On behalf of the Board of Directors of Riyad Bank, I am pleased to present the Bank’s Annual Report, which reviews the Bank’s performance and financial position for the fiscal year 2020.
You are well aware of the severity of the challenges that the global economy faced during the year 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which cast an unprecedented heavy shadow over health, economic and social conditions throughout the world, and directly affected the business sectors and economic activity globally.
There is no doubt that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was not isolated from the consequences of this pandemic. However, the wise management and awareness of the situation coupled with excellent integration and coordination between the various state agencies resulted in an effective response to confronting the epidemic and containing its impact. Thus, by the grace of God, we were able to reduce risks and avoid a serious crisis, but this does not negate the pandemic’s effect on the economy. The slowing of growth rates and the emergence of multiple other challenges required the concerted efforts of all parties from the public and private sectors in order to confront and work to overcome them.
The Saudi banking sector was one of the first sectors to take early precautionary measures, with the aim of preserving business continuity and enabling the national economy to face the pandemic. This was achieved through institutions, led by the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Saudi Arabia, functioning in concert and with the unstinted cooperation of banking institutions that have demonstrated an unwavering commitment.
At Riyad Bank, we have chosen to ensure the safety of our employees and customers, a high priority that has topped our list of concerns during the pandemic. We have also worked to launch a package of preventive and other measures in response to the directives of the supervisory and regulatory authorities, with the aim of limiting the spread of the virus. We have successfully implemented the mechanism of “remote work” for our employees, while continuing to provide uninterrupted services to our customers through a network of branches designated to work during the pandemic and by relying on our advanced digital banking system. For our employees and clients, we have carefully maintained the principle of "social distancing".
On the financial front, Riyad Bank was one of the first banks to implement the package of financial stimulus initiatives prescribed by the Central Bank of Saudi Arabia to support the sustainability of micro, small and medium enterprises during the pandemic. We continued to provide easy financing solutions to these establishments and enabled them to continue their activities and retain their employees. Thereby, we provided support to overcome the consequences of the pandemic and the economic challenges it imposed.
At the same time, conscious of our societal responsibilities, we at Riyad Bank initiated an immediate response to alleviate the consequences of the pandemic. We effected financial contributions to support the Community Fund and the Health Endowment Fund. These funds were launched first to support the blessed efforts in facing the pandemic by increasing the availability of medical equipment, and provide the necessary assistance to the bodies and vulnerable segments of society affected by the pandemic. Secondly, we were able to successfully organize an awareness campaign on financial fraud, "Leave it for you", which was implemented by the team at Riyadh Bank on behalf of Saudi banks, and with the support of the Central Bank of Saudi Arabia.
Riyad Bank played an active role in support of the Autism Center of Excellence which was launched as a joint initiative of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development and the Central Bank of Saudi Arabia, together with the collaborative support of Saudi banks. It was officially launched during 2020 to be a leading regional center for the management of autism.
In the year 2020, we continued to work wholeheartedly to reach the goals of our strategy, which included a roadmap for Riyad Bank to be the first choice for customers. The roadmap included a wide range of initiatives through which the Bank was able to enhance its competitiveness and market share, accelerate progress of digital transformation, improve the customer experience, and develop the standards of the business environment through which the Bank succeeded in achieving an exceptional leap in the Work Environment Index.
The result of these relentless efforts that we were able to expand our customer base and profits achieved during the year SAR 4.7 Bn. Also the Bank recorded an increase in the volume of deposits during 2020 to reach SAR 203 Bn., compared to SAR 195 Bn. in 2019.
Given this context, and aligned with our procedures to periodically review and develop our strategy, the Bank has adopted the goals of its new business strategy aimed at making Riyad Bank the best bank in the Kingdom by 2025. We will focus our priorities on several tracks that, God willing, will enable us to achieve our ambitions.
The financial performance of Riyad Bank during the year 2020, in light of the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, was positive and solid, and reflects the stability and sound financial position of the Bank, its capabilities and superior attributes that give it the determination to overcome obstacles, continue progressing forward, and create opportunities for growth and prosperity.
In conclusion, I extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to the members of the Board of Directors for their support and efforts, and to our shareholders and our esteemed customers for their trust and loyalty, which I have always appreciated and been proud of. Given their efforts and support for the Saudi banking sector and its national institutions, I cannot fail to affirm our commitment to continue our diligence in our banking operations. I am certain that we will exert all our strength, energy and capabilities so that we will achieve success and excellence and Riyad Bank will be recognized as the leading bank in the Kingdom by 2025.
Eng. Abdullah Mohammed Al-Issa
Chairman of the Board