DUBAI Dec 19 Bank Muscat,
Oman's largest bank by assets, will set up a sharia-compliant
banking arm, it said in a statement, becoming the latest
financial institution to announce plans to operate in the
sultanate's fledgling Islamic finance sector.
Operating under the Meethaq brand name, the bank will
function independently from the conventional arm and has
appointed a three-member sharia board.
No timeframe for the start of operations was given, with the
new bank still subject to the Central Bank of Oman's approval,
the statement added.
Oman said in May it would allow Islamic banking in the
country for the first time, in an attempt to keep investment
funds in the Gulf state and grab a share of the rapidly growing
Earlier this month, Standard Chartered said it was
studying whether to offer Islamic banking in Oman.
So far, two new Islamic banks have been granted banking
licences - Bank Nizwa and Al Izz International Bank - while
conventional lenders are also allowed to establish Islamic
banking windows, as Bank Muscat has done.
(Reporting by David French; Editing by Firouz Sedarat)