Nasser Abdulla Al Awadhi, Group Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), said that the bank's sustainable financing portfolio currently stands at around AED 5.54 billion, and that work is underway to steadily increase it over the coming years.

He added that the bank has clear plans to launch climate neutrality initiatives to strengthen its role as a catalyst for capital projects that focus on addressing pressing environmental and social issues facing the community.

In statements to Emirates News Agency (WAM), Al Awadhi added that the bank will continue to play a leading role in supporting sustainability efforts by providing financing that takes into account its principles. He said that ADIB was the first financial institution in the world to issue US dollar-denominated green sukuk, and that it intends to allocate an amount equal to the net proceeds of the sukuk to finance eligible green projects to accelerate climate change mitigation efforts within the framework of the bank's sustainable financing.

He stressed the key role of financial institutions in directing capital towards projects that contribute to promoting sustainability and climate neutrality. He pointed out that the bank has launched a sustainable financing framework in an effort to direct its financing towards projects that contribute to environmental protection and the promotion of social justice.

On the bank's plans for expansion and growth, Al Awadhi said, that the bank plans to take advantage of local market opportunities for growth and expansion this year. They have a strong financial position and high liquidity to achieve high growth rates. The bank intends to work on launching new products and providing innovative offers to strengthen its market share.

Al Awadhi also stated that the bank's results for the past year exceeded the expectations of analysts and observers, with net profit growing by 45 percent to AED5.25 billion and revenues increasing by 36 percent to AED9.3 billion. He attributed this to the bank's income diversification strategy, which has focused on diversifying and growing its income from sources other than financing.

He pointed out that fee and commission income grew by 18 percent, supported by growth in income from a number of products, including cards, with the issuance of new cards such as the loyalty card and the cashback card. Income from financing sources also grew by 47 percent, driven by higher financing activities and improved margins. He also noted that the bank's retail sector grew, with the customer base increasing significantly by more than 200,000 to reach 1.2 million customers, the majority of whom are UAE nationals.

ADIB's Group CEO also pointed out that the bank will continue to strengthen its presence in key markets, including Egypt, which remains an important strategic market for it. He said, "We continue to focus on taking advantage of the opportunities in this promising market by allocating innovative offers and solutions and strengthening our strong presence in the UAE, where we have more than 60 branches and more than 500 ATMs, in addition to our presence in other strategic markets including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Kingdom, and Iraq."

Al Awadhi also said that despite operating in a competitive banking environment in the UAE, the bank enjoys a good financial position that allows it to continue to take advantage of the promising opportunities offered by the local market. He noted that all international reports indicate that the national economy will grow by 4 percent in 2024, with a large number of projects that will contribute to economic development and support economic diversification.

He stated that the bank launched several products during the past year that enabled it to increase its market share and attract new customers, and it intends to launch other products during the current year. Its strategy focuses on promoting innovation and launching new products and services, in addition to continuing to invest in the digital transformation strategy that has contributed this year to improving the level of service, raising operational efficiency, and increasing revenues.

Al Awadhi explained that the bank has succeeded in implementing new projects and taking advantage of large-scale technological transformations, which include adding new features and capabilities to its mobile application. This has led to an increase in the percentage of its customers who rely on its digital services to more than 80 percent.

Al Awadhi highlighted the UAE's clear strategy to become a leader in all areas, emphasising the importance of diversity, flexibility, and the ability to face challenges in building a strong economy. The UAE Vision aims to create opportunities across sectors like banks, technology, sustainability, and digital transformation.

Al Awadhi also pointed to the role of the banking sector in supporting economic diversification and growth in the UAE. He noted that the sector has witnessed transformations and developments in recent years that have led to a qualitative leap in the way banks and financial institutions operate, and their rise in the global rankings, as they are considered among the most valuable and influential economic institutions in the region and the world. He pointed out that UAE banks are no longer local institutions, but rather global institutions with activities, businesses and branches in various countries around the world.

The Group CEO of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank also pointed out that the legislative environment for the banking sector in the UAE has contributed to enabling banks to achieve their growth objectives and contribute to facilitating business and the development of the banking sector, which has succeeded in completing its transformation towards digitisation in a short period of time to meet the aspirations of various customers, whether individuals or companies.

Al Awadhi stated that Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank has a rich pool of national talent, which is one of the highest rates in the banking sector, with Emiratis accounting for 40 percent of the bank's total workforce. Women represent 70 percent of the total Emirati workforce at the bank, and Emiratis hold 47 percent of management positions.

Regarding his expectations for the future of global interest rates, Al Awadhi said that there are reports from US Federal Reserve policymakers indicating that inflationary pressures are easing and that the labour market is in a slowdown phase. In response to this, the previous meeting kept the base interest rate unchanged.