The Jordanian banking sector has once and again acted as a shield against uncertainty for the Kingdom’s economy, fortifying the nation’s resilience by maintaining high performance even amid regional and global crises. Hani Qadi, Director General of the Association of Banks in Jordan, tells us the current core strengths of the sector, as well as where he believes investors should be looking to capitalize in the broader economy.
How would you currently rate the health of banks in Jordan?
Jordanian banking has been a very well managed, capitalized and liquid sector. It has seen a lot of upheaval around it, which Jordan has been affected by. But in spite of all of that, our banks have been very resilient. It’s one of the pillars of the Jordanian economy, and even at the time of the financial crisis 2008, the sector wasn’t really impacted.
Who leads the banking sector and what unique factors back up the sector’s fundamentals?
We consider Arab Bank to be our champion: our global bank and the largest company on the stock exchange. Today, Jordanian banks have become sort of internationalized through our diaspora, which is now a major source of liquidity. Monetary and currency stability is a major factor, as well as a non-performing loan rate below 4%.
Where would you put money as an investor today in Jordan?
I think the most interesting sectors are definitely surrounding the area of energy and renewable energies because Jordan is one of the few countries in the Middle East without large indigenous energy resources. However, because we don’t have large oil reserves, this has forced us to become regional pioneers in renewables.
Where is banking industry growth at today?
Lately, it’s slowed down a little bit to the single digits. Yet, it’s amazing that, in spite of most of our borders being closed for the past five years or so, resulting in a big impact on exports and a drop in tourism, that we’re still managing to grow our economy at 2%.
Why should global investors consider investing in Jordan?
There are plenty of opportunities in Jordan to look at. It’s a safe, stable, well-managed and well-run economy. Investors should explore these opportunities, and if they’re concerned, they should look at the track record of foreign investors who are very satisfied and happy here.