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Thursday, April 17, 2014  

Bank Nizwa begins Islamic banking operations
Staff Reporter

MUSCAT Bank Nizwa, Oman’s first dedicated Islamic bank, officially opened its doors to the public on Wednesday. The bank’s launch had been announced soon after the release of the Islamic Banking Regulatory Framework (IBRF) by the Central Bank of Oman (CBO).

Bank Nizwa will be the first bank in the Sultanate to provide services like account opening through identity cards for Omanis, and resident ID cards for expatriates; instant issuance of personalised ATM cards, instant issuance of personalised cheque books and much more.

Oman offers a supportive economic and demographic environment for the Islamic banking industry, marked by high GDP and stable population growth, said Jamil El Jaroudi, CEO of Bank Nizwa.

“The close correlation between financial assets expansion and growth in the economy in real terms should augur well for the Islamic banking industry,” he added.

“Besides, there is substantial unmet demand for Sharia compliant products, and Oman’s residents and corporates are looking forward to the launch of Islamic finance products in the market. This aspiration was clearly reflected in the overwhelming subscription during the IPO, where more than 99 per cent of the capital was Omani funds,” he added.

“The Islamic Banking Regulatory Framework, laid down by the CBO, has positioned the economy of the nation towards achieving greater success. The launch of Bank Nizwa will propel Islamic banking and the economy of Oman to a higher level of development,” said Sayyid Amjad Mohammed Ahmed Al Busaidi, chairman, board of directors, Bank Nizwa.

Jaroudi said: “We take pride in the fact that we are the first full-fledged Sharia-compliant bank in the country with products such as current accounts, savings accounts and personal finance as well as corporate business services and treasury operations. Our goal is to create an environment that serves as an inspiration for other Islamic banks and Islamic windows at conventional banks to begin operating in Oman so that the customer benefits from best practices.”

“Through the consistent application of the fair practices as laid down by the Sharia Laws we encourage social fairness, profit sharing and ethical conduct. We believe that these have been the pressing need of the people in Oman. With our customer centric approach we wish to create newer benchmarks in the world of banking,” he added.

Bank Nizwa is headquartered in Qurum, with additional branches in Nizwa and Sohar.

Sharia-compliant financial products and services are being adopted by Islamic banking customers worldwide. Bank Nizwa is championing the faith-based attitude of this sector to take the banking Industry and the economy of the Sultanate to new heights.

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