National Bank of Yemen: A Great Enterprise in the Banking Sector of Yemen [Archives:2001/08/Business & Economy]

February 19 2001

Banking is among the most important financial means that support national development by providing financial resources along with the ability to provide cash flow directly into any country. The National Bank of Yemen is one of the greatest banks in the Republic of Yemen that participated in the commercial, economic developmental process in the country. 
The National Bank of Yemen has witnessed tremendous growth with great leaps after Mr. Abdulrahman Mohamed Al-Kuhali took over the administrative affairs of the bank in 1998. During the last three years, the bank was able to gain the highest ever profits in 2000. Mr. Al-Kuhali, 51, obtained his Bachelor degree in economics from Baghdad and his Masters degree from France. He worked in the field of banking and financial administration in several posts since 1975. He was the General Manager of the Tax Department in 1975, Deputy of Customs in 1978, Tax Authority Manager in 1980, Deputy Minister of Finance in 1984, Custom Tax Authority Manager in 1990, and since 1998 Chairman and General Manager of the National Bank of Yemen. He was well-known for his hard work and dedication to his work, which made him a great model for financial managers countrywide. 
To focus more on the activities and history of the National Bank of Yemen, Ridwhan Al-Saqqaf, Aden Bureau Chief of Yemen Times met with Mr. Abdulrahman Al-Kuhali who was busy in his work as usual in administrating 29 branches of the bank, and filed the following interview. 
Q: Could you give us a brief introduction on the National Bank of Yemen? 
A: The National Bank of Yemen was founded in 1969 in former South Yemen as a 100% government-owned bank, and developed through the last 31 years until it reached its peak at the end of 2000. During these 31 years, the bank gained a lot of experience and a prestigious status as the only bank for southern and eastern areas of the country before unification in May 1990. It continued to develop and grow in direct interaction with the granted financial freedom and banking competition after May 22, 1990 until today. 
To evaluate the position of the National Bank of Yemen on the local level, we can see the statistics of 2000, which obviously show that it has been the leading bank compared to local banks due to its activities during 1997-2000. The financial changes during these three years reached tremendous amounts, which obviously marks a great success for the company. 
Q: What was the factor behind the tremendous progress of the National Bank of Yemen during 1998-2000? 
A: There are two main factors behind our success, particularly during the last three years during which I was the Chairman and General Manager of the bank. These are: 
1- The priceless trust of our customers in our bank, which is a major source of pride and honor for us as administration and also as staff members. Maintaining this pride is our main objectives. 
2-Efficient administration of banking transactions, which is an extremely difficult task that requires keen vision, especially when realizing that the bank went through many obstacles, which require much time to explain. 
In brief, the positive relationship between administration and profit during this period is a proof that our policies towards the operations of the bank are efficient and objective. Our strategies concentrated on: 
1- Restructuring the administrative, financial, structural system of the bank. 
2- Planning, follow-up, and assessment of operations 
3- Continuous modernization of the financial and administrative services of the bank’s main and all branch offices, including Internet online services. 
4- Implementing laws and regulations of the bank, which were all neglected in the past. 
5- Working on regaining most of the bank’s rights and properties moveable and immovable. 
6- Working on enhancing bank operations by: 
a) Working on enhancing the standard of living of bank employees by raising their salaries so as to increase their work efficiency. 
b) Working on regaining our old customers. 
c) Contracting the skillful and professional employees of the past. 
7- Enhancing the bank’s official relationships with others including foreign correspondents and other local banks operating in Yemen. 
Q: The National Bank of Yemen is among the largest banks in the country, with great banking abilities. What are the great abilities that make you distinguished? 
A: The bank indeed has several distinguished services in addition to the large value of assets and deposits. Our bank played an important role during its years of operation in directly financing several huge economic investments in all fields. 
The bank is currently involved is doing so on well-studied bases according to the present economic developments on the local arena. We offer a special credit policy to our customers with great flexibility. This will provide easy loans to all sectors. The bank also has a special credit branch (Public Loaning Bank Branch) to provide all the facilities for loans and credit and has well-defined policies to avoid credit risks. Certain types of sufficient insurance, which is of course one of the rights of any bank to demand before providing any loan is essential to carry on credit transactions. The National Bank of Yemen always makes sure that it provides the best of services with the best means and facilities available precisely, swiftly, and accurately. This is possible with the efficient administration of the different branches of the bank scattered all over the country, and with the correspondent network abroad and all over the world. 
Q: What are your future plans? 
A: We have future plans to further develop our banking services in all aspects, especially that we now have 29 branches all over the country after the addition of the recently opened Hodeidah branch. 
Q: Any final comments? 
A: I would like to thank Yemen Times for filing this short interview, in which I was able to deliver to the public some of the bank’s achievements and ambitions. I would also like to say that the banking sector in Yemen first, and the Arab world second, will be facing the challenge of globalization, which has started to draw the dimensions and future of the new global economic, financial, and banking order. Hence, we will need to overcome this challenge by working on modernizing our banking sector and adding more facilities required in this rapidly changing era of information technology. We also need to create stronger united entities on the local, Arab, and regional levels.