Ms. Juliet Morris of International Banker interviews Ms. Nahla Khaddage Bou-Diab, Deputy General Manager and Chief Operating Officer of AM Bank on the bank’s approach to customer service, the take-up of digital banking in Lebanon and the “opportunity gap” for women employed in the Middle East banking sector.
Despite the gender-diversity rhetoric in business, the gender makeup of corporate boards, including those of MENA, reveal that the female population is poorly represented at the top. And studies prove that this imbalance works against the bottom line. Companies with female directors tend to fly higher profit-wise than their all-male competitors. Changes need to start at the societal level, with more women succeeding on every rung of the business ladder.
I recently spoke my mind on the challenges that women face in the banking sector. Just the day after, Anne Boden, founder of the UK’s Starling Bank, did the same. Our comments hit the headlines. We’d clearly struck a nerve.
The Middle East, in which numerous ancient civilizations and religions were born, is guaranteed to provide unlimited sight-seeing opportunities for lucky travellers. Fortunately, there are a number of luxury boutique hotels with all of the modern comforts to enjoy while visiting this history-soaked region—in fact, they are destinations in themselves! Take a peek inside some of the Cradle of Civilization’s classiest accommodations before making your choice.
Although Shariah-influenced finance has existed for centuries, the first modern Islamic banks were not established until the early 1960s. Today, Islamic banking is spreading throughout the Middle East and Africa, in countries where a majority of the population is Muslim. Combining modern technology with ancient religious principles, Islamic banking is rich with opportunity for financial firms seeking to serve this growing consumer market, especially those who have not been served well by conventional banks.
Artificial intelligence is infiltrating almost every industry, including banking, and automating tasks in ways that outperform humans. But is this cause for nail-biting or rejoicing? A lot depends on how intelligently artificial intelligence is first viewed and then put to work by humans. Banks worldwide, such as Alawwal bank in Saudi Arabia, are proving that this powerful technology, if exploited smartly, will be transformational for banks and customers alike.
Ms. Juliet Morris of International Banker interviews Ms. Nahla Khaddage Boudiab, COO of AM Bank on Lebanon’s banking sector, AM Bank’s success and her role within the World Union of Arab Bankers.
Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE, is rich in oil but suffers from underuse of its own human resources. Abu Dhabi’s commitment to rebalancing away from oil will be underpinned by improvements in financial education, exemplified by a new academy launched by Abu Dhabi Global Market in partnership with the London Institute of Banking & Finance.
A Transformation in the West Bank: How a small-business-lending facility brought big benefits to the region’s banking sector
The expression “What goes around comes around” applies to banks, but in a positive way, especially when they support the small businesses in their communities by increasing access to capital. OPIC can testify to such a phenomenon in the West Bank, which witnessed an economic turn-around at many levels following the US development-finance institution’s loan guaranty to a small-business-lending facility Middle East Investment Initiative.
Many analysts commend Lebanese banks on their superstar performance in an economy crippled by political and social instability. Yet, scrutiny of those banks’ loans portfolios reveals that they are not heavily focused on providing investment loans, which would spur long-term growth. I