Banking, Finance & Takaful

BankDhofar to expand Islamic banking branches across Oman

Ali Al Habsi, Oman’s legendary footballer, has been appointed the brand ambassador of Maisarah Islamic Banking, BankDhofar’s Islamic banking arm. – Shabine/TIMES OF OMAN
Six more branches of Maisarah Islamic Banking services, the Islamic window of BankDhofar, will be opened by the end of this year.

Giving the information, Sohail Niazi, chief Islamic banking officer of Maisarah, said, “Last year we offered our services through our two branches in Azaiba and Salalah. To fulfill the needs of market, we are opening our third branch in Sohar this month followed up by another three branches by the end of this year.”

He was speaking at a ceremony held here yesterday to announce the appointment of Ali Al Habsi, Oman’s legendary footballer, as Maisarah’s brand ambassador.

Sohail Niazi asserted that although Oman is a relatively new entrant to Islamic finance, it has already experienced significant developments that will help the overall industry to continue to grow.

He said, “For example, several Islamic windows and two banks have been established here, the MSM Sharia index was created to track Sharia-compliant stocks. The first corporate sukuk was issued, the Takaful Company was launched, and recently the announcement that a sovereign sukuk may be issued.

All of this has happened within the last 12 months or so clearly speak to a very successful start of Islamic banking in the country. Thomson Reuters, in its 2013 Global Islamic Finance Development Report, ranked Oman number one for its attempts to increase awareness and understanding of Islamic banking in the country.”

Untapped market

“In a another global 2014 study published recently, the market participants ranked Oman as the number one emerging and untapped market which is most attractive for sukuk investment and issuance. It is reflective of positive perception and sentiment towards Oman’s Islamic finance sectors,” he added.

“In the last 12 months, we have introduced 12 corporate, retail and treasury products to serve the Omani market. For our corporate and small and medium enterprises (SME) clients, we provide range of Islamic trade finance solutions through Sharia-compliant letters of credit, guarantees, and goods murabaha financing. We offer real estate, construction, and project finance solutions through diminishing musharaka and other innovative structures. To meet the working capital requirements of our corporate customers, we have developed, in collaboration with our consulting partners, a Mudarbah financing product. This product is an Islamic alternative to a conventional overdraft facility, and was voted the best product and won the innovation challenge award during the Global Economic Summit in Dubai. Many products from across the globe competed in this category,” said Niazi.

Abdul Hakeem Al Ojaili, acting chief executive officer of BankDhofar, in his welcome address said, “As Omanis, we are all extremely proud of Ali Al Habsi as he truly has painted a bright picture of Oman and the Omani people, and is considered the ideal spokesperson and ambassador of Omani heritage, traditions and history. It is an honour to have Ali representing Maisarah’s identity as in addition to delivering superior customer service.”

Source: Times of Oman

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