Muscat: In recognition of its valuable service towards society, Oman Arab Bank (OAB) was recently bestowed with the Excellence Award in Social Responsibility during the Fourth Oman Forum for Partnership and Social Responsibility. The forum was held at Grand Millennium Muscat on December 16, under the patronage of Laila Ahmed Al Najjar, Minister of Social Development.
Highlighting the Bank’s achievement on obtaining this award, Feras Al-Farsi, responsible for Sustainability at OAB, said, “We are extremely proud to receive this award as social responsibility is one of the most important focus areas of our strategy. Our sustainability strategy was designed to strengthen OAB’s social impact within its three main strategic pillars: community partnerships, environment and financial inclusion, to ensure we are making valuable contribution to on the societal level, in parallel with business growth. In 2020, as a result of COVID-19, OAB focused its efforts to limit the financial and social impact of the pandemic through several special measures, for which we received commendation at the Fourth Oman Forum for Partnership and Social Responsibility.”
Oman Arab Bank launched a set of digital banking services to keep pace with the onset of the pandemic, and ensuring that their customers can fulfil their needs from the comfort of their home, limiting the spread of the virus and extending support to the health sector. A few of the most prominent achievements of 2020 include allocating an account for the donations to the Ministry of Health and donating OMR 500,000 to support these efforts. This was in addition to a further donation of OMR 500,000 by the Oman International Development and Investment Company (SAOG) (OMINVEST), which is one of the Bank’s main stakeholders. OAB also initiated the postponement of loan installments for all its customers in March 2020, as well as for those affected by the pandemic for the subsequent period. This was in addition to halting transfer fees and providing more facilities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). On the occasion of the 50th National Day, OAB also wrote off the debts of over 150 defaulting borrowers, in consideration of their especially challenging circumstances. Furthermore, OAB launched an exclusive credit card scheme in Q3, offering a 0% interest rate and other benefits to frontline workers, who place their lives at risk for the greater good.
“Aside from financial support, we have continued to place innovation and education at the forefront of our strategy by launching the first Innovation Lab in the local banking sector. The lab will provide a professional platform for students, employees and companies operating in the field and is aimed at nurturing talents in the sphere of finance technology. In collaboration with a number of specialised companies, we have also launched a digital learning platform that offers a set of innovative and free workshops, targeted at youth and entrepreneurs, to enhance their technical skills. Last but not least, we renewed our partnership with the Environmental Society of Oman (ESO) and supported its virtual fundraiser event that managed to raise over OMR 100,000. During the event, we announced our long-term plan to reduce our carbon footprint, by measuring our environmental impact and finding more sustainable solutions,” he added.
Oman Arab Bank has a rich and proud history as one of the first financial institutions to be established in the Sultanate. Today, the bank operates a nationwide network of 55 branches and representative offices with 160 ATMs spread across Oman. OAB provides a complete range of financial products and services for personal banking, corporate banking and investment clients.