National Bank of Oman (NBO) held its Annual General Meeting and Extra Ordinary General meeting this week. Conducted online following social distancing protocols and in line with the directives of the Supreme Committee for dealing with the Coronavirus, the meeting was attended by the board members, senior management and shareholders.
Included in the agenda was the announcement of the distribution of 17% cash dividends for the year ended December 31, 2019. The bank recorded a net profit of RO51.4 million compared with RO50.6 million for the same period last year, showing an increase of 1.6%.
Sayyid Wasfi bin Jamshid Al Said, Acting CEO, NBO, said, “Against a backdrop of global economic volatility and low oil prices, we have been pleased with the quality of our growth. Moreover, the roughly 8% per annum growth in net profit we have delivered over the last two years is pleasing and reflects our cautious approach to the market, diversified portfolio and focus on investing in our people and in our digital capabilities. This year we are confronted with a whole new set of challenges due to the current pandemic, nevertheless our priorities remain the same. We are committed to supporting our community, which was recently manifested through our RO One Million relief initiative to help the government and our healthcare services combat the outbreak. Meanwhile, we expect our approach will continue to be rewarded over the medium to long term and are focused on remaining agile so that we can continue to deliver a strong performance with high returns for shareholders which is a result of superior service delivery to our customers and opportunity creation for our people.”
NBO is well capitalized, which positions the bank to grow its balance sheet whilst maintaining sound capital buffers. The bank’s capital adequacy ratio as at December 2019 stood at 16.6%, against the regulatory requirement of 13.5%. Net loans and advances to customers as of 31st December 2019 were at RO2.8 billion, showing a very marginal reduction over the last year, while customer deposits were at RO2.53 billion, showing an increase of 3.2%. In terms of deposit mix, the bank continues to maintain a healthy 58% low cost deposits.
In addition to the financial results, the bank’s shareholders also elected a new Board of Directors for a period of three years. Sayyidah Rawan bint Ahmed Al Said has announced she is stepping down as Chairperson. Having held the role since 2017, she is credited with driving the bank’s ambitious strategy and has been a strong advocate for innovation and digitisation, while developing relationships with the private and public sector, and fostering a market-leading workforce with a focus on women empowerment.
Sayyidah Rawan bint Ahmed Al Said, stated, “It has been a pleasure to be part of NBO since 2005. I would like to thank our valued customers for their unwavering support, and also the bank’s management team and staff, whose energy and values make it the market leader it is today. NBO is at the forefront of areas like service excellence and technology, and it’s down to a strong commitment to innovation and the courage to break boundaries. This past year alone we have achieved several important and exciting milestones in the world of banking, and I am certain there will be many more to come.”
Amal Suhail Bahwan has been elected as the Chairperson of NBO. The new board includes Sheikh Abdulla Al Thani as Deputy Chairperson, Hamad Al Wahaibi, Najat Al Lawatia, Ghassan Al Hashar, Mohammed Ismail Mandani, Fahad Badar, Rahul Kar, Joseph Abraham, Said Al Habsi and Dr. Ghazi Al Alawi.
New Chairperson, Amal Suhail Bahwan, stated, “I want to thank my predecessor, Sayyidah Rawan bint Ahmed Al Said, for her contributions to the bank, and I look forward to building on the remarkable precedence she has set along with the board and senior management team, as we continue to drive the business into the future.”
Rounding off a busy and exciting year, the bank achieved several cutting-edge initiatives, pioneering digital disruption in the Sultanate and providing its customers with the best in modern banking. It also led a range of programmes supporting social development, with a strong focus on youth and fostering entrepreneurship. Looking forward, NBO is continuing to work on its commitment to being the ‘bank of choice’, to supporting the Sultanate, particularly as it works to overcome COVID-19, while driving its strategic goals in alignment with the wider vision for the Sultanate’s sustainable prosperity.