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Bank Muscat Green Sports initiative makes headway

MUSCAT, 23 April 2012 – The Green Sports initiative launched by Bank Muscat, as part of a unique Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project aimed at contributing to developing a sporting nation, has made headway as agreements signed to support and finance sports clubs across Oman to green their playing fields have yielded positive results.

A committee overseeing the implementation of Green Sports visited the grounds of Al Noor Team in the wilayat of Musannah and Al Hoqain Team in the wilayat of Rostaq to review the progress of the greening project. Both the teams were among the 10 clubs which received the Green Sports assistance to green their playing fields in 2012.

Essam Al Sharji, CSR Manager, said: “We are impressed with the progress being made by Al Noor Team and Al Hoqain Team in greening their playing fields. The bank will support all deserving clubs across the Sultanate to green their playing fields. To achieve the goals of the initiative, the bank is currently evaluating applications in order to provide a chance for more clubs to green their playing fields. The initiative is a strategic decision by the bank in collaboration with the Ministry of Sports Affairs to promote Oman as a sporting nation.”

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 across Oman. The 5-year programme aims to identify clubs and teams across Oman to green their playing fields. The bank recognises that local clubs wield immense influence on neighbourhood communities, especially youth, hence clubs with modern infrastructure facilities can help raise sporting heroes for the country.

The initiative is in line with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), which has included Green Sports in its current 10-year program: Resolution 2997 XXVII. Sporting activities involving environmental commitment are now playing an increasingly important role at the global level in focusing recognition on protecting our planet.

The Green Sports initiative allows Bank Muscat to closely align itself with the global UNEP programme. The bank will primarily develop green playing fields across Oman and launch many community projects targeting the youth, who represents 70 per cent of the Sultanate’s population. Many CSR projects by Bank Muscat will be clustered around sports, an essential activity for everyone’s well-being. These sports activities will take place in green fields developed by the bank.

Al Sharji added: “The Green Sports initiative reiterates the bank’s support to Oman’s youth who represent the future of Oman. The initiative also contributes to sustainable development and protection of the environment, thereby ensuring all-round development in Oman.”

True to its commitment to supporting varied sporting activities in the country, Bank Muscat remains at the forefront in offering the required encouragement and support to youth. As the nation’s leading financial institution, Bank Muscat aims to motivate other corporates to provide the required impetus for youth to excel in all arenas and thereby contribute to the development and progress of Oman.










Bank Muscat wins HR Leadership Award

MUSCAT, 22 April 2013 - Bank Muscat, the flagship financial services provider in the Sultanate, has won a prestigious HR Leadership award in recognition of vital contributions to moulding the finest Omani talents. For the second time, Salim Al Kaabi, DGM – Human Resources, was conferred with the HR Leadership Award hosted by the Employer Branding Institute, CMO Asia.

Bank Muscat was cited as a best employer brand with a distinct identity visible through HR practices, polices and strategy. The award acknowledged exemplary excellence in learning and development initiatives; distinctiveness in employee hiring; training and retention practices and continuous innovation.

Salim al Kaabi said: “We are greatly honoured to be chosen for this prestigious award. Bank Muscat considers intellectual capital as corporate asset and managing employee potential as a crucial element of delivering shareholder value. The bank pursues effective engagement of employee retention and optimal performance of the workforce.”

Bank Muscat’s achievements in the development of human resources have been consistently recognised locally and internationally. Bank Muscat is the first bank in the world to receive PCMM Level-3 certification for benchmark human resources processes. Notable achievements include the Hewitt recognition as the Middle East’s Best Employer and the Investor in People award. On several occasions, the Ministry of Manpower has appreciated the bank’s human resources development initiatives.


Bank Muscat customer service endorsed by ISO certification

MUSCAT, 21 April 2013 - Bank Muscat, the flagship financial services provider in the Sultanate, has won a prestigious ISO certification covering all the branches and departments. The BSI London conducted the ISO 9001 recertification process for the bank’s branches and departments wherein BSI appreciated the bank’s efforts to maintain up-to-date ISO standards and awarded the certificate with nil non-conformities.


Thania Al Jahdhamy, Head - Customer Services & Quality, said: “The ISO certification demonstrates the bank’s commitment to quality customer service. Our focus to continuous improvement is reflected in effective communication, ongoing staff training, initiation of major projects to improve customer service and operational efficiency, thereby benchmarking the quality of products to international standards. The clear policies and procedures, complemented by easy channels to communicate with customers, reiterate our commitment towards customer-centricity that makes the difference as the No. 1 banking services provider in the country.”


Bank Sohar hosts Annual Corporate Dinner

Muscat, April 21, 2013: On Sunday, April 14, 2013, Bank Sohar hosted a corporate dinner at the Al Bustan palace – Ritz Carlton Hotel in honor of its corporate clients. In addition to retail and wealth management, Bank Sohar also has a large commercial portfolio. As such, the “Corporate Dinner” was a gathering of top-notch personalities from the banking and business sectors in Oman.

The eventful evening commenced with the emcees presenting the welcoming remarks followed by a speech by Dr. Mohamed Abdulaziz Kalmoor, the Chief Executive Officer of Bank Sohar, who thanked customers for their continued patronage. He noted that despite challenges in the financial services industry, Bank Sohar continued to grow and serve its clients with top-class customer service.

"The strength of our bank allows us to remain a reliable financial associate to our valued corporate customers," said Dr. Mohamed Abdulaziz Kalmoor.

