In the prevailing economic situation, banks will require to maintain steady growth in loan book and deposit mobilisation, says Abdul Razak Ali Issa, Chief Executive, Bank Muscat
How is Oman’s banking sector going to shape up in 2018?
The banking sector will continue to play a key role in activating and shaping the economic future of Oman. To achieve the objective of economic diversification defined as part of Oman’s National Programme for Enhancing Economic Diversification – Tanfeedh, banks will have ample opportunities to be associated with development projects, especially in five potential sectors identified by the government – manufacturing, transport and logistics, tourism, fisheries and mining. The Omani banking sector has adequate liquidity and financial strength to continue supporting economic diversification and development projects, which will positively contribute to the economy in the coming years.
What is Bank Muscat’s outlook for 2018?
The Sultanate’s 9th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) focusing on economic diversification provides room for the private sector to participate in major infrastructure projects across the country. In the coming period, the bank’s focus will continue on maintaining performance momentum while simultaneously evaluating growth opportunities in key regional markets.
Can you share a few highlights of the year 2017 for Bank Muscat? What were the main challenges? And what were the factors that helped the bank do well?
Bank Muscat maintains leadership with a 38 per cent market share of assets. The bank posted a net profit of RO130.26mn for the nine months ended 30 September 2017. The bank successfully closed an Additional Equity Tier (AET) 1 Capital transaction of RO130mn to support business growth. The bank signed an agreement with Majid Al Futtaim Properties as exclusive financing facility provider to develop the Mall of Oman project, set to open in 2020 as the largest shopping mall in Oman. Within four years of operations, Meethaq Islamic Banking consolidated its leadership position and crossed RO1bn in assets.
Reaffirming commitment to sustainable development, the bank joined hands with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to provide the necessary know-how and tools on green home financing as part of efforts to promote energy efficient green buildings in the country. The bank also kicked off a series of environmental awareness workshops for students to highlight energy saving initiatives. The main challenge faced by the bank was maintaining credit growth and deposit mobilization.
What are the new initiatives/ areas that Bank Muscat plans to foray into in 2018?
During the past 35 years since its inception in 1982, Bank Muscat has been closely associated with the progressive march of the nation in all realms. Meeting the requirements of a young, tech-savvy generation, Bank Muscat is migrating customers from the more conventional branch channel to alternate channels, especially online and mobile banking platforms. Accommodating all customer segments, the bank provides an unrivalled experience with the right mix of traditional and electronic banking channels. The alternate banking channels reiterate the focus and commitment of Bank Muscat in adding value and engaging customers through their preferred electronic banking channels.
Please share your thoughts on the macro-economic situation and what in your opinion will be the big trends of 2018 in Oman and globally?
In the prevailing economic situation, banks will require to maintain steady growth in loan book and deposit mobilisation. With customers seeking greater convenience and freedom created by technology, banks will need to enhance innovative technology-based banking channels to optimise services.