Bahrain banking sector surges $17bn in H1

Gulf state's banking sector's assets reached $269.5bn at the end of June 2008.
Bahrain banking sector surges $17bn in H1
By Amy Glass
Wed 27 Aug 2008 06:01 PM

The assets of Bahrain's banking sector grew by $17 billion in the first half of 2008, the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) said Wednesday.

The balance sheet of the Gulf state’s banking sector reached $269.5 billion at the end of June 2008, compared with $252.5 billion at the end of March, the EDB said in a statement.

A number of new banks were also granted Bahraini licences by financial services regulator, the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB).

Sheikh Mohammed bin Essa Al-Khalifa, EDB chief executive, said banking remained a “key strength” for Bahrain.

"The first half of 2008 has seen not only healthy financial results from our established banking operations, but also a number of exciting new ventures which will strengthen our position as the Gulf's premier banking centre," he said.

Khaleeji Commercial Bank, part of the Gulf Finance House group, reported profits have grown 224%, with total assets up 182% in the space of one year, according to EDB.

Other banks reporting double digit profit growth included Venture Capital Bank, BMI Bank and United Gulf Bank.

Venture Capital Bank reported that its net income rose 447% to $45.7 million in the one year period to end of July 2008.

BMI Bank's net profits also rose 23% on the same period to $7.4 million and United Gulf Bank announced that, for the first half of 2008 it has earned a net profit of $71.5 million, an increase of 10.3% on the same half year period in 2007.

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