Dealing with the pandemic called for cooperation and solidarity among all countries, overcoming narrow considerations of self-interest and competition in order to confront an imminent danger that threatened human civilization itself.
At the start of 2020, the world found itself faced with a rapidly spreading pandemic. Its consequences were all-encompassing; its impact was not limited to economy, trade, and travel, but permeated all aspects of life. Dealing with the pandemic called for cooperation and solidarity among all countries, overcoming narrow considerations of self-interest and competition in order to confront an imminent danger that threatened human civilization itself. Any success that was achieved in the midst of these difficult circumstances, therefore, was hard-won and commendable. In that light, we at Al-Rajhi Bank are happy to present to our shareholders, customers, and valued partners the annual report for 2020, which details our performance during this unprecedented year.
We are proud of the pioneering role played by the Kingdom, through its presidency of the G20, in leading international efforts to confront the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and revitalise the global economy. The G20 provided strong support to the production and delivery of vaccines across the world, driven by the conviction that all people, regardless of location or status, should be protected. A pandemic reaffirms that humanity is connected, and we can only overcome the present crisis through decisions and actions that benefit us all.
Recognising the urgency of the situation, the Saudi government introduced an integrated package to stimulate the economy and support the private sector in an effort to preserve jobs and compensate for losses during the downtime. Thanks to the swift, decisive leadership, preventive and precautionary measures were implemented to control the spread of COVID-19, and by the end of the year, a nationwide vaccination programme was underway. This will culminate, God willing, in a robust recovery from the epidemic and a return to normal life and activity.
We at Al Rajhi Bank were committed to the safety of our staff and customers, and transformed our processes and practices accordingly. We established a strict social distancing policy, and provided protective equipment to all our staff. The Bank adapted to the needs of the exceptional circumstances by taking work processes and services to a new level. We also participated in all Saudi Central Bank initiatives to reduce burdens and facilitate banking procedures, such as cancelling all transfer fees for all local and international money transfers through electronic and digital channels, and encouraging our customers to use digital banking. We are pleased to report that their wholehearted response in this matter exceeded all expectations with exceptional rates of digital adoption.
Our success has reaffirmed Al Rajhi Bank’s position as a leader in the world of banking services with a net income after Zakat of SAR 10.6 Bn. recorded for the year under review, compared to SAR 10.2 Bn. the previous year. In parallel with this positive result, shareholders’ equity increased by 13.5% to reach SAR 58.2 Bn. and total assets increased by 22.1% compared to the previous year to reach SAR 468.8 Bn.
We are also proud of the Bank’s contribution towards the goals of Vision 2030. A particular highlight is the 40% growth in female employees since 2015, a strong sign that we are moving towards greater empowerment for women.
In addition, the Bank’s support for small and medium enterprises was demonstrated by the fact that the financing portfolio for this sector grew by 49.1%. The expansion in our real estate financing continued to support the Vision 2030 goal of increasing Saudi home ownership. Further details of the many initiatives taken and strides made are described throughout this report.
This year, we also remained conscious of our social mission and were proud to participate in many broader efforts during these difficult times. A major initiative was the Bank’s contribution of SAR 25 Mn. towards the Health Endowment Fund in support of the health sector and medical personnel who worked tirelessly around the clock. In addition, we supported the Community Fund based initiative launched by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development with a contribution of SAR 15 Mn. towards strengthening civil efforts in overcoming the pandemic. We also contributed SAR 9 Mn. to the “Watan Al Ataa” initiative aimed at caring for the sick and the elderly. These initiatives, along with those of other institutions and companies, have contributed towards the integration between the public and private sectors, and are a noteworthy demonstration of how we can work in concert to enhance the wellbeing of the Kingdom’s citizens.
The Bank has indeed achieved positive results that we can be proud of despite all the headwinds and challenges faced during the year under review, and we acknowledge the perseverance and creativity of the entire Al Rajhi Bank team which drove this success. We must also not lose sight of the fact that our achievements would not have been possible without the confidence reposed in us by our customers and the cooperation of our partners. Our management team provided sound leadership throughout the year, astutely and nimbly responding to fast-moving global economic events.
In conclusion, we at Al Rahji Bank are honoured to express our gratitude and loyalty to The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and His Royal Highness, The Crown Prince: may God support them, for the progress and prosperity the Kingdom has achieved under their wise leadership. We also extend our thanks to the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Trade and Investment, the Ministry of Health, the Saudi Central Bank, the Capital Market Authority, and all other government agencies and members of the medical staff for their great efforts during these trying times. I also express my gratitude to the Honourable Head and members of the Sharia Board at Al Rajhi Bank for their valuable advice and guidance, and thank my esteemed colleagues, the members of the Board of Directors, for their support in leading the Bank. True prosperity is created from the knowledge, creativity, and dedication of our people, which in turn enable us to achieve our goals. We pray that, with the blessings of the Almighty, the scourge of this pandemic will soon be lifted from our country and the rest of humanity, flooding the world in radiance and light.
Abdullah bin Sulaiman Al Rajhi