Navigating The Pandemic: National Bank Of Bahrain CEO Jean-Christophe Durand Q&A

SectorFinancial Services

Global Finance: How has Bahrain navigated the Covid-19 crisis, and how has the financial sector been impacted? Jean-Christophe Durand: The reaction from the government was immediate. The amounts put on the table to ensure the economy and the population didn’t suffer too much were substantial. When it comes to the financial sector, we contributed to support this effort. We were involved in a number of measures: a first six-month period of loan deferral that was then extended, for another three and then six months, to give the commercial and retail sectors time to reorganize themselves. That obviously came at a cost for the banks, as the first extension was without interest and there were also measures to reduce the fees and extend long-term maturities.

If you look at the impact in terms of revenues, most lenders have published results below that of the previous year, as everywhere else in the world. Banks were cautious and made substantial prudential provisions so more...