In an interview to Muscat Daily, Ewan Stirling, chief executive officer of HSBC Bank Oman, speaks about the bank's strategy, branch network and market position following the merger.
What is HSBC Oman’s primary objective now that system integration is complete?
We recently completed integrating our systems and have successfully merged all of our 400,000 retail customers and 10,000 corporate clients within one unified banking platform. In addition, we have also installed the new HSBC signage on all our branches in Oman, signalling the implementation of a consistent set of banking services across our network.
Now that these critical technical and logistical tasks are coming to an end, we are now focusing all our efforts on delivering the business benefits of the merger to all of our corporate and retail customers.
How much market share does HSBC Oman enjoy currently in terms of customer base and assets?
HSBC Bank Oman is currently the second largest bank in Oman in terms of branch network, the third largest in total assets and customer deposits as well as the largest global financial institution in the sultanate. These figures are based on the Central Bank of Oman’s most recent reports.
What difference would former OIB customers feel in terms of services and offerings with HSBC Oman?
Former OIB customers can now utilise all of HSBC Bank Oman’s services through a country-wide network, with 77 branches getting HSBC-standard technology. All of HSBC Bank Oman ATMs are now fully connected to the OmanNet National Switch Network, which means that customers can now access their cash at any ATM across Oman, as well as when travelling outside Oman. Also, former OIB customers can now visit any HSBC Bank Oman branch for their banking needs and not only their account holding branch as was the case earlier.
Former OIB customers have become part of a dynamic international financial-services company and have access to a diverse portfolio of world-class products and services that fulfil their retail, corporate and institutional banking and financial needs on both a local and global level.
HSBC is a globally connected bank with a network that covers over 80 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East, Africa, North America and Latin America. One of the signature products is our Internet-banking proposition.
We offer customers a single window to view and manage their various HSBC accounts around the world through our award winning ‘Global Accounts View’ and ‘Global Transfers.' No other bank in Oman can offer this level of functionality in terms of Internet banking flexibility and completeness.
Do you have plans to close down or merge branches in locations where both HSBC Oman and OIB operated?
We are currently rationalising our branch network to identify locations where there may be overlapping provision of services. We will review the way we provide services in such locations. Duplicate or inefficient branches may be combined or closed. This is, of course, subject to CBO approval and is still under study.
Earlier, OIB disclosed it would consider selling its five branches in India and Pakistan. What is the current status on it?
It is still too early to discuss this matter. Once we have reached a decision we will inform our customers, shareholders and other concerned parties.