I am delighted to share the financial results of Oman Arab Bank Group for the third quarter, ended, 30 September 2021.
With global economic growth relatively recovering and gradually gaining momentum, the demand for oil has witnessed a significant improvement. This has driven expectations regarding the recovery of the oil market during the current year, supported by vaccination roll-out and a decline in COVID-19 cases. As per S&P, the economic and fiscal pressures on Oman are easing, as the effects of the sharp drop in oil prices in 2020 and the COVID19 pandemic abate. S&P projects that the Sultanate’s reform program will reduce the pace of net government debt accumulation over the next 3 years and therefore have revised outlook on Oman from Stable to Positive.
In light of this improvement, economic activities in the Sultanate have begun a phase of partial recovery, in addition to the opening of border crossings and the end of the closure phase for all activities. We expect the recovery phase to take several months before we return to the previous normal state. This is supported by the high vaccination rates for both Omanis and residents at the national level, reaching around 75 percent at the end of the third quarter of this year.
The Bank has continued its efforts to support clients and employees during these challenging times while simultaneously ensuring business continuity. This was made possible through the implementation of strategic initiatives, combined with ongoing coordination with relevant stakeholders. At the beginning of September 2021, the management has decided to have employees return to work at 100% capacity in line with the directives of the supreme committee. This is post-completion of the two-dose vaccination process for all employees and their family members, aged 12 and over, with the costs being fully covered by the Bank. The Bank also continued to provide facilities to ease debt burdens, provide appropriate support and liquidity to customers
The Group posted a strong YoY growth of 17% in operating profit, which is OMR 35.6 million for the period ended 30 September 2021 compared to OMR 30.4 million for the same period in 2020. The trend in operating income is positive as the Group continued to record an increase in current quarter with the markets opening up from the restrictions of lockdown.
The Group achieved a consolidated net profit of OMR 11.3 million for the period ended 30 September 2021, a decline of 18 per cent from OMR 13.7 million for the same period in 2020 as the Bank maintained a prudent approach towards liquidity and also booked additional provisions considering the market conditions and economic downturn since quarter 2 of 2020.
Non-interest income excluding net income from Islamic financing for the period ended 30 September 2021 increased by 137 per cent to OMR 27.7 million, from OMR 11.7 million for the same period in 2020 mainly due to recognition of the insurance claim and improving business and transaction volumes.
Net interest income from conventional banking and income from Islamic financing amounted to OMR 63.6 million for the period ended 30 September 2021, a growth of 3 per cent as compared to OMR 61.7 million for the same period in 2020. The impact of higher level of liquidity and the Bank’s compliance with the Central Bank of Oman measures with regard to deferment of loan installments for individuals and companies has resulted in the lower growth.
Operating expenses for the period ended 30 September 2021, reached OMR 55.7 million, as compared to OMR 43 million for the same period in 2020, an increase of 30 per cent which is mainly due to the consolidation of expenses of nine months of Alizz Islamic Bank in 2021 however, the comparative only includes expenses for the three months period.
Net impairment for credit and other losses for the period ended 30 September 2021 was OMR 21.9 million as compared to OMR 13.7 million for the same period in 2020. This increase is on account of the additional provisions due to the impact of the pandemic and ensuing market conditions on business.
Net loans and advances including Islamic financing, for the period ended 30 September 2021, increased by 6 per cent to OMR 2,748.2 million, compared to OMR 2,596.8 million in 30 September 2020 with a higher growth in the Islamic financing.
Customer deposits stood at OMR 2,706.7 million by the end of Q3 2021, with a marginal decline of 0.1 per cent as compared to OMR 2,709.5 million as of 30 September 2020 due to changes in the normal course of business.
Alizz Islamic Bank
Alizz Islamic Bank (AIB) continued to achieve good results and profits during 2021. AIB reported a net profit of OMR 3.2 million for the period ended 30 September 2021, as compared to a net loss of OMR 0.3 million for the period ended 30 September 2020. The financing receivables grew by 11 per cent to OMR 783 million in the third quarter of 2021 from OMR 707 million as at 31 December 2020. While customer deposits amounted to OMR 837 million with a growth of 16 per cent compared to 2020 year end. The Bank is pursuing a well-defined growth strategy with the full support of its shareholders and is delivering consistent results.
During the third quarter of the year, the Bank launched its new ‘iSend’ feature for money remittance. This introduction further enhances the portfolio of innovative digital banking facilities and products provided by the Bank. The new service is a secure, fast, and easy way of sending money internationally, anywhere and at any time, through the OAB Online App. In comparison to the traditional SWIFT method, ‘iSend’ offers more convenience and value addition to customers. Moreover, the service is in line with OAB’s key strategy of enhancing financial inclusion digitally and is also underpinned by MasterCard’s proprietary remittance solution – MasterCard Send.
As part of its support for the campaign to recruit national competencies in the public and private sectors, the Bank launched a special programme for financial facilities for new employees, which includes reduced interest rates on several loan products.
In addition to its ongoing efforts towards reinforcing the retail customers experience, Oman Arab Bank also continues to support its SME customers to overcome any challenges they have faced during the current situation by providing them with many incentives and various banking facilities that are all in line with the directives of the government and the Central bank of Oman.
COVID-19 vaccination campaign for the Bank’s employees and their families
In line with its commitment to safeguarding the health and safety of its employees, the Bank has started its internal vaccination campaign. During the third quarter of 2021 OAB and Alizz Islamic Bank, undertook a vaccination drive in coordination with the Ministry of Health. This initiative was extremely well received by the employees and their families.
Sustainability and Social Responsibility
As part of its strategy to activate sustainability in various areas of business, which is based on three main pillars: environmental responsibility, community partnership and financial inclusion, the Bank continued its sustainability efforts and activities during the third quarter of the year. It started by signing a partnership agreement with Innotech to contribute to a project to provide schools all over the Sultanate with 3D printers. The programme, implemented by Innotech in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, aims to introduce 3D printing into the tenth-grade curricula in all government schools in the Sultanate. The Bank will support this pilot project by covering the costs of printers for 22 schools, one for boys and one for girls in each governorate.
The Bank also implemented many sustainable environmental initiatives such as providing containers for waste recycling in all public areas of the Bank.
As part of its role in serving the community and enhancing the capacity of the national human capital, the Bank launched recently an advanced programme to provide graduates of the colleges and banking & financial institutes with knowledge and practical skills to enhance their chances of obtaining suitable training opportunities and job rotation in the various fields in the Bank. This two-year programme comes within the framework of the Bank’s strategy to support national competencies by providing them with the practical experience necessary to achieve success in their future career., which will positively reflect on economic development plans by investing in national competencies, promoting sustainability, transferring knowledge and technologies among these competencies.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank our Government for the distinguished role it plays, especially with regard to the economy, health and society. My sincere thanks extends to Central Bank of Oman and Capital Market Authority for their continuous support to the financial sector. I would like also to thank all our shareholders, customers and employees for their continued trust and commitment to Oman Arab Bank Group. We pray to the Almighty to protect Oman, its people and its leader and to give us the strength to navigate safely through this pandemic.