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Bank Muscat joins hands with OFA to make HM’s Cup finals memorable

MUSCAT, 22 May 2014 – Bank Muscat, the flagship financial services provider in the Sultanate, as part of its commitment to promoting the development of youth and the national game of football,  has joined hands with Oman Football Association (OFA) to make the finals of His Majesty's Cup Football Championship a memorable experience for football enthusiasts in Oman. Sheikh Hazzaa Salim Al Marzuf Al Saadi, CEO of Oman Football Association, and Salim Al Kaabi, DGM – Human Resources, signed an agreement endorsing the bank’s lead support to the thrilling finals to be played between Al Nahda and Fanja teams on Saturday 24 May at Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex from 7.30 pm.


Salim Al Kaabi said: “As the nation’s leading financial institution, Bank Muscat aims to strongly convey the message of support to varied sporting activities so as to motivate others to follow suit and provide the required impetus for the country to excel in sports and games. The gesture is in line with the directive of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos to support the development of youth in Oman. Bank Muscat will continue to extend support and encouragement to national sporting events. As Al Nahda and Fanja teams take the field for the prestigious championship, Bank Muscat wishes them good luck in lifting the game of football to new highs in Oman.”

Bank Muscat is a major supporter of the national football team in international tournaments. The bank was the first private sector institution to announce financial support to both the Oman national teams playing in the Asian qualifier for 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and 2012 Olympics in London. During the Gulf Cup tournaments, Bank Muscat led by example, being the first private sector institution to announce cash bonanzas for the national team.


Bank Sohar Launches Sohar Islamic Microsite

Muscat | May 21, 2014: Bringing excellence closer to Islamic banking customers, Bank Sohar is proud to have launched a dedicated Sohar Islamic corporate website that aims to provide a portal through which potential and current customers can benefit. The newly designed website embraces the quintessential Sohar Islamic brand image, values and motifs as well as the Omani theme that has provided the original inspiration for Sohar Islamic’s brand identity, name, logo and design.

On the launch of the dedicated Sohar Islamic corporate website, Dr. Mohamed Abdulaziz Kalmoor, CEO of Bank Sohar said: “Since the launch of our Islamic banking window - Sohar Islamic, our efforts have always been focused at offering and delivering the best of Islamic banking services to customers.  In order to achieve our goals, we have partnered with Dar Al Sharia to offer Sharia-based banking solutions to ensure that there are no compromises in the development of our products, processes and systems at Sohar Islamic. It gives us great pride and joy to have launched the Sohar Islamic corporate microsite which will further assist our potential and current customers in identifying their choice of banking.”


Bank Sohar Celebrate its 1st Credit Card Promotion Draw along with Al Mumayaz Saving Scheme Weekly Draw in Seeb Branch

Muscat, May 20, 2014: Bank Sohar continues its bank-wide weekly-draw tour to promote the Al Mumayaz Savings Scheme 2014; this time holding its RO 5,000 draw under the Al Mumayaz Savings Scheme at its branch in Seeb. The draw witnessed a customer from the Bank’s Salalah branch take home the cash prize. Adding to the celebrations, Bank Sohar also conducted draws to announce the first 25 winners of its Credit Card Shop & Win Promotion at the same event.

The event was presided over by Shiekh Hamad Ali Bani Oraba, one of Bank Sohar’s VIP customers. Mr. Mazin Mahmood Al Raisi, AGM & Head of Marketing & Publicity, Mr. Redha Al Lawatia, Head of Retail liabilities, and Mr. Adnan Al Balushi, Seeb Branch Manager, were present to welcome the Chief Guest and witness the Weekly Draw which saw Ahmed Salim Al Rawas from the Bank’s Salalah branch take home the cash prize of RO 5,000.

On this occasion, Mr. R Narasimhan, DGM & Head Retail Banking in Bank Sohar commented, “The Al Mumayaz savings scheme 2014 was conceived specifically for the purpose of allowing a varied range of customers to participate & win. Thanks to our nominal entry requirements of a minimum average balance of OMR 100, and giving them more incentives to save money whilst ensuring the most exciting cash prizes. We also have exclusive draws for our most dedicated customers who maintain a minimum monthly average balance of RO 10,000, ensuring that those saving more with us have an opportunity to win exclusive rewards.”

In addition to the Weekly draw, the Bank also conducted the first monthly draw for its Credit Card Shop & Win Promotion; which the Bank had launched last month alongside its ‘Travel Now, Pay Later’ promotion. The ‘Shop & Win’ promotion offers Bank Sohar Excel Credit Card customers a chance to enter monthly draws to win great prizes that include electronic gadgets and devices on any purchases of RO 50 or more either through Point of Sale (POS) or through the Internet. Any customer using Bank Sohar Classic, Gold, Platinum, Internet or Infinite Credit Cards can avail this offer until it ends on June 30. This draw marks the first of two for this promotion, awarding 25 lucky customers with amazing electronic gadgets as prizes.

