Bahrain banks under scrutiny amid global crisis

Finance minister says spot inspections underway, call to avoid staff redundancies.
Bahrain banks under scrutiny amid global crisis
By Andy Sambidge
Wed 24 Dec 2008 09:02 AM

Bahrain's banks have been put under emergency watch in an effort to protect them from the global economic crisis, it emerged on Wednesday.

They have also been urged not to make any Bahraini staff redundant under cost-cutting, Gulf Daily News reported, citing finance minister Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa.

The country's banking system is strong, but strict safeguards have been imposed to keep it that way, he told parliament on Tuesday.

These include spot checks by Central Bank of Bahrain inspectors on the books of local banks.

Total domestic banking liquidity was strong, he said, at $25.88 billion, enough to meet all the banks' financial obligations.

"The banking performance is good, if we take into consideration the effect the financial crisis is having on banks," said Sheikh Ahmed.

"The government has not intervened yet and will not intervene unless necessary. We are watching the situation closely to ensure that banks don't face any major setback.

"The Central Bank of Bahrain is daily monitoring banks' performance, in addition to weekly supervision to assess risk prevention measures.

"Sudden inspections are being paid to banks to inspect their files, but so far our banking funds are strong, and things are going in a smooth manner."

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