Bahrain banks told not to freeze accounts after job loss

Central bank issues directive to ensure fair banking practices

  
The Central Bank of Bahrain is seen in Manama. Image for illustrative purposes.

The Central Bank of Bahrain is seen in Manama. Image for illustrative purposes.

REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

The Central Bank of Bahrain has told banks not to freeze accounts of customers in the event of a job loss or retirement.

According to the apex bank the move aims at protecting consumer interests and promoting sound and fair banking practices.

The combined assets of banks in Bahrain were estimated to be worth $19.2 billion as of December 2018, representing 5.4 times the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The new central bank directive comes as countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region face another year of slowdown, with the coronavirus outbreak threatening to hurt economies around the world.

The World Bank reported in December that Bahrain’s growth dropped 0.8 percent year-on-year in the second quarter, after posting a 2.6 percent growth rate in the first quarter of 2019.

Recruitment specialists had earlier said that, in terms of job hiring activity, the outlook for the GCC region in 2020 is optimistic, with two-thirds of employers expected to hire additional staff in the next 12 months.

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)

Cleofe.Maceda@refinitiv.com

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