Manama, Bahrain – 13 December 2020 – Mr. Hassan Khalifa Al Jalahma, Chairman of the Central Bank of Bahrain, chaired the fifth board meeting for the year 2020 on Sunday, 13 December 2020.
The Chairman commenced the meeting by congratulating His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and to His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Prime Minister on the occasion of National Day. He also extended his thanks and appreciation to the Kingdom’s leadership for their support of the banking and financial sector, which contributed to strengthening Bahrain’s position as a financial center.
The Chairman and members of the Board of Directors also expressed their sincere condolences to His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and to His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, on the passing of His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, and praised HRH role in supporting and developing the financial sector over the past five decades, in HRH capacity as the first Chairman of the Monetary Council and then the Bahrain Monetary Agency.
The Board then reviewed the topics on the agenda including the CBB’s performance report and developments in the financial sector for the fourth quarter of 2020, the CBB’s financial performance report as of end of November 2020 and approved the CBB’s budget for 2021. The Board also reviewed S&P’s sovereign credit rating of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
During the meeting, the board also reviewed key economic, monetary and banking indicators for the year. The data indicated an improvement in light of the return of activity to various sectors through the improvement witnessed by the increase in the loan portfolio, which rose in the third quarter of this year, comprising 5.6% for personal loans and 4% for business loans since February this year. The figures also revealed the increase in the money supply in its broad sense, reaching BD 14 billion dinars at the end of September 2020, compared to BD 13.8 billion dinars at the end of February 2020, before the outbreak of the Coronavirus crisis began. The figures also showed an increase in the value of domestic deposits at retail banks by 1.3%. Electronic payments also witnessed a significant increase during 2020, as the value in the electronic money transfer system reached 641.1 million BD for Fawri+ in the third quarter of this year compared to 145.5 million BD in the third quarter of last year, and 3,158.5 million BD for transfers Fawri, compared to BD 3,190.8 million for the same period, and BD 118.7 million for Fawateer, compared to BD 87.6 million last year. In addition, the POS operations witnessed a significant increase in the third quarter of the year. The number of POS transactions reached 21.4 million in the third quarter of 2020, compared to 16.6 million in the second quarter of this year. The value of POS transactions increased to BD 588.1 million in the third quarter of 2020, compared to BD 472.3 million in the second quarter of this year.