Omantribune
Oman Tribune
Omantribune
Omantribune Search News
Web Oman
    Google Search Button
      Tribune
- Oman
- Soccer World Cup
- Other Top Stories
- Middle East
- Business
- Sports
- India
- Pakistan
- Asia
- Europe
- Americas
- Columnists
- Editorial
- Oman Mirror
- Special Features
- Cinema
- PDF Pages
- Weather
- Travel
- Currency Rate
- Hospitals
- Pharmacies
- Services
- Flight Timings
- Museum Timings
Omantribune Home Omantribune About Us Omantribune Advertising Information Omantribune Archives Omantribune Subscribe-Form Omantribune Jobs Omantribune Contact Us
Sunday, September 21, 2014  

Sultanate’s first Islamic bank sees more room for growth
Anita Joseph

MUSCAT The potential for Islamic banking in the Sultanate is tremendous as nearly one third of Omanis stay away from conventional banking at present, according to an official of Bank Nizwa, Oman’s first Islamic bank, which officially opened on Saturday.

When a third of a country’s population is not participating in any economic activity, then it needs to be addressed, Ahmed Bin Saif Al Rawahi, chairman of the founding committee of Bank Nizwa, told Oman Tribune.

The bank unveiled its logo on Saturday. All products and services of the bank will be Sharia compliant.

“We found that above 30 per cent of the cash is lying in banks in interest-free deposits, and many Omanis are doing business in neighbouring countries for want of Islamic banks here. We also discovered that people form small groups which engage in activities similar to banking, but in an unregulated manner,” he added.

“All these factors, coupled with effective economic fundamentals and the growth in the Omani banking market, showed us that Islamic banks have tremendous potential here,” Al Rawahi said.

He said his bank did not see existing banks as threats.

“We do not see existing banks as threats, but think their presence will help promote Islamic banking and help people know more about it.

“It doesn’t help to be confrontational at this point, especially because Omanis and resident consumers are open-minded and intelligent. They know the difference between both kinds of banking systems and act accordingly.”

The bank is expected to start operations by July end, and will launch its initial public offering (IPO) in April.

“The prospectus is almost ready, in its final form and we will soon submit it to CMA,” Rawahi said.

The IPO will offload 60 million rials (40 per cent) of its paid up capital of 150 million rials. 

The bank will initially offer an entire portfolio of banking services in a phased manner, in tune with factors like marketability, Sharia board approval and the approval of the Central Bank of Oman, Rawahi said.

The bank was invited by CBO to review the Islamic Banking Regulatory Framework (IBRF) for the country, and found it “comprehensive”.

“There are only a few minor issues which can be discussed, and I commend CBO for coming out with the rule book,” he added.

The bank is working towards an operating model, procuring IT infrastructure and the creation of internal policies and procedures.

“We are in the process of obtaining approval for establishing the head office and its first three branches — in Shatti Al Qurum in Muscat, Nizwa and Sohar. We have plans to expand in the country,” Rawahi said.

He added the bank has opted for a healthy balance between experienced regional Sharia scholars and local Omani talent, in appointing its Sharia board members.

“The CBO stipulates that there should be at least three Sharia board members (Omanis or non-Omanis). And so we have opted for four members. The reason for this regional-local mix is to ensure the effective transition of knowledge from the region to the local Omani context,” Rawahi said.

The list of members has been finalised, but unless the final contract is signed, the details cannot be divulged.

“But we have roped in some of the best brains and talent,” he said.

The bank has begun a recruitment drive, and has received 5,000 applications for 150 vacancies.

“Sometimes, Islamic banking products can be a little more expensive than conventional banking products, unless countries amend a few of their taxation rules,” Rawahi said.

“We are in talks with the government in this regard and the initial indication is positive, but it is too soon to tell when something will be done. In the meantime, to be competitive, we are employing cutting-edge technology, some of the best banking minds and are planning to be intensively consumer-centric.”

The bank’s new logo, in purple and yellow represents a tasteful blend of tradition and modernity.

“The human being is always at the centre of the bank, which will be based on the timeless values of Islam. Purple colour depicts the richness of Omani culture, while Yellow shows innovation and creativity,” said Marie Succar of Wolff Olins brand consultants, who developed the logo.

