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KPMG Bahrain’s banking sector continues to grow while embracing the digital agenda

Banking sector continues to grow

The fourth edition of KPMG's GCC listed banks results report analyses the financial results of 56 listed banks from across the GCC.


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Jalil AlAali

KPMG recently released the fourth edition of its report on ‘GCC listed banks’ results’, which analyses the published results of listed commercial banks across the region for the year ended 31 December 2018. The report, titled ‘Embracing Digital’, confirms that Bahrain’s banking sector showed positive results in 2018.

Speaking about the report, Jalil Al Aali, head of Financial Services at KPMG in the Bahrain, commented that, “The banking sector in Bahrain demonstrated resilience by maintaining its annual growth in the challenging times we currently operate in. Global economic challenges, regional geopolitical tensions and volatility in oil prices have impacted growth locally and regionally. However, the banking sector in Bahrain recorded a decent credit growth of 3.8 percent in 2018. These results reflect the cumulative effect of the government actions to foster positive economic environment, improved investors’ confidence, as well as the continued focus by the sector on efficiencies to improve net profits”

Al Aali further added that, “Tightening liquidity, dynamic regulatory changes and technology disruption pose significant challenges to the banking sector. However, Central Bank of Bahrain is taking significant steps to support innovation and maintain the stability of the financial sector.”

As predicted last year, the regulatory agenda continues to evolve on local, regional and international levels, driven by global developments. Al Aali further commented that, “International Financial Reporting Standard No 9 ‘Financial Instruments’ (IFRS 9) has been on the top of the agenda for quite some time, and with the support of the Central Bank of Bahrain, all banks in Bahrain have successfully adopted the new standard on time in 2018. And with the scheduled introduction of Bahrain’s Data Protection Law in August 2019; banks need to review and upgrade their strategies and systems to better collect, process and store customers data and ensure ongoing compliance with the new law.”

Looking to the future of the financial services sector in light of the rapid technological advances we are witnessing, Al Aali commented, “In the digital era we live in, technology is no longer an added-value but a necessity. Financial institutions, which are looking to expand and grow, are no longer experimenting with fintech but rather seeking out value-driven opportunities to digitize their processes and practices. Kingdom of Bahrain is well positioned as a financial technology pioneer with the launch of Bahrain FinTech Bay in 2018 to foster innovation in the financial sectors. As a result, we have witnessed the launch of a number of go-to-market solutions and digital wallets.”

The report titled ‘GCC listed banks’ results: Embracing Digital (available here), analyzes the results of selected listed banks in the Kingdom of Bahrain, the State of Kuwait, the Sultanate of Oman, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the State of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. It summarizes bank’s results against selected key performance indicators for the year ended 31 December 2018 and compares these with the same information for the year ended 31 December 2017.  

© 2021 KPMG Fakhro, a Bahrain partnership registered with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism (MOICT), Kingdom of Bahrain and a member firm of the KPMG global organization of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a private English company limited by guarantee. All rights reserved.

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