Bank AlJazira (BAJ) is a Joint Stock Company incorporated in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and formed pursuant to Royal Decree No. 46/M dated Jumad Al-Thani 12, 1395H (i.e. June 21, 1975). BAJ commenced its business on Shawwal 16, 1396H (i.e. October 9, 1976) with the takeover of The National Bank of Pakistan's (NBP) branches in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and operates under commercial registration No. 4030010523 dated Rajab 29, 1396H (i.e. July 27, 1976) issued in Jeddah.
BAJ is recognized as one of the leading Shari'ah compliant fast growing financial institutions in Saudi Arabia, client-driven and service-oriented Saudi Financial Group which provides individuals, businesses and institutions with innovative Shari'ah compliant financial services through professional and dedicated staff.
BAJ began a restructuring process in 1992 with subsequent increases in capital in 1992 and 1994. The increased capital has come entirely from the Saudi shareholders, which resulted in significantly diluting NBP's shareholding.
A new management team was appointed in 1993 to continue the restructuring effort. BAJ successfully introduced state of the art technology, modern banking products and services and revamped its staffing portfolio. As a result, the bank became profitable in 1997.
In 1998, BAJ's Board of Directors took a strategic decision to convert the Bank from conventional banking into Shari'ah-compliant banking. This is the greatest challenge that any traditional bank can take as it requires mass changes to its infrastructure, offerings, legal environment, staff potentials, corporate values, etc.
To ensure compliance with Shari'ah principles, BAJ established a Shari'ah department within its organic structure and formed a Shari'ah Advisory Board (SAB) composed of a number of scholars specialized in Islamic Banking to screen, monitor and endorse Bank's operations and spread-wide the Shari'ah principles throughout the working environment. The SAB includes Sheikh Abdulla Bin Suleiman Al-Mane'e as the SAB Chairman, Dr. Mohammed Bin Said Al-Ghamdi as the SAB Rappoteur, with the memberships of Dr. Abdulla Bin Mohammed Al-Mutlaq, Dr. Hamza Bin Hussain Al-Feir, Dr. Mohammed Ali Al-Guari, and Dr. Abdulsatter Abu-Ghudah.
BAJ with its consistent endeavors succeeded in turning all its branches in 2002 to operate as per Shari'ah rules and principles.
BAJ started then to cultivate the results of its strategic conversion into Shari'ah-compliant banking and service excellence approach, and achieved progressive growth, remarkable market image and presence, which was mainly due to its continuing efforts to improve.
In 2006, BAJ launched its program " Khair Aljazira Le Ahl Aljazira " with 100 million SR fund in support of BAJ's social responsibility towards the community. Since then, BAJ has been implementing a range of activities designed to support the community. BAJ has been providing financial assistance to various charitable societies, launching apprenticeship programs to train young Saudi men and women; thus providing them with working opportunities, and sponsoring programs to train the handicapped, blind and deaf. Through many programs, BAJ successfully promoted family welfare by sponsoring a huge number of productive family projects and cultural events.
In 2007, BAJ witnessed its full conversion into a Shari'ah-compliant institution and simultaneously increased its paid up capital to become SR 3 Billion which came entirely from the Bank's profits.
To take the Bank to the next level of development, BAJ's management has embarked on an ambitious transformation plan called AFAQ2012 by the end of 2008. The objective of this four-year strategic plan is to transform the bank into a “multi-specialist” Shari'ah compliant bank through a set of identified strategic initiatives and enablers, involving every single business and support line by the end of 2012.
2009 could best be described as a year for building a foundation for BAJ's future growth and diversification of its offerings, a period in which great progress was made in equipping the Bank and its employees with the capabilities to take full advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead.
Notable among such remarkable achievements was the doubling of BAJ's retail network in 2009 from 24 branches to 48, resulting in attracting new customers and serving the existing ones better through its expansion to new areas throughout the Kingdom. Within its ATM network re-structuring effort, BAJ relocated some ATMs to other locations though which better service would be offered to its clients. Also, all BAJ's delivery channels were significantly enhanced including BAJ's online banking, telephone banking, and credit card offerings.
In promoting its image as a multi-specialist Shari’ah-compliant Bank, BAJ has been able to effectively communicate its new market positioning and comprehensive range of products and services. Among these is BAJ's ‘Mortgage Factory’, so named because of the speed and efficiency with which applications are processed – giving BAJ a distinct market edge.
To better serve corporate customers, BAJ has set up Corporate Regional Offices in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam to provide a one-stop service with a dedicated team of experts and a full range of products. Cash Management and Trade Finance are new established areas within corporate business.
Moreover, Aljazira Capital (AJC), the investment arm of BAJ, continued to strengthen its brokerage offerings through the introduction of other tradable securities, enhancing its award-winning TadawulCom platform to offer online trading across multiple regional and international markets. AJC also reinstated its sell-side research capacity by introducing a best-of-breed array of economic, technical, company, and sector reports. AJC has maintained its market leadership position in the Saudi share trading market over the last seven years.
BAJ was the first banking institution in Saudi Arabia to introduce Takaful Ta'awuni (TT) in 2002 as a full-fledged Shari'ah-compliant alternative solution for the traditional life insurance. Since then, TT proved itself as a market leader and has been growing fast to satisfy clients' needs. TT underwent dynamic improvements in infrastructure, offerings, and resources.
In 2009, TT was again awarded the “Life Insurer of the Year” award by the Middle East Insurance (Insurex) for the 3rd consecutive year, adding to the great number of awards the organization has been awarded from various international and local bodies.
As the first bank in Saudi Arabia, BAJ started in 2009 the implementation process of the ISO certification program on its operations to ensure adoption of best practices on the services provided to its external and internal clients. Since then, a number of its operational areas have received certification and all efforts are on-going to ensure all the other operational areas will be ISO certified by the mid of 2010. BAJ, within this endeavor, is looking forward to enhancing the level of confidence and trust of its customers.
On the people front, BAJ invested heavily in its human capital and thus its organic resources' potentials have been growing to match with the dynamic development of the Bank's offerings, channels and infrastructure. Through a series of initiatives, BAJ is proud of having a world-class HR management characterized by a well-set performance development and review system, key performance indicators, motivation program, and structured/specialized training programs. BAJ has been maintaining an efficient working environment with long-term recruitment and retention programs led to uplifting the Saudization factor from 23% in 1994 to 87% by the end of 2009.
Throughout its path of success, BAJ received several awards. Some of these remarkable awards are as follows:
- Saudi Investment Award for BAJ's Japanese Share Fund "Mashariq", 2004
- Islamic Finance Magazine Award for Best Takaful Ta'awuni Provider, 2004
- Internet International Union Award for BAJ's Tadawulcom Site "Local Share Trading Portal" Design, 2005
- Euromoney Islamic Finance Award for Best Takaful Ta'awuni Provider, 2006
- Policy Middle East Life Insurance Award for Best Takaful Ta'awuni Provider, 2007
- Kleef Islamic Finance Policy Award for Best Takaful Ta'awuni Provider, 2007
- Middle East Electronic Banking Award, 2007
- Euromoney Project Year Award for Best Finance Deal, 2007
- Digital Excellence Award from the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology for BAJ's Tadawulcom Site "Local Share Trading Portal", 2007
- Euromoney Award for Best Takaful Ta'awuni Provider, 2008
- Policy Middle East Life Insurance Award for Best Takaful Ta'awuni Provider, 2008
- ISO (9001) Certification for BAJ as the First Bank Obtaining the ISO Certification on its Trade Operations and ATM Operations, 2009