BankDhofar of Oman has also been a leader in terms of product innovation and creative solutions
July 22, 2015 : How has the Sultanate been doing with efforts to diversify its oil-dependent economy? As part of ‘Oman Vision 2020’, there are concerted efforts to diversify the economy and reduce the dependency on oil. The specific 5-year plans carry the building blocks for achieving this vision through various national developmental projects like free-trade zones, building strong infrastructure and eco-system to support tourism growth, revamping the SME sector and encouraging new business ventures and investment opportunities across the country. Both government and private sector organisations are working together to achieve this vision, and their collaborative efforts are evident in the growing economy and vibrant Omani-owned businesses.
What changes did the bank make to its working style once the decision to diversify was taken?
We at BankDhofar believe in our role as a leading financial organisation and a major contributor to the diversification and development of the national economy. We place high importance on project finance and syndication loans in order to support different projects that take place nationwide. We introduced new products and services to the market to suit the needs and fulfil the requirements of different sectors. BankDhofar has also been a leader in terms of product innovation and creative solutions.
What products does the bank have for the SME sector and foreign investors?
For foreign investors, BankDhofar recently made the successful debut issue of Tier 1 Basel III Compliant Perpetual Bonds of $300 million in the international market. This is the first such issue from Oman. BankDhofar has also announced that it would issue senior debt up to $500 million in the international market.
As a key player in the Omani private sector and being a major contributor in driving the development and growth of the national economy, BankDhofar was one of the first banks to introduce SME related solutions, products and services. Despite the fact that the “SME” term is relatively new to the Omani market, BankDhofar has been working for years to nurture and promote good business ideas generated in this sector, providing financial solutions and strategic guidance to entrepreneurs under its Corporate Banking umbrella. In the past few years, we adopted several strategic initiatives to further cement our stronghold in the market and cater to all businesses from large corporates to SMEs, providing a full array of banking products, quick turn-around time, improved cash management & competitive service charges. We at BankDhofar are very proud to be one of the leaders among the private sector organisations in terms of providing SME related exclusive banking products and services, advisory and mentorship, and now the flagship Entrepreneur Account that is available in all our branches across the Sultanate. The Entrepreneur Account is designed to provide the best banking experience that is tailor-made to suit the diverse needs and requirements of SME customers and ambitious entrepreneurs in all business areas. In recognition of our efforts in this sector, BankDhofar has been named ‘Best SME Bank Oman 2015’ by Global Banking & Finance Review, and has been awarded the ‘SME Bank of the Year – Oman’ award at the ABF Retail Banking Awards 2015.
Does the bank have a facility to help foreign investors understand local rules and regulations?
BankDhofar responds to foreign investors queries on local rules and regulations as they arise and we also make sure that we implement and follow all rules and regulations as stipulated by the Central Bank of Oman (CBO). I would like to take this opportunity to invite interested foreign investors to consider doing business in Oman, and we are very delighted to facilitate that and support all initiatives that would positively contribute to the growth and development of the Omani economy, as well as pave the way for foreign investment to set up and grow in all sectors across the country.
Why should new investors work with BankDhofar?
Oman offers a good investment opportunity for new foreign investors as part of geographical diversification of their investment portfolio. As for BankDhofar in particular, the bank enjoys BBB+ rating by Fitch and A3 rating by Moody’s supported by strong financial stability, continued successful performance with good asset quality. When you look at the numbers, you can see the how the performance of BankDhofar is constantly improving. Our net profit for the year 2014 was OMR 40.45 million, showing an increase of 14.23% year-on-year. Our financial results for H1 this year were impressive and we witnessed a sustained annual growth of 10.35% (initial un-audited financial results) for the 6–month period ended 30th June 2015. Our data also show a remarkable growth in all areas in both Islamic and the conventional banking areas. We have seen a steady growth in all business areas, including net loans, advances and financing to customers, customer deposits, net interest and financing income, as well as non-interest and non-financing income such as fees and commission, foreign exchange profit, investment and other income.
Our vision is to be the best bank in the region in terms of customers’ experience. We understand our customers’ needs and requirements, and we set the standards for the best customer experience within the banking industry in the Sultanate through creative solutions and innovation. We apply cutting-edge technology and keep introducing state-of-the-art banking solutions, and we oversee current market trends and expected developments in the future, and we use that to stay ahead in all the services and products we provide.