The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) and the newly elected board for the Bahrain Association of Banks (BAB) had their first meeting today presided by Mr. Rasheed M. Al Maraj, Governor of the CBB.
The meeting commenced with the Governor congratulating the newly elected board chaired by Mr. Abdul Razak Al Qassim, CEO of National Bank of Bahrain.
"We are very happy to see this renewed interest from the banking industry; rest assured the CBB will extend its full support to ease BAB’s mission in serving the banking sector," said the Governor.
The meeting highlighted the upcoming major events such as the Association’s reception during the IMF World Bank meetings in October, the annual Gala dinner hosted by BAB under the patronage of HRH the Crown Prince, and the 20th anniversary of the World Islamic Banking Conference in December.
The meeting discussed several open consultation papers issued by CBB which are currently under review by the banks.
CBB informed BAB about the recent review conducted on the banking fees and charges for services offered to banks’ clients which indicated large variations and in some cases unreasonable high levels. The CBB wants to have a fair and adequate level of charges reflecting the cost of providing the service.
The Board of BAB expressed their concern about the involvement of CBB as a regulator to intervene in setting the level of fees which is a departure from the policy of free market and open competition.
The Governor asked the banks to be more realistic and reasonable when it comes to the level of charges imposed on the retail customers and indicated that CBB would take the appropriate action to better serve the customers in Bahrain.
He also added: "The CBB introduced a code of conduct protocol in 2007 to ensure protecting consumers’ interest and best practices."
The Governor also briefed the meeting on the recent mergers in the banking sector and indicated the support and encouragement of CBB for further consolidation in the sector to strengthen the locally incorporated banks in light of recent development in the global banking industry.
The meeting was also attended by BAB Board; Mr. Adel Al Labban, Mr. Adnan Yousif, Dr. Farid Al Mulla, Mr. Khalil Noreldin and Mr. Robert Ainey, CEO of BAB and CBB officials.