The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the largest Kuwaiti bank and the highest-rated in the Middle East, reported net profits of USD 819 million (KD 225.6 million) for the first nine months of 2011 compared with USD 815 million (KD 224.5) for the same period of last year. As at the end of September 2011, NBK Group\'\'s total assets stood at USD 47.6 billion (KD 13.1 billion), up five percent compared to September 2010, while total shareholders\'\' equity rose by 13.9% to USD 8.2 billion (KD 2.3 billion) over the same period. NBK Group\'\'s net operating income grew by 7.0% year over year (YoY) reaching USD 1,453 million (KD 400.4 million). Asset quality indicators remained exceptionally strong by regional and international standards with NPLs/Gross loans ratio dropping to 1.59% and coverage ratio reaching 226% as of end of September 2011. Ibrahim Dabdoub, NBK\'\'s Group Chief Executive, said \"NBK\'\'s ability to maintain its strong performance despite the global financial crisis and the weakening business environment in the region and the ongoing pressures on the global economy confirms the success of the bank\'\'s conservative strategy focusing on its core banking operations.\" \"NBK\'\'s regional plans remain generally intact. We have tightened our levels of control and risk management in light of the ongoing operating challenges in the Arab world. Nevertheless, we remain optimistic about our regional expansion strategy in the long run,\" Dabdoub added. Dabdoub also highlighted that NBK\'\'s prudent culture, along with its clear strategic vision, helped the bank maintain its strong financial position through different crises and earned it international recognition, the latest being the \"Best Bank in the Middle East\" award for 2011 from both Euromoney and Global Finance. NBK continues to enjoy the widest banking presence in Kuwait with 69 branches, which together with its growing international presence totals 177 branches worldwide. NBK\'\'s international presence spans many of the world\'\'s leading financial centers including London, Paris, Geneva, New York, Singapore, and China (Shanghai). Regional coverage extends to Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Turkey. NBK continues to enjoy collectively the highest ratings among all banks in the Middle East from the three rating agencies Moody\'\'s, Fitch Ratings and Standard and Poor\'\'s. The Bank\'\'s ratings are supported by its high capitalization, prudent lending policies, and its disciplined approach to risk management, in addition to its recognized and very stable management team.