KUWAIT: Banks will close as of Saturday, August 10, 2019 coinciding with pilgrims' standing on Mount Arafat and will remain shut till Wednesday throughout Eid Al-Adha holiday, Secretary General of the Union of Kuwaiti Banks Dr Hamad Al-Hasawi said yesterday. Dr Hasawi affirmed in a press release that Eid Al-Adha would be observed on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, adding that August 14 (Wednesday) would be a normal work day, in line with a circular issued by the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) in this respect.

Separately, the Central Bank of Kuwait announced yesterday the issuance of a total of KD 240 million ($792 million). The issuance has a three-month term and a return rate of three percent, the CBK said in a statement. The CBK'S last issue of bonds was on July 29th at a total value of KD 200 million ($660 million).

In other news, the Central Bank of Kuwait will hold the inaugural CBK International Banking Conference on September 23, the CBK said in a statement yesterday. It will be organized under patronage of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jabir Al-Sabah. Titled 'Shaping the Future,' the event's speakers will include key policymakers, C-level banking industry executives, banking experts and FinTech entrepreneurs from across the globe.

Its agenda will address economic and social challenges facing the banking sector and the opportunities and threats posed by technological innovation, laying out a vision for how the industry can thrive and better support sustainable economic development. The CBK International Banking Conference will welcome an audience of top-level delegates involved in the global financial services sector such as government ministers, regulatory chiefs, banking CEOs, and academics.

In this respect, CBK Governor Dr Mohammad Al-Hashel stated that, "The banking and finance industry is today at an inflection point due to numerous challenges, mainly the state of today's global economy; where economic uncertainty is exasperated by monetary policy changes, market developments, the geopolitical landscape and resultant trade disputes."
"Meanwhile, modern technology is disrupting the financial and banking sector, all the while social transformations and changing customer expectations mean that banks will no longer be able to draw on their classical banking operating models. It is thus indispensable to evolve new ways of banking in order to meet the expectations of clients, and remain relevant in the future," he added

Through four focused panel discussions and keynote presentations, the conference will provide a detailed, nuanced framework of what the future will hold for the global banking sector as we head into the 2020s. The conference will discuss how banks should respond to ongoing transformational changes, especially as millennials, who are fast becoming the dominant consumer group, see little distinction between longstanding banks and their digital-only rivals.

This is blurring the lines between financial services and other industries and posing challenges to regulators who must strike a balance between nurturing innovation and mitigating risk. Moreover, the conference will seek to answer how the banking sector can prosper, delivering returns to shareholders while also supporting sustainable economic development at a time of rapid change within the industry itself. - KUNA