40 YEARS -
By Maurice Gent -
maurice.gent@ omanobserver.om -
The merger between HSBC and OIB is not only good for both banks. It is good, very good, for the nation.
This is a bringing together of two of Oman’s longstanding institutions, who have served the nation very well in the past.
Oman International Bank was formed in 1979 and in 1984 became the first 100 per cent Omani owned bank in the Sultanate. I well remember HSBC back in 1969 when I was a BBC Cairo correspondent and visited the Gulf region as part of my regional responsibilities.
When you look at the records of both banks they have both served Oman well in the past, and all the signs are that as one entity they will be able to serve the public and the nation better at all levels. OIB, from its early days was well-known for the number of strategically placed ATMs throughout the nation. I used the services of the HSBC Bank back in 1969 under the direction of Mr Mason, its then excellent Branch Manager,
But fast forward to 2012 and the future of banking in Oman. The newly-created HSBC Bank Oman SAOG promises an excellent service both to its customers and employees, bringing together two sets of services known and trusted by the financial community here for generations.
In a time of world financial turmoil it is great to see that the financial community in Oman is increasingly working together to face the difficulties and troubles worldwide. The economic future of Oman will not be easy as the price of energy fluctuates and in an uncertain international atmosphere the existence of strong banks based here in Oman, which are well-known for their past record of achievements, will be a turn for the better.
Together these two banks will be able to offer to their customers an increasing number of financial services. Some will be relevant to the business community and others to the retail customers, who will be able to rely on two names, already trusted in Oman, OIB and HSBC.
All this plus the onset of Islamic Banking is happening at the right time. The more sophisticated the market becomes, while retaining its reliability, the better it will be for the Sultanate of Oman.
We also heard this week that tenders for new projects had reached a record high. The Tender Board of Oman has recently announced tenders for projects worth RO 604 million. Financing is needed for new ports, airports, housing and roads. Some forecasters are talking about the Government needing to spend RO 2 billion over the next five years.
It is an amount of money difficult to imagine, but it is good to know that two of the most respected banks in Oman are joining forces to serve the nation. Well done HSBC. Well done OIB.