Bank Sohar: Facing challenges

Sasi kumar,  CEO, Bank Sohar

Despite the economic issues due to low oil prices in 2016, Bank Sohar have shown growth customer deposits compared to other banks. 

Despite the economic issues due to low oil prices in 2016, Bank Sohar have shown growth customer deposits compared to other banks. How did the bank achieve these results?

Bank Sohar’s strong performance despite challenging market conditions can be ascribed to its incisive strategies that adopt a customer and community focused approach. Over the years, the bank has gained considerable financial strength by offering a complete lifecycle approach to all clients in the retail, corporate and growing SME sectors. We have earned customers’ trust and loyalty by not just meeting their financial requirements but by going that extra mile to exceed their expectations.

We have been able to overcome – and rise – above tough industry circumstances because our products are developed to be versatile and resilient to challenging and changing market conditions.

At the same time, we provide a comprehensive and flexible range of products and services that are innovative and adhere to the highest standards of integrity.

What are the new innovations and developments introduced by the bank?

In the first half of year 2017, the Bank introduced its highly popular, revamped Al Mumayaz

Savings Scheme 2017 and the Visa Excel Signature Card. We also extended our branch network with the opening of our Mabelah branch in order to provide quality financial services and infrastructure to our expanding customer base. Moreover, we have also expanded our ATM network with the introduction of new off-site ATMs in different regions.

The new addition in Bank Sohar network brings the total number of Bank Sohar conventional branches to 29 with five Sohar Islamic Branches and the number of ATMs to 57 across the country. In addition, the bank successfully launched its Technology Transformation Program in January this year. This program upgraded the Bank’s Core Banking System and implemented its Digitization Business Process Management Tool, in addition to 60+ Web Services that were launched on new generation Middleware.

What factors will drive growth this year? What are the challenges?

Bank Sohar witnessed a healthy growth this year, reporting a 31.24 per cent increase in net profit for the first six months of the period ending June 30th 2017 and has managed to maintain steady financial performance throughout the last two years despite challenges of a difficult market environment.

The sector, as a whole, is facing headwinds arising from the repercussions of a constrictive economic environment due to restricted trade practices, increasing interest rates, tightening liquidity resulting in significant pressure on commodity prices significantly affecting our region. Overall growth may see some regression due to the government’s commitment to austerity and challenging market conditions.

 We anticipate that monetary policy will remain tight as interest rates continue to rise. However we are also expecting growth is to accelerate in 2018 as Oman implements its plans for new economic policies and diversification out of oil and gas sectors.

Bank Sohar: Facing challenges
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