wam)

Published: Mon 14 Dec 2009, 8:47 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:48 AM

“First Gulf Bank is one of the region’s leading financial institutions and this award, the longest running banking title, reflects the success and the strength which the bank enjoys today.” said Andr Sayegh, FGB’s Chief Executive Officer.

“Since 1979, the journey of FGB has exemplified an amazing success story of a small bank, whose leadership and dedicated staff transformed it into a great financial institution. Today, after three decades, we proudly state that we have set new benchmarks, provided innovative services and significantly participated in the growth of the UAE economy,” commented Sayegh.

“Ten years ago, the bank has seen a major transformation with the change of ownership and management. Since then, the real growth has begun. Year after year, we have consistently expanded our asset base and profits. This commitment to excellence has helped us attain the distinction as one of the most progressive organizations not only in the UAE but on the international scene as well,” added Sayegh.

In its report highlighting the reasons for the decision for naming FGB for this prestigious award, The Banker report highlighted the fact that FGB, the second largest bank in the UAE in capital terms, has burst on the scene in the past five years (ended in December 2008) with an unprecedented compound annual growth rate of 87% in net profits, 70% in assets and 65% in deposits. This impressive record was demonstrated fully in the difficult conditions of 2008, where FGB posted a huge 49.7% increase in net profit to reach $818 million and an impressive 22.5% return on equity.

In 2008, along with 47% growth in assets to $29.3 billion and a massive 66% increase in Tier 1 capital to $4.4 billion, FGB’s return on average assets of 3.3% was again the highest among its peers and its cost-to-income ratio of 24.2% was the lowest of the major banks.

The bank has continued to expand in 2009 with net profits in the first three quarters of the year reaching $668.5 million, 5.2% up on the previous year, and assets up nearly 20% to $33.8 billion, the report said.

“No other bank in the region has achieved the growth that we have witnessed during the last decade. Our key financial indicators reflect this performance. In addition, whilst the financial performance of the bank has been exemplary in the good times, it has also achieved balanced growth in recessionary times as well. At a time where the world was heavily impacted by the financial turmoil resulting in credit and financial crisis, FGB continued to record strong performance. This reconfirms the bank’s position as one of the best performing, most efficient and most profitable institutions in the region, which is capable to adapt very quickly to changes in market conditions,” added Sayegh.

“Year after year, FGB’s results reaffirm that the bank’s business model is built on solid foundations. Thanks to FGB’s visionary board of directors, experienced management, sound business strategy, and dedicated staff, we are able, quarter after quarter, to provide the best returns to all our stakeholders,” said Sayegh.

“Maintaining a strong balance sheet remains a priority for us. We will continue to focus on building our equity and increasing our deposits along with consistent financial results,” added Sayegh.

FGB today enjoys reaffirmed “A+” rating by Fitch, “A2” rating by Moody’s and A+ by Capital Intelligence. This recognition has positioned the bank in a prominent place in the industry.

“FGB has strong foundations to continue delivering its vision and commitment to shareholders. We will continue to deliver exceptional value by providing solutions that meet the financial needs of our customers while ensuring the highest returns to our shareholders.” concluded Sayegh.

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