Muscat— As the Islamic Finance industry enters a new phase of growth in the Sultanate, Dr. Jamil El Jaroudi, Bank Nizwa CEO, joined government policy makers and regulators, industry leaders and experts as well as financial services’ representatives at the Oman Forum to reflect on the Sultanate’s Islamic banking journey to date and identify measures to further enhance the industry.
Attended by over 300 participants, the 2014 edition of the Forum explored current opportunities and challenges related to job generation and highlighted Islamic Finance’s strategic role in significantly contributing to Oman’s socio-economic development within the next four years.
During the discussions, Dr. El Jaroudi stressed the need to build a regulatory framework that will work in tandem with that of conventional banking to overcome the challenges facing the industry’s performance and customer expectations. He also said that the expanding geographical reach of Islamic Finance across the Sultanate coupled with increased awareness of the banking solutions available to citizens is expected to result in Islamic Finance assets reaching 10% of the total banking assets by 2018 in comparison to the current 4.5%.
He explained, “The customer response to Islamic Finance in Oman has been phenomenal in such a short period of time. In order to ensure the industry’s continued growth, it is essential to assess the takeaways and opportunities unveiled in recent years, while looking to support critical sectors such as small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which represent 90% of registered businesses in Oman, with financial solutions that can help them prosper.”
He added, “The Islamic Finance industry is registering a solid 15% to 20% year-on-year growth as of the incremental growth in the overall banking sector and it is essential for both users and providers of Shari’a-based products and services to capitalize on this opportunity.”
Today, Oman’s Islamic Finance assets are estimated at OMR 1.1 billion as of June 2014 and could reach up to OMR 7.1 billion in four years. Bank Nizwa has been and will continue to be a key contributor to this organic growth as proven by its latest financial results which registered an increase in assets of 49% to reach OMR 257 million, a 349% surge in its customer financing portfolio and a 204% growth in deposits to reach OMR 101 million and OMR 69 million respectively.
In addition to Dr. El Jaroudi, the panel on Islamic Finance also included Ali Hamdan Al Raisi, Vice President of the Central Bank of Oman (CBO), Sheikh Rashid bin Saif Al Saadi, Chairman of Takaful Oman, Mohammed Al Kharusi, Group Director for Business Development at Mohsen Haider Darwish (MHD) Group and Abdul Samad Al Maskari, CEO of Al Madina Financial and Investment Services Company.
About Bank Nizwa
Bank Nizwa is Oman’s first dedicated Islamic bank offering a unique banking experience that combines Shari’a compliant products and services with today’s dynamic financial requirements. Since its inception in January 2013, the Bank has become a reliable partner to a growing customer-base seeking an alternative to conventional banking. With a number of innovative and competitive propositions, its portfolio ranges from a full suite of personal banking solutions to relationship management and treasury products for global markets.
With less than two years of operations, Bank Nizwa has expanded its reach, opening nine branches across Oman in Muscat, Ghoubra, Al Khoud, Nizwa, Samail, Sohar, Ibra, Sur and Salalah. As of September 30th 2014, its total assets reached OMR 257 million, representing a 49% growth over the same period in 2013 with shares traded on the Muscat Securities Market (OM: BKNZ). Further information on Bank Nizwa is available on www.banknizwa.om.
Originally published on www.zawya.com/