Rashad al Musafir, Acting CEO, Oman Arab Bank says that bank’s performance in 2017 was the result of a carefully crafted business plan and the quality of its assets
How was Oman Arab Bank’s financial performance in 2017?
Oman Arab Bank maintained a strong performance over the course of 2017 with our net profit increasing by eight per cent year-on-year, reaching RO26.5mn by the end of 2017, compared to RO24.5mn reported in 2016. Net interest income increased by 11 per cent to reach RO56mn. Loans and advances increased by 3.7 per cent to reach RO1.65bn, together with a seven per cent increase in customer deposits which reached RO1.75bn. The bank’s total assets increased by 3.5 per cent, reaching RO2.14bn by the end of 2017. The Capital adequacy ratio was 15.69 per cent, well above the regulatory requirement of 13.250 per cent, while the return on equity was 10 per cent. This strong result was in no small part due to the quality of our assets and our carefully crafted business plan, which was approved by the Board of Directors earlier in the year.
Can you share some of your notable achievements last year? Can you talk about the measures to enhance retailing, ATM and CDM networks of the bank?
Oman Arab Bank continued its digital transformation strategy which started a few years ago. It succeeded in completing several critical phases last year following its success in launching its smartphone application, online banking platform, smart bank cards, e-payment gateway, e-commerce platform, an electronic system for cash management, and another for cheque processing, as well as the Robotic Process Automation System, the first of its kind in the Omani banking sector. These achievements have been accompanied by a promising plan to update the branches with an enhanced brand identity that will strengthen the bank’s brand presence. The bank has updated six of its branches over the course of 2017, with expectations of transforming eight more branches this year.
Over the past year, the bank also finalised its comprehensive strategy to enhance customer care to entirely new levels in line with its future objectives. This strategy came into effect in January this year. It included the appointment of a Customer Care Manager in each branch who is in charge of following-up on customer services and on the feedback received, both positive and negative. Furthermore, there is contact system in place that allows the customers to contact the management to share their opinions and suggestions. Customers will be notified within 24 hours when their message has been received and corresponding action will be taken to find solutions to address any issues or queries.
What do you attribute your current success to?
Our performance in 2017 was in no small part due to the quality of the bank’s assets and its carefully crafted business plan. We primarily focused on completing the implementation of our transformation strategy, shifting the bank’s focus from its traditional commercial banking roots to become a modern bank; one that utilises an advanced digital banking platform, enabling it to compete at the highest level and become a leading bank in the sector.
Furthermore, we managed to do so whilst enhancing our asset quality, strengthening its financial position, and increasing productivity for the years ahead. Furthermore, the bank worked towards advancing its risk management infrastructure in order to reduce high-risk transactions; the results of which have been very positive. The bank also strengthened its compliance with laws, regulations, and instructions issued by the competent authorities and the Central Bank of Oman, as well as the principles of the Basel III agreement.
Could you provide us with a brief overview of your CSR activities?
Oman Arab Bank has always maintained close bonds with society, understanding its responsibility to both serve the communities in which it operates and the nation as a whole. In line with this philosophy, OAB has supported as well as organised a number of charitable and community-oriented initiatives and events over the course of 2017. These included beach clean ups, community event sponsorships, staff-community engagements, a staff blood donation drive, and more.
How was the performance of the bank’s Islamic banking window during the year?
‘Al Yusr’ broke even and was able to end the year 2017 with a profit, which is a good indicator of the significant growth expected from this window in the near future.
What were the major HR and Omanisation initiatives taken by the Bank?
OAB believes that its employees are its greatest asset. It therefore, continued to work towards developing its staff, attracting local competencies and enhancing the skills of its teams in each of its various branches, through programmes specially designed for OAB. In fact, last year alone 947 employees participated in various training courses specifically designed to match their area of specialisation. The bank also recorded a remarkable milestone of 96 per cent Omanisation of jobs at all levels, making it a leading bank in the country with regards to Omanisation.
Please share your views on your outlook for 2018?
Looking ahead, we expect 2018 to be another eventful year where we will continue in our efforts to reaffirm the bank’s position as a leading Omani banking institution whilst continuing to enhance our client’s banking experiences for the better.