Bahrain to see further bank mergers this year - governor

Bahrain's central bank governor Rasheed al-Maraj has said he expected further bank consolidation this year after a spree of tie-ups in 2013. The central bank has been encouraging smaller lenders to merge to bolster institutions weakened by a local real estate crash and fall-out from the island kingdom's political unrest in 2011, which has continued sporadically since then. In 2013, there were four separate examples of consolidation in the Bahraini banking sector, further tie-ups are expected to be announced by the end of the year. Moreover, the regulator is encouraging Islamic banks in the kingdom to get credit ratings to improve transparency. Maraj added he expected all banks would have a rating in the next two years.