Ahlibank's Al Hilal Islamic Banking Services launched five branches on Tuesday with a sixth planned in Salalah by the end of next month.
Al Hilal said it is now ready to provide Islamic banking products and services with the window's operations being fully segregated from the bank's conventional activities.
Commenting on the launch, Hamdan bin Ali bin Nasser al Hinai, chairman of Ahlibank, said, “Islamic finance, by its very nature, is a financial system that highlights the importance of aligning the objectives of business with the needs of the community to ensure that the overall well-being of society is not forgotten when pursuing investment opportunities.”
“Our goal since the start was to launch Al Hilal Islamic Banking Services as a means to meet the needs of all customers in terms of truth, transparency and being fully Sharia compliant through an advanced Sharia-compliant system supervised by prominent Islamic finance experts who are members of the Sharia Supervisory Board (SSB) of the bank. This comes within the steady efforts made by the bank to ensure full transparency in all transactions,” he added.
Abdul Aziz al Balushi, chief executive officer of Ahlibank, said the focus during the first year would be to present its true identity and build a bridge of trust and confidence with customers.
“This will undoubtedly give us the required momentum and thrust to win the customers' confidence. Our services, products and dealing are built on the tenants of truth and transparency and are in accordance with Sharia principles to insure that we as an organisation are committed to providing the best products that the market has to offer,” he said.
Sheikh Aflah al Khalili, member of SSB, said the main aim behind the establishment of a board is to ensure that all products are Sharia-compliant. The board includes a number of prominent experts from inside and outside the sultanate.
“The products on offer will contribute to efforts made by the sultanate's government to enhance the role played by Islamic banking in achieving sustainable development as well as more progress and prosperity for the Omani people, he said.
The work of the SSB will be independent as it has the power to audit all contracts and transactions, give opinion and guidance. The bank’s management shall strictly follow the guidelines outlined by the Board to ensure that all the transactions are Sharia compliant.
Al Hilal launched five branches covering a wide geographical area of the country including branches in Samail, Bahla, Rustaq, Saham and Muscat and the sixth to be launched in Salalah in February.