Despite the challenges, our Back-to-Basics strategy bore fruits in 2017 with BisB showing another strong year.
The year 2017 was an exceptionally turbulent year for the region on many fronts. Continued weakness in oil prices combined with the need for regional governments to maintain infrastructure and social spending put extra pressure on GCC economies with Bahrain being negatively affected the most.
Liquidity, while remaining available, came at a premium, forcing regional banks, including Bahraini banks, to continue to compete for precious deposits and begin to seek additional funding sources from outside Bahrain as a source of diversification. Cost of funds continues on the rise since early 2017.
Further downward pressure on sovereign ratings by international rating agencies and the need for regional governments to continue to borrow will only add to fiscal pressures around the region.
Despite the challenges, our Back-to-Basics strategy bore fruits in 2017 with BisB showing another strong year. Among many achievements, the Bank demonstrated strong 11% growth in financing assets as well as 18% increase in customer accounts, a significant decline in the Bank’s non- performing financing book to a level unseen in many years, and a 20% improvement in net profits.
The fast pace of technology in our business presents huge challenges, at the same time, unique opportunities to streamline processes, and become more efficient.
For the first time, we have successfully introduced one of the best mobile banking applications in the country and completely revamped the old internet-banking platform.
The Bank also launched our first ever IT innovation lab - a bold step towards empowering the Bank’s IT team from being merely a support unit into a business enabler. Therefore, in addition to delivery of products and services to our customers, technology will continue to take on a much larger role in many of BisB’s activities including marketing, advertising and overall communications.
Investing in Bahraini talent is one of the main pillars of the Bank’s Back-to-basics strategy. Therefore, 2017 witnessed another year of introducing effective training programs spanning all staff levels. As part of the Bank’s succession planning journey and building a best-in-class leadership team, two additional Bahraini senior executives from a top international bank, Ms. Dalal Al Qais as Head of Retail Banking, and Mr. Mahmood Qannati as Head of Marketing and Corporate Communications, joined the team in late 2017.
Our community involvement continues and remains as one of BisB’s values, as well as sponsorships of major Islamic banking events in Bahrain such as the WIBC, vAAOFI, and Euro-money. In addition, our efforts to support local social and family needs continue.
The Bank’s accomplishments in 2017 would not have been possible without the divine guidance of the Almighty Allah, and the invaluable engagement and support from the Bank’s Board of Directors.