Safest Banks In Kuwait

Global Finance’s Safest Bank rankings, published annually in November, assess the fiscal health and stability of the largest 1,000 banks in the world. Where do Kuwait’s banks rank? Overall, sound, with eight banks holding 13 places across our various Safest Bank lists.

Kuwait is one of the richest countries in the world. The country’s banks are under the supervision of the Kuwait Central Bank and provide both Islamic and conventional banking services to businesses and consumers. Since 1968, foreign banks have operated in Kuwait.

The government is a constitutional, hereditary emirate with an economy based on the oil and gas industry. Kuwait has been slow to diversify its economy as oil and gas continues to provide more than 90% of the country’s exports and revenue. Also, the country has a generous welfare system, with about 80% of public spending allocated to civil service wages and subsidies.

To boost Kuwait’s economy, at the start of 2024, Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem, the new prime minister, presented a plan for fiscal and economic overhauls to Parliament that would transform the country and allow for a more diverse banking system. Among the measures, the plan would end the monopoly enjoyed by Kuwait Credit Bank and allow commercial banks into the market for property loans. As of publication, the reception of this plan is unknown.

Because of the country’s strong fiscal and external balance sheets, ratings agencies have assigned investment-grade sovereign ratings to Kuwait: A+ from S&P, AA– from Fitch and A1 from Moody’s.

Our proprietary algorithm scores each bank based on its ratings from top global agencies—Fitch, Moody’s, S&P—to identify the safest banks out of the 1,000 largest banks worldwide. Key rankings include Safest Commercial Banks, Safest Emerging Markets Banks, Safest Islamic Banks, and Safest Banks in individual countries and in particular regions. Bank ratings data are valid as of August 2023. Global Finance’s scores for the eight Kuwaiti banks ranged from 8.5 to 17. Ratings were valid as of August 2023.

National Bank Of Kuwait

The National Bank of Kuwait is the country’s Safest Bank and the fourth Safest Bank in the Middle East. As one of Kuwait’s largest banks with approximately $119 billion USD in assets, it also ranks 54th among the Safest Commercial Banks worldwide and 17th among the Safest Emerging Market Banks. NBK is the first indigenous bank in the entire Arabian Gulf region and today has 138 branches, subsidiaries and representative offices in 13 countries, seven of which are in the Middle East.

Boubyan Bank

Boubyan Bank is the second Safest Islamic Bank in the Middle East and ranked 30th among the Safest Emerging Market Banks and 94th among the Safest Commercial Banks worldwide. The bank has about $26 billion USD in assets and provides retail banking, corporate banking and wealth management services. The bank is part of the Boubyan Group with four other subsidiaries that provide investment and asset management, real estate services, insurance, and banking. Boubyan Bank’s shares are publicly traded on Boursa Kuwait, with the National Bank of Kuwait as the majority shareholder.

Kuwait Finance House

Kuwait’s first Islamic bank, Kuwait Finance House, is one of the region’s top Islamic banks and ranked 35th among the Safest Emerging Market Banks and 113th among the Safest Commercial Banks worldwide. This past February, KFH completed the largest merger within Kuwait’s banking sector by purchasing Bahrain-based Ahli United Bank for $11.6 billion. Ahli United Bank was also one of the region’s top Islamic banks and ranked 44th among the Safest Emerging Market Banks and 127th among the Safest Commercial Banks worldwide. The newly merged institution will support economic diversity and Kuwait’s development plans. The largest shareholders of Kuwait Finance House include the Kuwait Investment Authority sovereign wealth fund, Kuwait Awqaf Public Foundation, Public Authority for Minors’ Affairs, and the Public Institution for Social Security public pension fund.

Al Ahli Bank Of Kuwait

With about $21 billion USD in assets, Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait has branches in Kuwait, Egypt and the UAE. The bank is owned in part by The Public Institution for Social Security of Kuwait and the Kuwait Investment Authority.

Gulf Bank Of Kuwait

Gulf Bank of Kuwait is one of the country’s largest banks, with about $22 billion USD in assets. The bank provides consumer banking, wholesale banking, treasury and financial services.

The Commercial Bank Of Kuwait

The Commercial Bank of Kuwait is the second oldest bank in Kuwait. With about $14 billion USD in assets, the bank was one of the first financial institutions to offer Sharia-compliant financial services.

Warba Bank

Warba Bank is one of the region’s top Islamic banks, with about $14 billion USD in assets. Established in 2010, the bank’s major shareholders include the Kuwait Investment Authority, Al Sayer Group Holding Company, Abdullah Saleh Abdullah Al Shalfan, and Public Institution for Social Security.

For more Kuwait economic statistics and analysis, click here to read Global Finance’s country report page.