Abdul Hakeem Al Ojaili, CEO of BankDhofar, talks about the key highlights of Oman’s banking sector in 2017 and the outlook for 2018
Looking back, what were the key highlights of 2017 for the banking sector?
The banking sector faced challenges in overall credit growth triggering prudent lending strategy, due to the overall rise in interest rates and tightening liquidity conditions which resulted in slowdown of the economy.
The sector continued exercising its core business of lending with special attention to quality over quantity achieving desired margins and profitability. Given the current economic cycle and impact on the overall economy which will eventually extend its effect to the banking sector, the sector is navigating various routes and strategies for enhancing the overall business and achieve targeted growth objectives ensuring safeguarding its stakeholders’ interest.
How was your performance in 2017 and the outlook for 2018?
BankDhofar, however, strived its best to achieve positive results by focusing on diversifying its pool of income and exploring various alternatives for generating income through reducing reliance on interest income.
We have focused on a number of initiatives, giving attention to improving performance as well as enhancing customer experience. Through providing best banking experience we guarantee maintaining an ever growing loyal customer base, fostering business as well as gaining a good reputation in the market. Since our inception, we spared no effort to be the bank of choice for an ever-growing portfolio of customers in all segments. We constantly endeavour to offer a broad range of best-in-class services and state-of-the-art products. Coping with the changes in the market, BankDhofar is working on the lean operating model for the organisation which would drive the banks towards achieving its ultimate objective of building an excellent customer experience. This will be reflected in simplifying processes and speeding up processing time.
At BankDhofar, we believe that our customers, be it individuals or corporates, are the core of our business growth. Therefore we focus on providing leading products and services. We continue our commitment to offer innovative, competitive and convenient services for customers. Earlier this year, BankDhofar launched its corporate credit card and the exclusive credit cards that are customised for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Additionally, as part of its endeavour to provide easy e-payment solutions, BankDhofar signed Cards Merchant Acquiring agreement with Al-Maha Petroleum Products Marketing Company. BankDhofar’s Islamic window –Maisarah Islamic Banking Services- implemented the instant debit card issue service in line with its objective of enhancing customer experience.
On the other hand, we believe that our employees are our partners in making achievements. Therefore, BankDhofar has developed programmes and projects which fall within the “Together 2020” journey. The bank continued to innovate staff learning and development programmes across all business functions. This vision was translated in the launch of Performance Academy which will serve as a learning and development platform for BankDhofar employees across different departments and branches. We aim through this academy to provide best learning and development experience, and accordingly reap the benefits in our overall performance as well as boost the level of customers’ satisfaction.
Individual and team performance and contributions have resulted in achieving consistent overall performance which has been recognised locally, regionally and internationally winning a number of prestigious awards.