It gives me great pleasure to address you through our new website. This, in fact, has been one of our principal achievements in a year that was like no other.
First, a look back at 2020. We started the year normally enough, but soon had to confront COVID-19. It took us a few weeks to catch our breath, but then reverted back to form. Modern technology enabled us to replace our seminars with webinars and a flurry of those ensued. We covered the usual areas of interest to our members with the added twist of focusing on the impact of the pandemic.
The webinars put across technical and other information very effectively. They are not, however, a substitute for the networking that is of the essence in what we do.
In addition, we lost the chance of conducting all of our social activities. These are essential functions for an Association like ours. Ideas were floated on virtual replacements for these activities, but nothing really worked and we ended the year feeling deprived of one of our great joys as humans, the fulfilling joy of personal contact.
This also meant that we have been deprived of major sources of income. Support from our membership, however, and financial success with our magazine, Arab Banker, left us in reasonable financial condition. The magazine, pandemic notwithstanding, came out on time and was exceptionally well received as one of the rare bits of paper to hit anyone's desk in a while.
Looking forward to 2021 I am full of hope. It is expected that the pandemic will have receded sufficiently by May to allow us to carry on with the bulk of our traditional program for the year. I anticipate that we will be able to do our Eid dinner this year and that it will be the first in-person event in what promises to be a very busy year. I trust that the program will be met with even greater success than in the past and that it will be received by our membership as parched ground receives welcome rain.
In the meantime, we will be holding our webinars. I fully expect our first encounter with the regulators will be held very soon via conference call.
Brexit is not expected to affect our work or that of Arab banks in London. Our membership is fully prepared for it.
Happy New Year and my best wishes for your continued success.
George E Kanaan
Chief Executive Officer
Arab Bankers Association