The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) and the newly-elected board for the Bahrain Association of Banks (BAB) had their first meeting yesterday, chaired by CBB Governor Rasheed Al Maraj.
“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 Al Maraj.
The meeting highlighted upcoming major events such as the BAB’s reception during the IMF World Bank meetings in October, the annual gala dinner hosted by BAB 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.
The CBB informed BAB about the recent review conducted on banking fees and charges for services offered to banks’ clients which indicated large variations and in some cases unreasonably high levels.
The CBB wants to have a fair and adequate level of charges reflecting the cost of providing the service.
The BAB board expressed their concern about the involvement of the 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 the CBB would take appropriate action to better serve the customers in Bahrain.
“The CBB introduced a code of conduct protocol in 2007 to ensure protecting consumers’ interest and best practices,” said Al Maraj.
The governor also briefed the meeting on the recent mergers in the banking sector and indicated the support and encouragement of the CBB for further consolidation in the sector to strengthen the locally incorporated banks in light of recent development in the global banking industry.