Last week, National Bank of Oman (NBO) unveiled its new Islamic banking portal, Muzn Islamic Banking to members of the media and public. This launch makes NBO the latest bank to offer Sharia compliant Islamic banking, an industry that has gone on to become one of the fastest growing in Oman. Ehab Hashish will head Muzn.
At the launch, Ahmed al Musalmi, deputy CEO of NBO, said that Muzn Islamic Banking will provide customers the option of availing a banking service that is in compliance with their religion. However, he also added that there was very limited understanding of what Islamic banking even meant. “Although, since the passing of the Royal Decree for Islamic banking last year the sector has grown rapidly in this country, a lot of people are still not sure what Islamic finance is and it is for this reason that we will be undertaking a lot of workshops to educate people about it,” he said.
The name Muzn is the Arabic word for rain clouds that signify prosperity, according to Ahmed, while Sheikh Khalfan al Esry, Muzn’s Sharia supervisory board member, added, that the logo’s green colour not only signifies the colour of Islam but is also associated with growth. He said, “Islamic banking gives people an alternative that they have sought for a long time.”
On the company’s beliefs, Ahmed said, “We believe in faith, honesty and clarity at NBO and we promise that Muzn will adhere rigorously to Sharia principles and to the highest standards of professional conduct, corporate governance and ethics.” He added that Muzn will ensure transparency in banking with other non-Islamic banking institutions as well.
Khalfan said that just because Muzn was an Islamic banking institution, it did not mean that customers needed to be Muslim to avail their services. “It’s called Islamic banking but it might as well be just called ‘ethical’ banking,” he said. Muzn Islamic Banking is working on a few regulatory approvals after which the service will be made available to customers.