Oman Tribune
NEWS UPDATES
Oman
Lebanese artist’s works go on display at Bait Muzna
Haj Mission reviews plan of action, role of delegations
Average housing cost of Omani family at 62.7 rials
Historical landmarks abound in Adam
Best Western Premier comes out with Indian theme dinner on Thursdays
Traditional fervour marks Onam celebrations
ISG hosts Australian under student exchange initiative
e-commerce forum opens in Salalah today
Other Top Stories
Teheran, world powers begin tough N-talks
US not to announce Syria strike
Scots doubtful of devolution of power
Boko Haram rebels storm Nigerian town, 36 killed
Britain, France to improve border controls to stop illegal migrants
India
200 rebels wait to ‘sneak into Kashmir Valley’
50 more Chinese troops enter Chumar as standoff worsens
UP clerics laud Modi remark on Muslims
Xi’s visit puts ties into historic phase, says Chinese minister
Maharashtra poll alliances in limbo
Gates to prod India’s rich to give more to charity
Delhi to offer N-expertise to Dhaka, boost connectivity
Protest against JU police action gains steam
Al Qaeda trying to set up base in state: Gogoi
Doordarshan to air 20 channels on phones from 2015
Rebel-hit Antagarh seat goes to BJP
Pilot back in saddle with Rajasthan win
DMK not a party, but a movement: Karunanidhi
Pakistan
Imran sets fire to power bill, marks Deliverance Day
Top TTP commander, soldier killed in N. Waziristan clash
US okays sale of $198m IED-resistant vehicles
Country needs to invest in employment, empowerment of youth: UN
PIA ‘violated safety rules’
I will get back Kashmir from India: Bilawal
Experts warn of climate change risks
Middle East
Thousands of Syrian Kurds flee to Turkey as IS advances
Migrants nurse Europe dreams, risk lives at sea
Two Iranians held in Kenya over fake passports
UK Muslim clerics appeal for hostage’s freedom
Mediators urge end to ‘senseless fight’ in S. Sudan
Tunisia president to run for re-election
Social networks struggle to check gruesome militant videos
Asia
Storm Fung-Wong wreaks havoc in Philippines, 5 die
Australia to empower troops, cops to contain terror threat
Afghan poll commission to declare final results today
Chinese Uighurs held in Indonesia have terror links
Museum to help ‘people recall Marcos’ atrocities’
Key wins vote in NZ for third time
American in Korean jail ‘was seeking fame’
Business
Exports drop 10.4% to 8.3b rials in May
Duqm SEZ to lure Italian investors
Falling oil unlikely to pose threat to Gulf countires
Sohar Port to increase cargo handling productivity
Oman Trading International inaugurates Shanghai office
Sohar Aluminium looks to boost output capacity
G20 leaders differ on ways to boost growth
ONGC to begin production from KG basin by 2019
India caps prices of 36 more drugs
GMR gets green signal for $1.4b hydroelectric plant in Nepal
Global firms win $187m Egypt oil blocks
Falling oil prices no big threat to GCC
Moody’s retains UK’s ‘Aa1’ rating
Exxon to wind up drilling in Russia
Tesla to upgrade software
Europe
Ukraine military, Russian militia to pull back troops
UK must honour vow to grant Scotland more powers: Brown
Khodorkovsky unveils group to challenge Putin’s power
Belgium thwarts terror raids, Vatican tightens security
Indian mom kills son, self in UK
Fans thrilled as screen icon Sophia Loren turns 80
Sports
Ronaldo nets hat-trick in Real’s big win
Ozil inspires Arsenal to easy win at Aston Villa
IOC call for more women athletes
Hamilton leaves it late on way to pole
Bordeaux down hapless Evian 2-1 to go top
Wozniacki, Ivanovic reach final
N. Korean Om sets ’lifting world record
Jitu strikes first gold for India
Injury blow for South Korean vault star
Palestinians battle war on way to Incheon
Marsh stars as Scorchers clinch thriller
Americas
Battered Mexico resort braces for new storm Polo
Intruder jumps White House fence, prompts evacuations
US ‘intercepts’ two Russian fighter jets near Alaska
Obama’s ‘no boots on ground’ anti-IS tactics ‘unrealistic, half-hearted’
Wiping out poverty will defeat extremists: Kerry
Hillary hits midterm poll campaign trail

Sports


International

© 2013 Oman Tribune. All rights reserved. Best viewed in 800 X 600 resolution