Oman's banking sector achieves robust growth despite oil price slump

Banking sector in Oman has achieved a robust growth, a top-level official of the Central Bank of Oman said

23 May 2016
Muscat: Banking sector in Oman has achieved a robust growth, despite a slump in crude oil prices across the globe, a top-level official of the Central Bank of Oman said here on Monday.

"Banking industry in Oman has been a sound catalyst for the economic growth and it will continue to be so. A fall in oil price has not affected and will not affect its vital contribution," said Hamoud Sangour Al Zadjali, executive president of the Central Bank of Oman. He was delivering the keynote speech at the GCC New Age Banking Summit 2016 organised by UMS Conferences.

"In spite of falling oil price, 2015 too witnessed 8.4 per cent rise in credit and 12.6 per cent rise in core capital and reserves. Even though the total deposits registered a lesser rise at 3.41 per cent, there was no let-up in banking activities and reach," added Al Zadjali.

The strength of banking industry is reflected in professionalism, sound corporate governance and management, keeping up capital adequacy ratio, which is at high 16.5 per cent now, consistent growth in business, still maintaining a low gross non-performing loan ratio of 2.5 per cent and steady rise in profits in 2015.

Along with personal loans, it does cater to the needs of business; finance and stands fairly diversified. Banks are committed to meet the requirements of small and medium enterprises sector and they extend assistance for non-financial areas too like entrepreneurial development. Banks are diversifying the sources of funding and there is no reason to doubt banks' capacity and willingness to deploy credit and resources towards assisting and contributing to growth - even in changed environment.

It will be a matter of relevance to note at this summit that banks in Oman are spending good time, money and efforts in technological innovations; new and advanced modes of service delivery are constantly introduced.

While delivering his keynote address, Al Zadjali also stressed on the importance of new and innovative technologies in meeting the needs of new age customers and balancing them with control, risk management and compliance. "The banks in Oman are spending good time, money and efforts in technological innovations; new and advanced modes of service delivery are constantly introduced. CBO has been conveying its expectation of prudent growth meeting the needs of the society and looks forward to continued growth of banking industry consistent with real economy," he added.

Highness Sayyid Taimur bin Asad Al Said was the Guest of Honour and Hamood Sangour Al Zadjali, Executive President, Central Bank of Oman (CBO) was the chief guest and keynote speaker at the event. Bank Muscat was the Official Banking Partner and GBM was the Technology Partner for the first-of-its-kind summit in Oman. Bank Sohar and Oman Data Park were the Supporting Sponsors. Oman Air was the official Airline Partner.

While delivering his opening remarks, Asad Batla, head of consumer banking in Bank Nizwa and the chairman of the summit, said: "With the exponential growth of smartphones and new technologies, the way we do things has changed and banks have to embrace digital landscape to deliver better banking experience through better customer engagement, mobile apps, digital payments, big data analysis and partnering with external service providers."

The GCC New Age Banking Summit was a unique platform for the banking and finance professionals to discuss the new developments in global banking and debate on the focus areas for Omani banks. The event hosted a line-up of expert regional and global industry speakers from companies including IBM, Bank Muscat, Oman Data Park, Westpac Pacific Banking (Australia), GENESIS Institute (UAE), Arab National Bank (Saudi Arabia), Meethaq Islamic Bank and Takaful Oman Insurance. The deliberations helped the audience gain expert insights on disruptive technologies, global banking trends and new age customer needs, and an opportunity to network with industry peers and banking solution providers. Featuring sessions on Omani channel banking and risks and compliance, the event stressed on driving efficiency across various channels for better monetisation as well as the need to be in line with regulatory norms while embracing digitisation.

Bloomberberg Businessweek Middle East, OER, Times of Oman and Al Shabiba were the media partners for the event.

© Times of Oman 2016