Kuwait 2017 | FINANCE | COLUMN

TBY talks to Elham Yousry Mahfouz, CEO, Commercial Bank of Kuwait (CBK) on the sector.

Elham Yousry Mahfouz

How has the bank performed over the last year?

2016 started off complicated, but with record operating profits of USD100 million, we closed the books pleased. This was due to several reasons, and amongst others, the bank has cleaned the provisions of non-performing loans. It was time to make that restructuring and truly clean our balance sheets, and with the proper provisions from the central bank regulations in place, we have taken proactive action. Secondly, we became more selective in the business we conduct. We still engage in corporate lending, which is the cornerstone for every bank in Kuwait and essentially for the world. Secondly, we have our retail operations, which are equally important but have diminished in size as compared to our corporate division, in terms contributing to the size of our loan portfolio. CBK has built a good portfolio for the project financing and construction, and the contribution of fees and commissions is around 10% growth in the last few years. Real estate is not our primary focus, at least not for clients whose sole business is real estate, rather we divert into trading or contracted construction. This shift in our portfolio has been healthy for our cash flow. Our current portfolio is around 25% construction and contracting, real estate around 20%, and also 20% for trading activities.