We look forward to the future with optimism, confidence and steadfastness as we continue to implement the Bank of the Future strategy in 2022.
The strong results we yielded from the successful implementation of the ABCDE – Back to Basics strategy in the five years leading up to 2021 provided Al Rajhi Bank with a solid foundation on which to implement the new “Bank of the Future” strategy during the year under review. With God’s grace, the Bank successfully executed the new strategy by leveraging its expertise, strengthening its core retail franchise and overcoming challenges to reach new avenues and ambitious targets, keeping pace with global trends and rapidly evolving market conditions to reinforce its desired and deserved position as the Bank of the Future.
Al-Rajhi Bank, with the continuous support of the Board of Directors, was able to continue its outstanding performance and strengthen its industry leadership at local, regional and global levels, in line with the positive developments witnessed across the Saudi economy in 2021. This was reflected in the rise in customer deposits by 34% compared to the previous year, consistent with the overall expansion of assets.
In addition to recording an increase in demand for our digital facilities and self-services by both retail and corporate clients, we continued to invest and move forward in our digital journey, acquiring a larger share in the growing digital banking services market. We were able to deliver increased value to our stakeholders during the year under review with market leading digital capabilities to make banking accessible to anyone from anywhere, thereby enabling 90% of the Bank’s total transactions being carried out over digital channels.
Within the framework of its pioneering and growing role, and its active contribution to achieving the goals of Saudi Vision 2030, Al Rajhi Bank increased its continuous support for the growth of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) across the Kingdom. This focused effort contributed to achieving structural transformations that support long-term growth for MSMEs, as the bank’s MSME portfolio grew by 61%, and corporate financing by 33% during 2021. The Bank also played a key role to support the Saudi Vision 2030 target for home ownership, with a 63% increase in real estate financing during the year.
In order to build new capabilities to profitably increase its market share in accordance with our Bank of the Future strategy, Al Rajhi Bank focused on growing its lending customer base by venturing into microfinancing through Emkan Finance – a registered lending company to reach previously inaccessible consumer segments. The Bank also established an end-to-end digital payment solutions company Neoleap, further strengthening the Bank’s position at the forefront of the banking industry’s digital revolution.
Al Rajhi Bank’s enhanced digital capabilities continued to empower our larger corporate banking clients, as well as MSMEs, with shorter approval cycles and accelerated facilitating of financial solutions. We understood our role as a strategic partner to the companies and industries we were serving, and continued to contribute towards a diversified national economy.
We continued to improve our customer experience, with our continued efforts being rewarded with the top rank in the “Voice of the Customer Index”. We also obtained the recognition of being the highest rated retail banking and business mobile apps in the Kingdom. Customers from across multiple segments were able to benefit from our evolving digital ecosystem, with credit cards, personal banking, mortgage and auto financing products all made available digitally.
Reflecting the Bank’s keenness to continuously increase our level of engagement with customers, we increased our points of contact by intensifying our presence and participation on social media, and the application of data-driven and targeted marketing. While offering new products and solutions to meet growing and evolving customer needs, we are also maximising the synergies between our subsidiaries, in order to:
- Establish a financial ecosystem in which Al Rajhi Bank seamlessly integrates services and solutions across all our subsidiaries, increasing our product offerings to meet the needs of our clients.
- Continuously and rapidly improve our digital product offering and customer journey.
- Leverage data analytics, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies in order to explore and increase opportunities for cross selling across our large client base to increase revenue and profits.
- Follow up on the “Voice of the Customer Index” and focus on aspects that can be improved upon in order to maintain our top ranking.
The continued investment of Al Rajhi Bank in its human capital has enabled us to elevate our employee experience while nurturing a workplace that is inspiring and stimulating. We further invested in our strategic training and development programmes, while supporting employees with special benefits and necessary infrastructure to meet their evolving demands and lifestyles in a hybrid working environment. We continue to assess our team to provide them with unique opportunities for career advancement and capacity expansion, with focused efforts to align industry talent demand with curated training programmes conducted by the Al Rajhi Academy, nurturing a sustainable talent pool of professionals and future leaders.
The harmonisation of the entire business network of the Bank, its channels, its expertise along with its human resources, has been key to achieving the goals of Al Rajhi Bank’s strategy for 2021. Al-Rajhi Bank’s “unbank the bank” identity change has come to reflect the Bank’s position as a global Saudi brand that adds value to its shareholders through advanced digital capabilities, transparent and efficient communication, commercial participation and competitive advantage. Despite its continuous evolution into the Bank of the Future, Al Rajhi Bank retains the essence of its identity as one of the founding pillars of the Saudi banking sector, distinguished by a long-established repute that extends over six decades. In the minds of the Bank’s customers across the Kingdom and around the world, Al Rajhi Bank will continue to be associated with success and market leadership in setting the benchmark for innovative and trailblazing banking solutions.
Our efforts to sustain and improve our banking services and contribute towards the national economy have not gone unnoticed; the Bank won many awards in 2021 including Best Investor Relations Programme at the Saudi Stock Exchange Awards for the year 2020, along with seven accolades from the Ministry of Housing for the Housing and Real Estate Finance Sector, and 13 regional and global awards in recognition of our digital excellence.
With this wealth of achievements, we look forward to the future with optimism, confidence and steadfastness as we continue to implement the Bank of the Future strategy in 2022, establishing our leadership in the world of banking services locally and regionally and internationally.
In conclusion, we extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to our shareholders, customers and partners of success. We express our gratitude for the support and guidance of the Central Bank of Saudi Arabia and the Capital Market Authority, and to their Excellencies, the Chairman and members of the Board of Directors. I also wish to express my appreciation to my colleagues across all departments, subsidiaries and all sectors. Wishing you all health, safety and continued success.
Waleed Abdullah Almogbel
Chief Executive Officer