Bahrain banks post profits exceeding $1 billion in Q1 2013
The combined net profits of Bahrain's banks nearly doubled to $1.1 billion in the first three months of this year, compared with $427 million in cumulative profits during the same period in 2012.
According to data compiled by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), the rebound in profits was across all -sectors of the banking industry, i.e. conventional wholesale and retail banks, as well as Islamic wholesale and retail banks.
The CBB revealed that the rebound in profits is a reflection of the recovery in Bahrain's banking sector; despite a relatively weak global economic environment, banks have been able to capitalize on a strengthening domestic and regional environment.
The consolidated balance sheet of Bahrain's banking system rose to $195.3 billion at March-end 2013, its highest level in nearly one year and up nearly five per cent over the December 2012 figure of $186.3 billion.
Bahrain's retail banking industry continued to post steady growth, both in its loan portfolio as well as assets, reflecting the recovery of the domestic economy.
Conventional retail banks saw net profits more than doubled to BHD 191.9 million ($509 million) during the first quarter of this year, compared to BHD 94 million during the same time last year. Retail banks' cumulative loan portfolio (to non-bank customers) grew to BHD 7 billion at March-end 2013. Of this, loans to the business sector grew to BHD 4.4 billion, from BHD 4.2 billion at March-end 2012, while personal loans grew to BHD 2.4 billion, from BHD 2.1 billion at the end of March 2012.
Bahrain's conventional wholesale banking industry saw net profits soar by 365 per cent to $515 million during the first quarter of 2013, compared to $110 million at the same time last year.
The Islamic banking industry, both wholesale and retail banks, also posted a healthy increase in profits to $85.5 million for the first quarter of 2013, compared with $67.1 million during the corresponding period last year.
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