Bahrain retail banking poised for good growth
Manama, May 1, 2012
Bahrain's retail banking sector is poised for good growth this year, having posted a profit increase of between 2.5 per cent and 3.5 per cent in the first quarter, bankers said.
Most banks have achieved profits of 3 to 4 per cent, while some have posted exceptional growth of above 10 per cent, said Bahrain Association of Banks (BAB) chairman Abdulkarim Bucheery during a round-table with journalists.
'If this is an indication of the year ahead, hopefully 2012 will be a better year than the previous one,' he said.
The banking and finance sector in Bahrain accounted for 26 per cent of the kingdom's gross domestic product, while it had a workforce of 14,342, he said. As much as 66 per cent of the employees are Bahrainis, he added.
Bucheery said while the consumer finance sector had shown growth, the corporate sector remained sluggish, awaiting the launch of major projects in the kingdom.
Several key projects are in the pipeline, especially in the infrastructure sector, and the banks are looking forward to participate in them, he said.
He said the non-performing loans in the kingdom were under control and comparable to any other market.
On the continuing disturbances in the kingdom, he said operations of some banks on the Budaiya road had been affected due to vandalism. The kingdom's law enforcing authorities are dealing with the situation.
Standard Chartered Bahrain chief executive Hassan Jarrar said that the effects of the 2008 financial crisis had hit all the banks and that it would take some time for a full recovery but there were already signs of a pick-up.
BAB chief executive Robert Ainey said that the organisation will host a reception at this year's IMF World Bank conference in Tokyo and about 400 delegates are expected to attend the event, which will showcase Bahrain's financial sector on the world stage. – TradeArabia News Service