Rashad Al Zubair


Celebrating 50 years in Oman – 2023 Board of directors report

Dear Shareholders,

On behalf of the Oman Arab Bank (OAB), it is with great pride that I reflect upon our remarkable journey spanning 50 years in Oman. This year, 2023, marks a significant milestone as we celebrate our golden jubilee. Our inception dates back to 1973, when Arab Bank commenced operations in Oman, laying the foundation for what would become a leading financial institution in the region. The establishment of OAB in 1984, through the acquisition of Arab Bank branches, was a pivotal moment in our history. Our growth trajectory continued with the strategic acquisition of all retail branches of the Omani European Bank in 1992. In 2020, a landmark year for us, we expanded our Islamic banking capabilities through the acquisition of Alizz Islamic Bank (Alizz) and subsequently became a public joint-stock company (SAOG), listed on the Muscat Securities Market.

As we navigate through the dynamic operating environment, the fiscal reforms undertaken by the Government of Oman have played a crucial role in strengthening the nation’s economy. These prudent measures, along with the favorable oil market conditions, have been recognized by esteemed financial institutions. Notably, Fitch Ratings and S&P have upgraded Oman’s sovereign credit rating to ‘BB+’ from ‘BB’, while Moody’s has elevated its rating from ‘Ba2’ to ‘Ba1’ with a ‘stable’ outlook. This is a testament to the nation’s economic resilience and growth potential.

The National Programme for Fiscal Sustainability and Financial Sector Development, launched in January 2023, is set to further bolster Oman’s financial sector. As a leading bank, OAB is poised to play a significant role in this new era of economic development. In line with Oman’s Vision 2040, we have witnessed significant growth in our business and financial performance, which underscores our commitment to contributing to the Sultanate’s economic prosperity.

Financial Performance

The Bank’s net profit after tax for 2023 was OMR 20.6 million, a 27% increase from OMR 16.2 million in 2022, thanks to strong core operations and improved debt recoveries. Loans and advances grew 7% to OMR 3,275 million, and customer deposits rose 12% to OMR 3,357 million, outpacing market growth and boosting market share.

Operating profit reached OMR 49.0 million, up 2.4% from OMR 47.8 million in 2022, with a 4.6% reduction in operating expenses mitigating high interest rates. Operating income was OMR 120.2 million, slightly down from OMR 122.5 million in 2022. Net interest and Islamic financing income was OMR 96.9 million, and net fees and commission income increased by 6% to OMR 18.9 million.

Operating expenses decreased to OMR 71.3 million, and net allowances for credit losses were OMR 24.7 million, reflecting better debt recovery. Oman Arab Bank and Alizz contributed a total of OMR 922,000 to Shaheen relief efforts.

Parent Company performance 

The parent company’s net profit after tax rose 17.3% to OMR 12.0 million in 2023 from OMR 10.2 million in 2022. Operating income was OMR 89.1 million, slightly down from OMR 92.7 million in 2022. Operating expenses dropped 4.2% to OMR 52.9 million. Operating profit was OMR 36.2 million, compared to OMR 37.5 million in 2022. Loans and advances to customers grew 6.5% to OMR 2,306 million, and customer deposits increased by 12% to OMR 2,344 million.

Alizz Islamic Bank Performance

Alizz Islamic Bank’s net profit after tax increased 25% to OMR 7.8 million in 2023, up from OMR 6.3 million in 2022. This growth was driven by a 7% increase in Islamic financing receivables to OMR 969 million. Customer deposits grew 12% to OMR 1,014 million.


Oman Arab Bank and our affiliate Alizz Islamic Bank received numerous awards and accolades from esteemed organizations in 2023, underscoring their excellence.

OAB was honored with the Best Online Platform in Oman at the 2022 MEA Business Awards and achieved the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) certification, highlighting its commitment to high security standards in protecting customer payment card data. Additionally, OAB’s domestic retail operations and innovative SME payment solutions were recognized at the Asian Banking & Finance (ABF) Retail Banking Awards 2023, winning in two categories: Domestic Retail Bank of the Year – Oman and SME Payment Solutions of the Year – Oman.

Alizz Islamic Bank won the ‘Excellence in Shari’a Compliant Wholesale Banking’ award at the OER Business Excellence, ‘Excellence in CSR’ at the Oman Forum 2023, ‘Best Digital Offering’ and ‘Deal of the Year’ at the Islamic Finance News Awards 2023, and Best Value Proposition for Alizz ONE at the OER Business and HR Excellence Awards. Furthermore, Alizz’s corporate website was named ‘Website of the Year 2023’ by Oman Economic Review and received the ‘Best Children Value Proposition’ award at the Muntada Al Mara’a Awards. These achievements reflect the banks’ commitment to excellence across various facets of banking and finance.


Continuing our journey of excellence and innovation, Oman Arab Bank has significantly enhanced our product and service offerings, aligning with our ambitious digital transformation strategy.

