BankDhofar is using state-of-the-art technology to delivers easy access to banking transactions and services on-the-go, says CEO, Abdul Hakeem Al Ojaili – CEO of BankDhofar
What were the major milestones during the year? Can you talk about the measures to enhance retailing, ATM and CDM networks of the bank?
BankDhofar continued providing value-added products and services to customers. The bank worked on enhancing existing products as well as designing, developing and implementing new products and offerings.
Delivering on its commitment to deploy the latest technologies, BankDhofar introduced NCR SelfServ 80-Series ATMs. This renovation of BankDhofar’s existing self-service network, will enable the bank to deliver next generation of self-service banking. With the introduction of the innovative NCR SelfServ 80-Series ATMs, BankDhofar has developed a robust platform to spur future growth strategies and offer next-generation customer experience. BankDhofar is proud to be the first in the country to offer this revolutionary technology that delivers intuitive and striking interfaces to access banking transactions and services on-the-go.
BankDhofar has also launched Prestige Branch at Royal Opera House, and the New Muscat International Airport branch. The Bank has also focused on customer experience through technology based solutions.
Encouraging SMEs is a major national priority. How is the bank contributing to this cause?
With the growing contribution of the Small & Medium enterprises (SME) to the development of a vibrant economy, BankDhofar has formulated strategic initiatives to participate in the further development of SMEs in the country. This is in line with the requirement to increase SMEs’ participation in Oman’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through various governmental initiatives. In tune with such national direction, the bank has a separate department headed by an assistant general manager (AGM) level official who oversees the business strategy. The SME business requirements are different and specific in nature, and credit exposure to this segment is associated with different risk characteristics. The customers in this segment needs to be serviced by skilled and experienced resources to understand their specific business needs and to provide timely and adequate credit. In this regard, dedicated business relationship managers are deployed to provide appropriate financing solutions to the entrepreneurs in SME segment.
How was the performance of the bank’s Islamic banking window during the year?
Maisarah Islamic Banking Services has posted a good growth in balance sheet during the year 2017. Total Assets have grown to RO543.28mn as at December 31, 2017 from RO450.71mn in 2016 – a growth of 20.54 per cent over the last year. Gross financing portfolio has increased by 24.47 per cent to RO387.78mn at the end of December 2017 from RO311.55mn a year ago. As compared to previous year end, Customer deposits have increased to RO376.78mn by December 2017 compared to RO285.67mn for same period last year – a growth of 31.89 per cent.
What were the major HR and Omanisation initiatives taken by the bank?
In 2017, we have focused on recruiting and retaining critical talent by providing career development opportunities, competitive rewards and recognition programmes and implementing learning and development programmes that will enable them achieve their maximum potential. The bank achieved an Omanisation level of over 92 per cent, in line with the vision of the “Together 2020” Journey, the Human Resources Division has developed and implemented various strategic projects aimed at improving staff performance, productivity, and developing talent. A key project that was implemented towards the end of 2017 was the establishment of BankDhofar Performance Academy. This world-class Performance Academy will transform learning and development capabilities and enable the bank to create a high performance and customer centric culture.
The bank continued to innovate and develop staff learning and development programmes by delivering the required learning and development programmes across all business functions. As part of its blended learning experience, the bank has developed and introduced the concept of learning simulations through the Mock Branch, providing real and practical banking experience for the employees.
How was BankDhofar’s financial performance in 2017?
Amidst the challenging Economic and financial environment, the Bank continued to grow in all key areas in 2017. The net loans, advances and financing to customers registered a growth of 8.7 per cent. To supplement the loan growth, customer deposits mobilised by the Bank achieved a growth of 6.2 per cent at the end of 2017. Total assets also registered a growth of 7.6 per cent.
This performance was translated in the accolades received by the Bank last year including; ‘OER Top 20 Omani Company’s Award’, ‘Best Bank in Oman’, Large Banks Categories 2017 from OER, ‘Best Islamic Bank in Oman’ at the EMEA Finance’s Achievement Awards 2016, ‘Best Mobile Banking Application in Oman 2016’ at the World Finance Digital Banking Awards, ‘Brand of Excellence in SME Banking Oman 2017’ by Finance Digest 2017 from Brand of Excellence Programme, ‘Brand of Excellence in E-Commerce Banking Oman 2017’ by Finance Digest 2017 Brand of Excellence Programme, and ‘GTR Best Deals of 2016’ by Global Trade Review, among other awards.
How was your retail and corporate lending during the year?
The bank continued exercising its core business of lending with special attention to volume growth and focused on enhancing quality and returns during year 2017.
What are your future plans to enhance operational efficiency?
Given the current economic conditions and impact on the overall market environment, the bank will strive to navigate various routes and strategies for enhancing the overall business and achieve targeted growth objectives ensuring safeguarding its stakeholders interest.
Please share your views on your outlook for 2018?
The government of Oman 2018 budget is projected to continue positive growth in 2018 fiscal year supported by gradually rebounding oil prices (Currently above $60/Barrel), and recent discoveries of gas reserves rising economic diversification efforts and investment initiatives. The government has taken several initiatives and it is continuously exploring various opportunities to curb the budget deficit impact through controlled expenditures, relaxing of subsidies, increasing fees and taxes, diversify sources of income in a smart approach that does not affect people’s welfare or impacting the overall economy.
We at BankDhofar will continue to support the government efforts and initiatives of diversification and encouragement of foreign direct investment into the country.