Jan 20 2013

Meethaq set to redefine Islamic banking

By Business Reporter Grand ceremony today to launch full-fledged operations at Al Ghubra branch
MUSCAT -- Meethaq, the pioneer of Islamic banking in Oman, from Bank Muscat, is all set to redefine Islamic banking with the launch of full-fledged operations at its dedicated branch in Al Ghubra. Shaikh AbdulMalik bin Abdullah al Khalili, Minister of Justice, will be the guest of honour at the grand ceremony today (January 20) coinciding with the auspicious occasion of the Prophet's birth anniversary.

Bank Muscat is the first commercial bank in Oman to receive CBO approval and begin operations through independent Islamic banking window as per the requirements of Islamic banking regulatory framework of CBO. Ever since the announcement of the final CBO approval to begin soft operations, customers have been pouring into Meethaq branch to open accounts and avail various services.

Meethaq offers a full suite of regulated Islamic banking products. The bank has invested in staff, systems and controls to ensure the service is delivered in a professional, segregated and fully compliant manner.

Inspired by faith and a tradition of trust, the Shariah-compliant products and services include Savings Account, Current Account, Home Finance, Auto Finance, and many other products.

Meethaq plans to open branches in all major cities and towns across Oman this year. Over a year ago, the flagship financial services provider announced the decision of its Board of Directors to set up an independent Islamic banking window with RO 150 million capital and launch Islamic banking operations in accordance with the injunctions of Sharia. The final capital allocation will be determined by business opportunities in the market and the Board has indicated that the assigned amount may increase if required.

Meethaq has on its Sharia board some of the brightest minds in Islamic finance to chart the way forward.

The Shariah board is led by Shaikh Dr Ali Qaradaghi, Chairman, and Shaikh Essam Muhammad Ishaq and Shaikh Majid Al Kindi as members.

Meethaq is well positioned to provide Islamic financial expertise to diverse segments and thereby promote the good of society as a whole. Meethaq will reach out to customers with the promise of being true to their beliefs, offering all the advantages of banking by following the principles of Shariah law. The Meethaq suite of banking products, which combine traditional values with modernity, ensures the choice of staying true to one's values.

The Meethaq strategy is to attract customers through innovative and Shariah based products and services.

Bank Muscat has always strived to fulfill the needs of customers with innovative solutions and the launch of Meethaq is yet another proof of its commitment and dedication to meet customer expectations for Islamic banking. The operations will be managed by an experienced and professional team, separate from conventional banking.

Meethaq stands out for its independent Shariah Supervisory Board, separate capital, unique risk management tools, complete fund segregation, separate books of account, core banking system which supports Islamic banking operations, stand-alone Islamic banking branches and proper profit distribution mechanism among investment account holders/depositors. The adoption of AAOIFI standards (Accounting & Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions) distinguishes Meethaq Islamic banking practices in terms of standardisation of products and services.

© Oman Daily Observer 2013

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