Jordan’s Arab Bank reports 29.4% increase in Q1 net profit to $166m

A rise in net interest and commission income drove profitability despite market volatility

A general view of the Arab Bank in Amman, Jordan, October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Mohammed Hamed
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Arab Bank, Jordan’s biggest lender, reported a 29.4 per cent surge in its first quarter net profit amid an increase in core banking income, loans and customer deposits.

Net income after tax jumped to $166 million compared with $128.3m for the same period last year, despite market volatility, the lender said in a statement.

The results reflect the bank’s “strong financial position and its ability to deliver sustainable performance, while prudently managing regional and global developments”, Sabih Masri, chairman of the board of directors, said.

Banks across the world faced a tougher operating environment amid continued pandemic-driven uncertainties last year. However, the outlook is improving as global economic conditions continue to recover from its worst recession since the 1930s.

Historically low interest rates have made it difficult to boost profits, but central banks across the globe are looking to tighten accommodative monetary policies and increase rates to combat inflation, boosting prospects of a further improvement in banks’ net interest income and profitability.

The International Monetary Fund approved the disbursement of $335.2m to Jordan in January this year, bringing its total pay-out to the kingdom since the start of 2020 to about $1.23 billion.

Jordan’s economy is forecast to grow 2.7 per cent this year and expand 3.1 per cent in 2023, from 2 per cent in 2021, as a nascent recovery is under way, the IMF said in its January report.

Arab Bank, which has more than 600 branches across five continents, recorded a 6.3 per cent growth in net interest and commission income compared with the corresponding period in 2021.

The lender enjoys high liquidity and a strong capital base with a loan-to-deposit ratio of 74.3 per cent and a capital adequacy ratio of 16.5 per cent, Randa Sadik, chief executive of Arab Bank, said.

The group holds credit provisions against non-performing loans in excess of 100 per cent, she added.

Customer deposits grew 3 per cent to reach $47.3bn, compared with $45.8bn for the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the lender’s loan portfolio grew 5 per cent to reach $35.2bn in the three months to March, compared with $33.5bn for the same period last year.

The group maintained its strong capital base with a total equity of $10.2bn.

Last year, the bank launched Reflect, the first neobank in Jordan, which provides branchless services to millennials through its app.

Updated: May 30, 2023, 7:30 AM