HRH Prince Salman Ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud, Governor of the Riyadh region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, sponsored on Sunday evening the official opening ceremony for Alinma Bank. Representing Prince Salman at the event was HRH Prince Sattam Ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Deputy Governor of the Riyadh region. The ceremony was held at the Al-Anoud Novotel Hotel in Riyadh. In attendance were a range of dignitaries and other guests from Saudi society, including royal family members, state officials and partners of the bank.
The ceremony began with a recitation of verses from the Holy Quran, followed by a speech by Mr. Abdulmohsen Al-Fares, the managing director and chief executive officer of Alinma Bank, in which he welcomed Prince Sattam and thanked him for his and Prince Salman’s support of the bank. Mr. Al-Fares also outlined various phases of the bank’s recent development as well as some of the bank’s achievements. Said Al-Fares: “Through its initial phases of operation, Alinma has achieved many successes, which have come as a result of the concerted efforts of my colleagues on the board of directors, executive management and the bank’s employees.
“We have worked with optimism for and confidence in the future of the bank. These efforts have had a significant impact in our successfully establishing a quality banking infrastructure as well as achieving marked growth in major activities of the bank during 2010. This was evident in the rapid increase in the number of partners, size of deposits, financing portfolios, total assets, products and services, reach of the bank’s ATM and branch networks and e-channel services. All of this makes us optimistic about continued, ongoing success and growth.”
At the close of Mr. Al-Fares’ speech, there was a screening of a short documentary film chronicling the bank’s development, which began in 2006 with the support of King Abdullah Ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud, who announced the formation of Alinma as a Shariah-compliant banking institution that would be established with share capital of SAR 15 billion. The film also explained the bank’s vision to become the preferred financial partner for all and its mission to provide partners with Shariah-compliant financial solutions in the best working environment that achieves sustainable growth and to contribute to community service. It was pointed out that the bank’s vision and mission were firmly rooted in values such as respect for all, dedication to partner service, interdependence among colleagues, striving to lead, community service, creativity and initiative.
The film also highlighted several of the banks achievements. In 2008, the Alinma IPO was praised by local media for being the most transparent in Saudi IPO history due to the publishing of the bank’s prospectus details in all local newspapers and major websites. The Banker magazine, a subsidiary of the Financial Times, also named the Alinma IPO the best IPO in 2008 for the Middle East region. In late 2009, Alinma received the PCI-DSS 1.2.1 certification for card data security and received ISO 27001 global certification for online banking information security services. The latter certification, issued by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), is one of the most widely recognized certifications and signifies excellence in an organization’s efforts to maintain adherence to the high standard of information security set by the ISO. Few banks in Saudi Arabia are ISO 27001 certified. Additionally, in 2009, the bank was awarded the INSIGHTS award for best call center in the Middle East, and then in 2010, Alinma received Project Finance magazine’s “Deal of the Year” award for its role in the financing of the Rabigh Independent Power Plant project.
The film also touched on the bank’s information technology strategy, which focuses on maintaining a level of technical expertise commensurate with the latest industry standards. It also focuses on maintaining the highest level of internal technical coordination and performance. With such a focus, the bank has been able to deliver high-speed service without sacrificing transactional accuracy or security. In this way, operational risks have been minimized and the confidentiality and security of partner data has been ensured. Redundancy is also built into the bank’s systems. These systems are deployed across all points of contact with bank partners including Alinma Internet (www.alinma.com), Alinma Phone (8001208000), Alinma Mobile and the kingdom-wide network of Alinma ATMs and branches.
Following the screening of the film, H.E. Engineer Abdulaziz Al-Zamil, chairman of Alinma Bank’s board of directors, delivered a speech in which he thanked King Abdullah and the entire Saudi government administration for the unlimited support they have shown for the banking sector. He noted that Alinma Bank was established to be a pioneering Shariah-compliant financial institution that would bolster the Saudi economy and foster growth. He also added that Alinma was majority owned by the public in addition to having the support of the Public Investment Fund, the Public Pension Agency and the General Organization for Social Insurance, each of which owns a 30% stake in the bank. Mr. Al-Zamil concluded by expressing his appreciation for the efforts exerted by the board of directors and staff.
HRH Prince Sattam Ibn Abdulaziz, Deputy Governor of the Riyadh Region, then performed the ceremonial launch of the bank, thus officially announcing commencement of all banking services by Alinma across the entire Kingdom. As part of the ceremony, a special display was illuminated, showing the locations of all 40 currently operational Alinma branches and all 225 Alinma ATMs. Prince Sattam then delivered a speech thanking the chairman, the members of the board of directors, the CEO, and all Alinma staff for their achievements. He also praised the banking industry in Saudi Arabia, applauding and its soundness in one of the most significant economies in the world.
Prince Sattam further honored the majority founders of Alinma bank, the Public Investment Fund, the Public Pension Agency and the General Organization for Social Insurance. In addition, he honored the minister of finance and the governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency for their respective roles in Alinma’s launch.
The event concluded with Mr. Al-Zamil presenting Prince Sattam with a memorial gift as thanks and recognition for his ongoing support for the bank for his generous donation of his time to partake in the formal opening of Alinma Bank.