“Such offers showcase Bank Sohar’s commitment towards customizing products, services and promotions to suit client requirements and seasons as well as continually improve their overall banking experience,” added Mr. R Narasimhan. “I would also like to congratulate all of the winners and wish our customers the best of luck in all our upcoming.”

Perfectly complimenting the Shop & Win promotion, the Travel Now, Pay Later promotion allows the Bank’s Credit Card customers to avail the convenience of making Travel Arrangements of OMR 500 or above and paying back the amount in equal monthly instalments over 12 months, with the advantage of 0% interest over the payment period. Furthermore, purchases made as part of this promotion are also eligible for the ‘Shop & Win’ promotion.

Aside from regular special offers such as these, Bank Sohar Excel Credit Cards also provide an array of other benefits to customers including Travel Insurance, Purchase Protection, Zero Lost Card Liability, Free Priority Pass and online shopping security via Verified by Visa and more.

Bank Sohar’s credit cards are also accepted worldwide for making payments and can also be used for cash withdrawals at more than 800,000 ATMs worldwide. As such, customers can use their credit cards while making purchases, whether they are in Oman or abroad. Together with the Bank’s best-in-class services, this latest service will add to the appeal of Bank Sohar credit cards as among the most sought-after in the country.

The Bank also has an extensive network of ATM’s totalling 50 machines across the Sultanate.  In addition, Bank Sohar customers continue to enjoy the privilege of free-of-charge transactions in over 1,000 ATMs under the ‘OmanNet’ platform. Bank’s ATMs at Buraimi and Wajajah borders continue to operate with the ‘Dirhams Dispensing’ facility; thus adding immense convenience to businessmen who travel and transact business across the border on a regular basis, as well as to customers who visit the United Arab Emirates. The bank’s customers also enjoy the advantage of a Cash Deposit facility at all branch ATMs as another value-added service.

For further details on the current promotions, Bank Sohar’s credit card portfolio and the Bank’s Al Mumayaz Savings Scheme 2014, please visit Bank Sohar’s official website at You can also follow the Bank on Facebook at, on Instagram at or join the conversation on Twitter @banksohar_excel.

Bank Muscat extends lead support to wedding exhibition

MUSCAT, 20 May 2014 – Bank Muscat, the flagship financial services provider in the Sultanate, as part of its social commitment has extended lead support to the 6th Muscat Wedding Exhibition presently under way at Oman International Exhibition Centre. The bank’s participation in the event is highlighted by the first-of-its-kind Zaffaa marriage loan which fulfills a long-felt social need in extending a helping hand to Omani youth requiring financial support to conduct their marriage.

As the nation’s leading banking partner, Bank Muscat attaches great importance to social responsibility and initiatives aimed at sustaining the country’s progress and development. Targeted at unmarried Omani youth, Zaffaa reiterates Bank Muscat’s commitment to the country’s future generations. As per the 2010 census figures, around 58 per cent of Omani nationals comprise youth spread across all regions of Oman. Zaffaa caters to this segment as there is a big demand for such a product in Oman.

Omani nationals above 18 years, both men and women, are eligible to apply for Zaffaa. The maximum loan amount is RO 20,000 with 5-year tenure for repayment. For eligibility, the minimum monthly salary requirement is RO 250 for government and quasi government employees and RO 500 for employees of Tier 1, 2 companies.


Emirates NBD becomes first Middle East bank to unveil tablet based financial planning

Next generation of financial planning applications for Emirates NBD’s Priority Banking Relationship Managers and Wealth Management Advisors

Dubai, May 20, 2014: Emirates NBD, a leading bank in the region, announced today the launch of “Tablet Banking Service,” becoming the first bank in the Middle East to unveil tablet-based financial planning, which is set to redefine the way in which Relationship Managers connect with their clients. Launched for the bank’s Priority Banking Relationship Managers and Wealth Management advisors, the new apps allows them access to customer information by using the secure tablet banking interface.

More specifically, this next generation of “Tablet Banking Apps” will help Emirates NBD’s Relationship Managers and Wealth Advisors understand customer needs, including risk profile and financial goals; and suggest an optimal asset allocation strategy, as well as weigh various financial options from a wide array of the bank’s product menu.

Furthermore, Emirates NBD has integrated its Wealth Optimizer tool into the next generation “Tablet Banking Apps.” Wealth Optimizer is a comprehensive wealth management tool designed to meet the investment requirements of its affluent and emerging affluent customers. Integrating Wealth Optimizer into the “Tablet Banking Apps” brings to life Emirates NBD’s philosophy of customer-centric consultative approach and tailoring investment solutions to the unique requirements of customers.


Bank Muscat to hand over green playground to Al Najoum team in Khabourah

MUSCAT, 19 May 2014 – The Green Sports initiative launched by Bank Muscat in collaboration with the Ministry of Sports Affairs to promote Oman as a sporting nation is making steady progress across the Sultanate as a green playground developed as part of the unique CSR programme will be handed over to Al Najoum team in the wilayat of Al Khabourah. Shaikh Saif bin Hilal bin Sultan al Hosni, Vice-President of Oman Olympic Committee and President of Oman Athletics Federation, will preside as guest of honour at the ceremony on Friday 23 May, to be attended by dignitaries and senior officials from the bank.

