21/12/2011 00:00 AST

National Bank of Oman (NBO) is intending to launch Islamic banking operations in Oman.

Islamic banking has been named as a key area for development at NBO, which plans to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the innovative industry and meeting the increasing demand for Sharia-compliant finance.

Mohammed Al Ardhi, deputy chairman of NBO confirmed that there is, indeed, a need for this diversification and that there is huge potential in the area of Islamic finance.

NBO plans to contribute significantly to the industry by providing banking services to ‘customers who request Sharia-compatible products’, after obtaining approval from the CBO.

The bank’s main strengths are the dedicated and committed team of staff members. In October 2011, the bank organised a training programme on ‘Principles and practices of Islamic finance’.

Innovative solutions

The three-day programme was part of the skill development initiatives of the bank, to support the impending launch of Islamic banking products.

Furthermore, NBO recently sponsored the first ‘Oman Islamic Economic Forum’, held under the auspices of His Highness Sayyid Shihab bin Tariq Al Said, at the Ritz Carlton Al Bustan Palace Hotel.

At the forum, enriching dialogues were shared between Tun Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi, former prime minister of Malaysia and Mohammed Al Ardhi, deputy chairman of NBO. Al Ardhi further added: “NBO is indeed proud to be a sponsor of the first Islamic Economic Forum in Oman.

We are delighted with His Majesty the Sultan’s approval to launch Islamic banking in the Sultanate. We have always taken the lead to introduce and launch innovative solutions for customers, and look forward to providing our customers with our Islamic banking offering, in the near future.”

“We believe that commitment and hard work are two important factors for NBO to achieve the desired results, in this relatively new field of finance in Oman. We are confident that our committed staff can definitely work together to be successful in this area as well,” said Al Ardhi said.

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