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Saturday, August 30, 2014  

Islamic banking products in demand, says expert
By Staff Reporter

MUSCAT The fundamental differences between products and services offered by conventional and Islamic banks were the focus of the seminar on Islamic banking hosted by BankMuscat.

“The Royal announcement on Islamic banking has been well received by Omanis,” said Sulaiman Al Harthy, Group DGM, consumer banking, BankMuscat, at the event that sought to raise awareness on the subject among the banking community.

“The Sultanate has its own traditions built on Islamic foundation and based on Shariah rules. Islamic banking products are in good demand as conventional products,” he said.

The seminar was addressed by Sheikh Ibrahim Al Sawafi and Sheikh Azan Al Amri, researchers at Ifta’a office, Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs. Abdullah Bin Salem Bin Abdullah Al Salmi, executive vice-president of the Capital Market Authority (CMA), was also present.

Al Harthy said BankMuscat is aware of the market fundamentals of Islamic banking and that the bank is ready to launch an Islamic banking window, subject to CBO approval. “The operations will be managed by an experienced team, separate from conventional banking,” he said.

“BankMuscat is in the process of setting up a legal regulatory commission and Shariah audit commission to determine and evaluate the work done by the bank. An advanced information system will also be in place to offer appropriate support to Islamic banking operations.”

The bank will hold presentations on Islamic banking across Oman to highlight the difference between Islamic and conventional banking and familiarise people with the main characteristics of Islamic finance.

Experts and scholars will make the presentations and educate people on the features and benefits of Islamic banking.

“As the nation’s leading financial services provider, BankMuscat is well positioned to provide Islamic banking expertise to diverse segments and thereby promote the good of society as a whole,” Al Harthy said.

“BankMuscat is proud to have been associated with all major national initiatives and developments in line with the directives of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said.

The bank has in place a comprehensive strategy to effectively respond to the directive of His Majesty the  Sultan on Islamic banking and thereby cater to the financial needs of people in accordance with the guidelines and regulatory framework to be prescribed by the Central Bank of Oman.”

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