Kuwait: New policies add to strong earnings growth of banking sector
New liberalizing measures and more stringent regulations adopted in 2004 helped Kuwait’s banking sector gain strong earnings growth, adding to the nation’s economic strength.
Higher net interest margins, rising oil prices and high consumer confidence also helped the county’s banking sector, according to reports of the Global Investment House quoted in Arab Times.
Following a bill passed in January to allow foreign banks to operate in Kuwait, three banks can now operate with Kuwait’s seven conventional and one Islamic bank.
Foreign banks will be required to maintain no less than 50 percent of staff members of Kuwaiti nationality, while banks of other GCC countries will be given top priority to receive licenses.
Meanwhile, credit facilities witnessed growth of 17.9 percent and 12.8 percent respectively during 2004 and the first nine months of 2005, as opposed to the corresponding period of the previous year.
Aggregate assets of the banking sector decreased from KD20.3bn in 2Q04 to KD19.14bn in 4Q04, while in 2005, banking assets began an upward trend reaching KD20.5bn in 3Q05.