KUWAIT: Mohammed Al-Othman, GM-Consumer Banking Group at National Bank of Kuwait, was named “MENA Retail Banker of the Year”, for the second year in a row, by MEED international magazine, within its MENA Banking Excellence Awards 2023. The award honors Al-Othman’s keen endeavors and remarkable achievements in providing the best-in-class banking services as well as excellence in digital banking innovations.
For more than five years, Al-Othman has led the Consumer Banking Group team in the Kuwait’s leading bank and one of the top banks across the region. During this, he set policies, goals and implementation mechanisms, and made a difference, not only in the lives of NBK Customers and their banking experience, but also in terms of the tremendous development achieved in the banking industry in Kuwait and the region during this period, thanks to the superior innovative digital products and services, and payment solutions comparable to global peers. As a result, NBK’s name was associated, during those years, with pioneering and market-leading banking products and services.
MEED accentuated the significant and extended impact of these strides, noting that MENA Retail Banker of the Year, the award won by Al-Othman for the second year in a row, demonstrates the hard work and commitment of the banking leaders in the winning institutions,. They helped drive progress and innovation, and made effective contributions to advance, not only their organizations, but the whole industry.
Pride and responsibility
Commenting on winning the award, Al-Othman said: “I feel proud and overjoyed with this recognition. However, I am well aware of the increasing responsibility with every success we achieve, as we have to double efforts to remain at the top, as the gap between us and our closest competitors widened over the past years. We also strive to maintain the precious trust of our customers by living up to their growing expectations, as we make more achievements.”
“Throughout my career, I have made and seen many successes and achievements. However, I regard our achievements as a team over the past years as a completely different thing. We worked amid unprecedented adverse circumstances and exceptional challenges, ranging from the pandemic, to fast-paced technological advancement, and successive global crises.”
Al-Othman continued, saying: “But we, as usual in NBK, see things from a different perspective from others, as we focused on the entailed opportunities in these exceptional circumstances and challenged the obstacles. This is the prevailing mindset and culture in NBK as a business edifice and a banking school, which always make it stand out in times of crises and come out of it even stronger and better positioned for excellence.”
“NBK’s culture and work environment, which is characterized by innovation, decentralization, and open-door management as key drivers of all success, require that all brilliant ideas should undergo careful study of customer preferences and extensive scientific analysis of their needs, based on the communication channels working day and night, and using the most advanced technologies,” he remarked.
Streak of advanced offerings
Highlighting the key leading banking products and services launched by NBK in the Kuwaiti retail banking market over the recent past period, Al-Othman said: “During the past period, we succeeded in introducing a streak of market-leading products and services to our customers, the Kuwaiti market and the regional banking industry. We continue to work to provide more, hoping to maintain our customers’ image of NBK as the bank they know and trust.”
Al-Othman referred to the many services that NBK was the first to introduce in Kuwait, including NFC payments, noting that NBK anticipated the pandemic and resulting repercussions by providing the first payment services using digital wallets at the beginning of 2020, as we introduced Fitbit Pay and Garmin Pay, followed by the most popular digital payment solutions: Samsung Wallet, Apple Pay, and most recently Google Pay.
“We laid the foundation for a new era of digital payments in Kuwait, and made transactions easier, faster, and more secure,” he remarked.
The future of the industry
Al-Othman explained that the key to many of NBK’s achievements is its forward-looking approach, not only in anticipating future changes, but also by contributing in making that future, as he said: “We are already contributing to making a promising banking future, while everyone was competing to provide digital banking services that we were the first to introduce, we were thinking of launching “Weyay”, the first fully digital bank, which remains the only one in Kuwait so far, more than one year and a half after its launch.”
“We managed to develop a comprehensive vision for how future branches operate by launching self-service branches, setting an example for the future branch whose services are integrated with our superior digital services, to provide a comprehensive and exceptional banking experience,” he added.
The Consumer Banking Group is located on the 27th and 28th floors of NBK’s soaring HQ building. The team is evidently characterized by the one-family spirit, dedication and a burning desire for more successes, and a leader who believes in the capabilities of Kuwaiti youth and sees it imperative to develop and prepare them as future leaders.
Based on that, Al-Othman commented on the team’s role in achieving this success, saying: “I consider myself fortunate to work within a team bringing together a group of high-caliber professionals and talents. Recognizing their tireless efforts with awards and honors is absolutely well-deserved.”
“Every member in the team puts the needs of our customers as a source of inspiration, achieving customer satisfaction and contributing to enriching their comprehensive banking experience, being the key driver to pursue hard work and innovation,” he added.