Oman’s largest bank by assets, BankMuscat,
plans to set up a sharia-compliant banking arm, and operate under
the Meethaq brand name.

BankMuscat’s sharia-compliant banking arm will
function independently from its conventional banking arm.

A three-member sharia board has already been
appointed by BankMuscat.  

Chief Executive of Bank Muscat, AbdulRazaq Ali
Issa, said, “The Bank strives to increase the range of benefits for
customers and we are confident that the proposed Islamic banking
window operations will benefit various segments.”

Oman opened doors to Islamic banking in May for the first time,
in an attempt to keep investment funds in the Gulf state and grab a
share of the rapidly growing industry.

Chairman of board of directors of Bank Muscat,
Sheikh Khalid Bin Mustahail Al Mashani, said, “Meethaq, the pioneer
of Islamic banking in Oman, 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 sharia law.”

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No timeframe for the start of operations for
Meethaq has been given by BankMuscat, and it is subject to the
approval of the Central Bank of Oman.

BankMuscat had a 38.5% market share in Oman with
total assets of $16.6bn, and a network of 132 branches, at the end
of July.