The Green Sports initiative was launched by the bank in 2012 to lay the foundation at the grass-root level for a sustainable sports infrastructure. As part of the programme, 20 sports clubs have already been given support to green their playing fields. To achieve the goals of the initiative, the bank will support all deserving clubs across the Sultanate to green their playing fields.

The unique CSR initiative has yielded encouraging results with six teams already completing the project. Al Reef Team in the wilayat of Ibri was the first to receive a green playground developed by the bank, followed by A’dhahar Team in the wilayat of Bidiya, Bilad Seet Team in the wilayat of Bahla, Al Noor team in the wilayat of Musanah, Al Etihad team in the wilayat of Ibra and Al Qadsiya team in the wilayat of Adam.  


Bank Sohar Sponsors the Second Muscat Football Tournament Bank Sohar Supports Local Talent

Muscat, May 19, 2014: As part of their commitment towards promoting sport and local talent across the Sultanate, Bank Sohar recently sponsored the ‘Second Muscat Football Tournament’ organised by the Cultural & Social Division of the Bandar Al Khairan Sports Team. The event, which kicked-off early last month, saw one of the team’s from Muscat take home the cup in a nail-biting finals that took place on May 12.

The tournament was the second in what has now become an annual event and saw the participation of 24 teams from across the Muscat region. For the first part of the tournament, the teams were split into six groups of four teams. The highest scoring teams from the first round then took part in a knockout round which lead towards the finals. The finals took place recently at Bandar Al Khairan, under the auspices of Sheikh Khalid bin Hilal Al Maawaly, President of the Oman Shura Council. Mr. Abdullah Al Mahmoodi, the Chief Manager of Events & promotion at Bank Sohar, represented the Bank at the event.

Commenting on Bank Sohar’s sponsorship of the tournament, Ms. Munira Abdulnabi Macki, the DGM of Human Resource and Corporate Support said, “As the national Sport of the Sultanate, football holds a special place in the hearts of the people. As a proud local Bank, sponsoring the ‘Second Muscat Football Tournament’ was a pleasure and a privilege. Such tournaments are a great way to showcase the health and educational benefits of the sport, as well as encouraging professionalism, sportsmanship and teamwork within the community. Furthermore, it also provided us with a valuable opportunity to get closer to the people we serve and would like to serve.”


Global themes have local consequences in the GCC

•    The UAE and Qatar are standout emerging market performers this decade
•    USD pegged GCC currencies should benefit from the strengthening dollar
•    A stronger dollar and shale gas have implications for GCC investors
•    GCC investors faced with asset diversification and yield challenges

DUBAI – At a media roundtable today, an expert from Fidelity Worldwide Investment said that emerging global themes have significant local consequences for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

“The GCC was amongst the stand out emerging market economies over the last couple of years as global investors became more discriminate in picking the ‘winners of tomorrow’. Going forward, the region’s economies will be further supported by strong structural growth and increased government spending on infrastructure and social sectors. In this context, one does need to be aware of global themes as they do have some important local consequences”, said Tom Stevenson, Investment Director – Personal Investing at Fidelity Worldwide Investment.


Global Islamic banking assets set to exceed US$3.4 trillion by 2018

Dubai 19 May 2014: Global Islamic banking assets with commercial banks are on course to exceed US$3.4 trillion by 2018, fueled by growing economic activity in core Islamic finance markets according to specialists at EY’s Global Islamic Banking Center. The Center has also announced the launch of its Mandarin and Turkish editions of its Islamic banking research today.

Across the six markets of Qatar, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, UAE and Turkey (QISMUT), the combined profits of Islamic banks broke the US$10 billion mark for the first time at the end of 2013. If the current growth rate continues, the Islamic banking profit pool across QISMUT markets is set to exceed US$25 billion by 2018.

Ashar Nazim, Global Islamic Finance Leader at EY, says: “While the profit numbers for Islamic banks are impressive, they are still, on average, 15-19 percentage points lower than traditional banks in these markets. Regionalization and operational transformation, which are currently underway in several leading Islamic banks, will help to close this gap.”

Untapped potential

There is significant growth potential for the industry. There are an estimated 38 million customers who bank with Islamic retail banks globally, but only a small number of these customers have fully transitioned from a traditional to an Islamic banking relationship.  The average number of Islamic banking products per customer is just over two, whereas leading traditional banks have an average of five products per customer.

“Building consumer confidence through service excellence, especially when it comes to customers opening accounts and cross-selling can increase the market share of Islamic banks by 40% from these customers,” comments Ashar.

Another major opportunity is for Islamic banks to assist the SME sector with their cross-border business growth.

“With increasing trade and capital flows between Turkey, Middle East and Asia Pacific, there is growing appetite to learn about Islamic financial solutions from clients and investors in these markets. Similarly, linking with world growth engines like China and India is becoming more important to help build business bridges between these high potential markets,” adds Gordon Bennie, EY’s MENA Head of Financial Services.


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