Banking & IFS
From The Report: Oman 2018
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Oman’s banking sector appears to have ridden out recent economic headwinds largely unscathed. While concerns over liquidity arose in the wake of the oil price slump due to the government’s status as an important depositor, the situation improved in 2017 as the Omani state borrowed from abroad to avoid withdrawing funds or pushing up funding costs through heavy local borrowing. The sector is top heavy, with the leading bank by assets much bigger than its nearest competitors, which has given rise to talk of consolidation. This has yet to happen, though, with plans for two institutions to join forces recently called off. However, the non-bank lending segment saw a merger in 2017. The burgeoning sharia-compliant banking industry, meanwhile, after encountering some growing pains from the outset, is expanding rapidly and moving towards sustained profitability. This chapter contains an interview with Tahir Salim Al Amri, Executive President, Central Bank of Oman; Abdul Razak Ali Issa, CEO, Bank Muscat; and Khalid Al Kayed, CEO, Bank Nizwa.