HSBC's new Oman unit attracts 'significant' business

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International bank HSBC says its Omani unit has already attracted a “significant” amount of business since its merger with Oman International Bank (OIB) less than a year ago.

More than 60 branches have been refurbished and rebranded as the new HSBC Oman Bank and 107 automatic teller machines upgraded or replaced, HSBC Middle East and North Africa CEO Simon Cooper said.

“[It’s] a great opportunity to bring HSBC’s international connectivity to the market in Oman and we’re already seeing traction there not just amongst the retail client base but amongst the corporate client base,” Cooper said.

“Significant amounts of business [are] starting to flow to us.”

The banks were the sixth and fifth largest lenders in the country prior to June last year when HSBC bought 51 percent of the OIB.

Together they are now the second largest bank in Oman in terms of branch network and the third in terms of assets, while it has about 400,000 retail customers and 10,000 commercial customers.

“[The bank has a] significant presence now,” Cooper said.

However, the merger also has cost the company, with integration costs and bad loans causing a 62.7 percent slump in 2012 net profit.

The lender made a net profit of OMR5.8m ($15.1m) in 2012, compared with OMR15.5m in 2011, it said in January.

HSBC MENA head of retail banking and wealth management Francisca McDonagh said Oman was a key growth area for the lender, with a strong economy and employment.

She said HSBC Oman Bank’s unique position of having international connectivity as well as local ties would benefit it to increase its presence in the country.

“Oman for us is a region where we see very strong prospects because of our scale,” she said.

“We [also] see an opportunity to implement services such as personal and mobile banking in the future, which are very attractive and competitive."

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