This chapter includes the following articles.
Bahrain’s reputation as a regional financial centre rests in part on the early flourishing of its banking industry. The country’s first modern bank was established nearly 100 years ago following an agreement between the kingdom’s ruler at the time, Sheikh Isa bin Ali Al Khalifa, and the UK-owned and Indian-headquartered Oriental Bank. As Bahrain’s banking sector completes its third full year of operation in a lower oil price environment, profitability and asset growth in the industry has turned flat. However, thanks to a robust regulatory framework there has been no significant deterioration in asset quality, and there is sufficient liquidity in the system to allow banks to pursue lending opportunities. The sector has also seen some interesting regulatory changes over the past year, aimed at maintaining the kingdom’s position as a regional leader.
This chapter contains an interview with Jean-Christophe Durand, CEO, National Bank of Bahrain.