Abu Dhabi: First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), the UAE’s largest bank on Tuesday reported a group net profit of Dh10.6 billion for year ended December 31, 2020, compared to Dh12.5 billion in the same period in 2019.
Profitability was lower year-on-year reflecting unprecedented market conditions, record low interest rates and the pandemic-driven economic slowdown, resulting in lower revenue and higher impairment charges, partly mitigated by cost optimisation initiatives, FAB said in a statement.
“Against the turbulent and uncertain backdrop of 2020, FAB showcased strength, resilience and adaptability while supporting our customers, employees and communities in navigating unprecedented times and focusing on the long-term sustainability of our bank,” said Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of FAB.
New group CEO
The bank announced that André Sayegh, Group Chief Executive Officer, would be retiring next month after 21 years with First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) and previously First Gulf Bank (FGB).
“FAB’s board and I express our gratitude and appreciation for André Sayegh’s achievements during his tenure and are pleased to nominate him to the Group’s Board of Directors, pending the approval of the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates and the bank’s general assembly,” said Sheikh Tahnoon.
Hana Al Rostamani, Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer and Head of Personal Banking will succeed André Sayegh as the new Group Chief Executive Officer.
Al Rostamani has more than 22 years of local and international experience in banking and financial services industry and has served as an independent director in Emirates Integrated Telecommunication Company (DU) and was Vice-Chairperson of the Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Services (EIBFS).
She is currently the Chairperson of FAB Private Bank Suisse (SA).
“In 2020, we focused not only on the immediate challenges created by the pandemic but also on positioning ourselves for future success, making significant progress against our strategic agenda, accelerating our digital transformation journey and unlocking value for our stakeholders,” said Andre Sayegh, Group CEO of FAB.
“Our prudent risk management approach has held us in good stead throughout this difficult year as we continued to strengthen our provision buffers with provision coverage at 95 per cent, and net impairment charges up 42 per cent year-on-year to Dh2.6 billion, with recovery efforts on a few legacy accounts yielding positive results in the second half of the year,” said Sayegh.
While the bank’s operating costs were 8 per cent lower year-on-year, the bank said it would continue to invest in our digital and technology infrastructure to further enhance productivity, create future efficiencies and an agile operating model.
FAB’s liquidity position remains very strong, and its robust capital position enables it to reward its shareholders whilst maintaining sufficient capacity, comfortably above regulatory thresholds.