The journey began with the Oman Arab Bank Partners event, launching new electronic payment services. Notable initiatives include a competitive car financing offer during Ramadan, the introduction of the Digital Instant Loan program for loans up to OMR 25,000, and the unique opportunity for customers to digitally subscribe to Oman’s largest IPO, OQ Gas Networks. Physical banking enhancements included new flagship branches in strategic locations and collaborative ventures for competitive home financing rates for both Sultan Haitham City and at La Vie, Muscat Hills 

For younger clients, OAB introduced Child Savings Accounts with special benefits, and the Tumohi program supported SMEs with comprehensive financial solutions. Promotional campaigns, like the salary transfer campaign offering a 15% cashback and special offers for National Day, further demonstrate our commitment to improving our services.

Alizz upgraded its IT infrastructure, modernized its banking systems, and expanded its branches. The replacement of ATM/CDM machines with advanced models and the addition of a new smart/digital branch exemplify Alizz’s strides in technological advancement and customer service in 2023.


We had a notable year of strategic partnerships at OAB. The bank partnered with Oman Tourism Development Company (OMRAN) to finance the Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Muscat in Yiti Bay, reinforcing its role in supporting Oman’s economic and urban development. In September, OAB hosted the expanded second CEOs Forum in collaboration with Alizz, focusing on technological adaptation and leadership

OAB also successfully issued Subordinated Perpetual Additional Tier 1 Bonds worth OMR 40 million, oversubscribed by 60%, and listed on the Muscat Stock Exchange. The bank also engaged in a crucial roundtable with financial sector leaders to discuss the future of banking, focusing on opportunities and challenges.

Preparing for the Financial Action Task Force Assessment in 2024, OAB collaborated with Arab Bank and the Central Bank of Oman for an AML/CFT awareness session, aiming to align with international standards. And, in November, OAB initiated a Regional Roadshow, starting in Nizwa, to connect with customers nationwide, emphasizing its commitment to customer engagement and outreach.


This past year, Oman Arab Bank (OAB) made significant strides in talent development, aligning with our golden jubilee celebrations. The Ruwad Al Arabi Internship Program was launched, offering 25 graduates a year-long, paid experience across various departments, including digital banking and customer experience. Additionally, in collaboration with Harvard Business Publishing, the Ruwad Al Arabi Leadership Development Program was initiated to cultivate future leaders of the bank.

OAB’s commitment to inclusivity was recognized by the Ministry of Social Development for integrating disabled staff, in line with the ‘Be with Us for Them’ event and the Ministry’s First Forum for People with Disabilities. Further, the bank achieved the Gold level status as an ACCA Approved Employer, emphasizing its dedication to staff skill and competency development.

Leadership appointments this year included Sulaiman Al Harthi as the new CEO, bringing over three decades of banking expertise, and Khalid Al Amri as the Acting Head of Retail Banking. The appointments of Asila Al Mashari and Zahra Abdulamir in senior roles underscored our commitment to promoting women in leadership.

Alizz Islamic Bank, in collaboration with Harvard Management Mentor, advanced its Ruwad Alizz program to develop mid-level leaders, training 60 delegates, including 14 from the bank.


Our annual program filled with socially responsible events kicked off with a culinary event in April, supporting children with cancer through food sales. In May, OAB partnered with Oman France Amitié (OFA) for a business conference on Omani-French opportunities in the fisheries sector, focusing on the Duqm Multi-Purpose Port Project.

During Ramadan, OAB organized social activities such as visiting cancer patients at Muscat’s Royal Hospital, collaborating with Al Rahma Association to support over 400 orphans in Al Khoudh, and hosting a Qaranqasho celebration and Eid fair involving three non-profits. Post-Ramadan, the bank supported a breast cancer awareness campaign.

OAB and Alizz Islamic Bank both co-hosted the Dakhiliyah Governorate Investment Forum and collaborating with the Oman Academy for SMEs for a leadership forum featuring former Irish Prime Minister Enda Kelly. For younger children, OAB focused on youth engagement with initiatives like “Bring Your Kids to Work,” an educational Kids Branch event, and the LaunchPad initiative for career development workshops. In line with Omani Tree Day, OAB also pledged to plant 5,000 trees representing its 50th anniversary. 

Alizz Islamic Bank launched ‘Alizz Cares,’ partnering with organizations for sustainable initiatives, including children-focused conferences, development programs with the Al Noor Association, school renovations under the Tamkeen Project, and promoting Arabic literature with Bait Al Zubair.


This remarkable year’s achievements were made possible by the collective efforts of our dedicated colleagues and the unwavering trust of our customers. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I express our sincere gratitude to our shareholders, customers, and employees for their support. We are also thankful to the CBO, the CMA, and all Government agencies for their continuous backing of the banking sector.

I also extend my heartfelt appreciation to His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, whose vision we are committed to realizing. Looking ahead, we are excited to build upon the successes of 2023 and continue our strategic journey in 2024.

Rashad Al Zubair
Chairman of Board of Directors