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The Central Bank of Bahrain (“CBB”) has implemented various regulatory measures to limit the economic repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic including issuing circular number OG/106/2020 dated 17 March 2020, circular number EDBS/KH/C/30/2020 dated 23 March 2020 and circular number OG296/2020 dated 26 August 2020 (collectively the “Previous CBB Circulars”) pursuant to which, amongst other things, all retail banks were required to offer all Kingdom of Bahrain (“Bahrain”) citizens and resident financial and non-financial companies in Bahrain, excluding banks, initially a six (6) months deferral of instalments which was then extended to 31 December 2020 without any fees, no interest on interest and no increase in rate unless the borrower agreed to a shorter period or did not wish to avail such deferral.
Consistent with the Previous CBB Circulars the CBB has issued circular number OG/431/2020 dated 29 December 2020 (“Latest CBB Circular”). In this alert, we will provide an overview of the Latest CBB Circular.
The Latest CBB Circular applies to all CBB licensed:
in Bahrain (collectively hereinafter referred to as the “Relevant Entities” and individually a “Relevant Entity”).
Under the Latest CBB Circular the Relevant Entities have been directed to:
from the deferral opinion;
The CBB will re-assess the need to continue with such concessionary measures during 2021 and advise CBB licensees accordingly.
In accordance with Article 129 of Law No. 64 of 2006 promulgating the CBB and Financial Intuitions Law, as amended (“CBB Law”), the maximum financial penalty levied for failing to comply with the CBB Law, regulations, directives and other requirements is one hundred thousand Bahraini Dinars (BHD 100,000) per violation. The CBB may opt to limit the amount of the financial penalty and use other enforcement measures including but not limited to issuing a warning, direction, imposing restrictions on a licensee and/or limiting the scope of operations of a licensee.
If you are a Relevant Entity, it is important for you to:
Al Tamimi & Company’s Banking and Finance team regularly advises on regulatory matters and is well placed to assess the impact of the Latest CBB Circular on your organisation. If you would like to further discuss the contents of this article and find out what it means for your business, please contact Al Tamimi & Company in Bahrain.