Muscat: ahlibank is all set to launch its Islamic Banking services window across Oman under the Al Hilal Islamic Banking Services brand.
Al Hilal Islamic Banking services will provide Islamic banking products and services built on the tenants of truth and transparency in banking and will be fully segregated from the conventional branches. The bank will be launching six branches from the very start covering a wide geographical area in the Sultanate and will be providing a full-fledged banking experience with a full tray of products to both retail and commercial customer from the launch.
Abdullah Al Jabri DGM at ahlibank commented on what to expect from Al Hilal Islamic Banking Services "Islamic finance, by its very nature, is a financial system that highlights the importance of aligning the objectives of businesses with the needs of the community to ensure that the overall well being of society is not forgotten when pursuing investment opportunities. Our products are designed to highlight both the social and economic side of Islamic banking. We will be starting off with six branches from day one, and these branches will be ready to provide all of our products which include retail and commercial products from the very start."
Jabri also added, "We have been gearing up for the last year to insure a smooth start to our Islamic banking services, our focus was to educate the market about Islamic banking and thus we conducted a number of educational seminars around the country to increase awareness about Islamic banking. As one of the leading bank's in the country we wanted to be able to cater to the needs of all our customers whether individuals or companies from the very start of our operations. Our focus during the last year has been on training our staff and insuring that our products and services not only serve the requirements of our customers but also provide them with the comfort of banking within Islamic principles. We believe that a well-equipped, knowledgeable workforce is vital for successful operations, we always strive to provide the best possible service to our customers and it's vital that the staff members dealing with them have substantial knowledge about Shari'a principles, models and structures. We are proud to say that we had set a very high benchmark for the training needs of our staff and have achieved it, we had 21 staff members who achieved Islamic Bankers certification at the start of 2011 and now we have over 40 certified Islamic bankers in our ranks."
Speaking about the products that will be available to customers Al Jabry added, "One of the unique and salient characteristics of Islamic banking is the integration of ethical and moral values with the banking operations. The ethical and moral consideration of Islamic banks cannot be detached and their behaviour should be consistent with the moral and ethical standards laid down by the Islamic Shari'a. We have made this characteristic a central pillar in all our products and services and our aim is to provide a service, which showcases truth and transparency in banking. We did not want to start off with just one or two products, instead our focus was that from the very beginning we will be able to provide a full set of products that cater to the needs of the economy of the Sultanate. We will have all the Islamic retail products which include mortgage finance, car finance, saving schemes and much more, our commercial banking products which include trade finance, treasury, working capital finance and other commercial banking products will be available to all our customers the day we open the doors to our branches. We have insured that procedures, approvals and documents of alhilal are approved by our Shari'a Board, which comprises of renowned scholars. In addition to that, we have an internal Sharia Compliance department which ensures that all the Fatwas/Verdicts of the Shari'a Board are implemented in letter and in spirit.
Al Hilal Islamic Banking Services will be launching six branch