"Despite the challenging market, we have successfully continued to help our clients and community grow. It is our endless effort in pushing ourselves to perform better and better each year that has continued to earn us better recognition in Oman’s financial market."

“We ascribe to the Blue Ocean Strategy, whereby we try not to rely too much on the spaces occupied by the other competitive players. We strive to create our own space and operate in it. No business today that seeks to outperform the market can do so by simply following the others,” he added.

He also said that customers can expect to see a slew of innovative products from Bank Sohar over the coming months. These products have been specifically designed to offer simplified banking solutions for complex tasks, allowing them to spend more time focused on their core business.


GCC energy sector to get power via massive investments

Albert Fahil

GCC is to bring new laws to regulate foreign workers. According to the related sources many unskilled employees are brought in GCC by various agencies and these workers have no working or academic experience to carry on their assigned duties. The officials in GCC countries related to labour matters state that bringing in unskilled workers to the Gulf cause many troubles not only in the working environment, but also in the social spheres of relevant countries. Meanwhile, director of the Oman Railway Project this week stated that the contract to select a project management consultant for the national railway project would be awarded in June or July and it would be followed by offering the contract to design and build the railway line.

This week the USA agreed to help open a custom facility in Abu Dubai. It will be the first of its kind to set up by the USA in the Middle East. It will ease the difficulties of passengers by checking them at the custom facility in Abu Dubai before arriving in the USA, thus curtailing the inspection of USA airports upon their arrivals. Meanwhile, in order to protect domestic workers in the UAE, a new rule to be passed very soon, a high official from the UAE legal system stated. Human traffickers take advantage of the loose point of the law and exploit foreign domestic workers in many ways and the new law is to shield such gaps in the law, it was reported.

The GCC countries are to invest over $300 billion in the energy sector within the next two decades. More than 20 power supplying projects will be funded by the new investment tripling the current energy supply over the next two and half decades, sources revealed. Current energy supply of the GCC countries is about 60,000MW, which is barely enough for regional power needs. Meanwhile, PhoCusWright, a global travel market research company stated mid week that the travel market of Qatar would grow by $7.7 billion by 2014 due to the keen focus of the government on the field. The tourist market of Qatar earned $5.4 billion last year according to the official data relevant to the field.


Bank Muscat workshop on cost control a boost for SMEs

MUSCAT, 20 April 2013 – Existing and prospective entrepreneurs turned out in large numbers at a workshop on ‘How to manage cash and control cost’ hosted by Bank Muscat in collaboration with International Finance Corporation (IFC) at the bank’s head office.

Rami Camel-Toueg, certified management consultant from the Institute of Management Consultancy in the United Kingdom and certified master trainer from Business Edge – IFC, World Bank, conducted the workshop attended by SME owners and staff.


Bank Sohar Announces First Quarter Results for 2013

Net Profit Grows by 14.1% to RO 6.081 Million

Muscat, April 21, 2013: Bank Sohar today announced its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2013. The bank’s Net Profit grew by 14.1% to RO 6.081mn. Bank Sohar’s total assets grew from RO 1,559.28mn in 2012 to RO 1,789.62mn, a growth of 14.8%. Net Loans and advances grew by 9.4% to RO 1,155.56mn in comparison to RO 1,055.8mn in 2012.  A similar rise was seen in the bank’s deposits which stood at RO 1,310.48mn by the end of March’13, a growth of 10.03% over last year. The total shareholder equity increased to RO 157.23mn an increase of 23.6% over last year. This figure also includes the rights issue of 10mn raised during the quarter for the Islamic Banking Window.


Bank Muscat to host SME workshop on cost control

MUSCAT, 16 April 2013 - Bank Muscat SME department in collaboration with International Finance Corporation (IFC) is hosting a workshop on ‘How to manage cash and control cost’ on Thursday (18 April 2013) at the bank’s head office.

Rami Camel-Toueg, certified management consultant from the Institute of Management Consultancy in the United Kingdom and certified master trainer from Business Edge – IFC, World Bank, will conduct the workshop designed for SME owners and staff.

In an environment where competition is becoming tougher, more and more external variables are becoming uncontrollable. Understanding and controlling cost components together with managing cash as an enterprise, is becoming one of the few vital internal variable essential for an Omani SME to survive and grow.

The issue of controlling costs is currently one of the key problems faced by SMEs.

The workshop will focus on different types of costs and define the role of controlling costs by analysing cost variance. The participants will be given training in using tools for controlling costs and creating cost consciousness within an enterprise.


Bank Muscat Q1 net profit at RO 25 million

MUSCAT, 17 April, 2013 - Bank Muscat, the flagship financial institution in the Sultanate, posted a net profit of RO 25 million in the first quarter of 2013 compared to RO 33.4 million reported during the same period in 2012. Announcing the preliminary Q1 results, the bank said an exceptional operating loss provision of RO 15 million relating to the Prepaid Travel Card fraud incident (as disclosed to the market on 25 and 26 February 2013) has been considered in the first quarter accounts in accordance with IFRS. The bank is working on various channels to recover the loss arising from this exposure, it added


The bank’s key business lines continued to perform well in line with expectation and market potential. The bank commenced its Islamic Banking window ‘Meethaq’ at the start of the quarter and is now offering a suite of Islamic banking products to clients. The bank maintains a complete segregated book of accounts for Meethaq business in compliance with Sharia rules and the Central Bank of Oman Islamic Banking Regulatory Framework. Meethaq financial results are consolidated in the bank’s financial statements for the purpose of consolidated financial reporting and include appropriate disclosures relating to Islamic banking business.


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