BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Brunei’s largest financial institution, Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD), posted a net profit of $147 million in 2018, a 27 percent increase from the $116 million recorded the previous year.

During a shareholder’s annual general meeting on Friday, BIBD said the figure was a milestone for the bank, whose assets surpassed the $10 billion mark for the first time in 2018 — up 4.9 percent from the $9.6 billion recorded in 2017. 

The BIBD Group — which includes subsidiaries BIDB At-Tamwil, BIBD securities, and BIBD (Middle East) Limited — posted total income of $325.8 million in 2018 on the back of strong financing, leasing and investment activities, but overall it was a 1.9 percent decrease from the previous year.

Managing Director and CEO of BIBD, Mubashar Khokhar, said the bank’s strong governance and management policies enabled it to achieve optimal returns for shareholders at 12.5 percent for the 2018 financial year.

The financial institution has more than 216,000 customers in Brunei representing 61 percent of the market share.

Source: BIBD

In its annual report for 2018, BIBD said it will continue to invest resources into digital banking expertise and human capital development.

“The security of our BIBD NEXGEN digital ecosystem, especially for customers, is of utmost importance,” said Mubashar.

Since 2014, BIBD has seen close to 400 percent growth in digital banking transactions — the BIBD NEXGEN mobile app has recorded more than 143,000 users with an average 23 logins per customer.

In a statement published in the annual report, the Second Minister of Finance and Economy, YB Dato Seri Paduka Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah, said that while the bank is conscious of the advantages of fintech ecosystems, it remains “prudent with our investments that go into these technologies”, ensuring there is adequate framework and governance to protect customers.

He added that 2018 presented its own set of economic challenges, which have impacted the financial industry.

“While Brunei has the financial buffer to soften the impact of weak oil prices, the country continues to initiate efforts to diversify and create new economic streams.

“The banking sector in Brunei has been able to continue exhibiting strong capitalisation and liquidity despite pressure on asset quality,” he said.

YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin, who is also chairman of BIBD, said the bank ranked ninth out of 131 countries for best performing Islamic finance markets, according to data published in the Thomson Reuters Islamic Finance Development Report 2018.

BIBD was formed in 2005 through the merger of Islamic Bank of Brunei and Islamic Development Bank of Brunei. Its main shareholders are Brunei’s Ministry of Finance, the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation, Fajr Capital Limited, and approximately 6,000 individual Bruneian investors.