Bank Muscat makes headway as key partner in nation building

Roundup Tuesday 14/November/2017 18:58 PM
By: Times News Service
Bank Muscat makes headway as key partner in nation building

Muscat: Coinciding with the 47th National Day commemorating the glorious achievements of Oman under the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, Bank Muscat, the flagship financial services provider in the Sultanate, has reiterated committed to supporting the government objectives in diversifying the national economy and promoting the country’s progress and development.
The occasion is a milestone for the bank, which marks its 35th anniversary. Leading by example over the past 35 years, Bank Muscat has seized every opportunity to contribute to the Sultanate’s economic growth and sustainable development, creating opportunities for individuals and businesses to grow and prosper.
Abdul Razak Ali Issa, the chief executive, said: “Bank Muscat is proud to join the nation in celebrating the 47th National Day, highlighting the glorious achievements under the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said. The bank began its journey in 1982 with the mission of creating value for the nation and its people. During the past 35 years since its inception, the bank has been closely associated with the progressive march of the nation in all realms, participating in the country’s development projects and complementing the government’s endeavours to boost the national economy.”
Bank Muscat has the largest network of 146 branches, 645 ATMs & CDMs and 18,000 PoS terminals spread across the Sultanate. The trust and confidence reposed by the people and the nation have helped the bank to maintain the leadership position.
Building on the government emphasis to diversify the economy and to encourage private sector participation in national development, Bank Muscat plays an integral part in large-scale infrastructure projects. The bank has been associated with major syndicated financing programmes across various sectors as the mandated lead arranger. The bank's clients include multinational and domestic companies engaged in activities across all sectors of the economy such as contracting, trading, power, water, telecommunications, oil & gas, aviation, shipping, airport and ports, gas & petrochemicals, real estate and international trading. The bank posted a net profit of OMR130.26 million for the nine months ended 30 September 2017.
Electronic channels enhance banking convenience
Marked by speed, convenience and security, Bank Muscat’s electronic banking channels enable financial transactions anytime, anywhere. The technology focus of Bank Muscat is reflected in the largest network of interconnected branches, payment gateways, cards, merchant services, alternate channels of ATMs, CDMs, online and mobile banking as well as connectivity with utility service providers. The latest addition is Oman’s first mobile wallet launched by Bank Muscat, which marks yet another secure and convenient payment channel as part of the country’s e-Government initiative.
ATMs form a pillar of customer service and Bank Muscat can proudly claim that its network of ATMs and CDMs spread across the country is the preferred choice. Being a member of OmanSwitch and GCCNet, customers from any bank in Oman, the GCC countries and from around the world can use Bank Muscat ATMs for their cash requirements.
The bank’s state-of-the-art mobile banking service has made banking truly mobile for the largest banking family in Oman who can bank 24/7 ‘anytime, anywhere’. Notably, the mBanking application works on almost all mobile phones and is customised for iPhones, Blackberry and Android-based phones with simple icons and menus.
Driven by the latest technological features offering a wide range of options, the internet banking service helps Bank Muscat customers bank at convenience from ‘anywhere, anytime’. For people constantly on the move, the online banking service is a boon.
The simple-to-use 24/7 service is available at
For corporate customers, the internet banking service provides total control of finance 24 hours-a-day. In addition to managing and transferring funds between own accounts as well as other accounts within Bank Muscat, corporates can arrange for local and international transfers, bill payments, transfer of salaries, vendor payments and much more in a secure environment.
The first social media account in the banking sector in Oman launched by Bank Muscat for innovative customer service has proved popular. The dedicated Twitter account @bankmuscatcare reflects the latest trends in banking and facilitates real-time communication between customers and the bank on inquiries and feedback.
Customers can contact the Call Centre on 24795555 any time of the day from anywhere in the world and use the robust Integrated Voice Response (IVR) system to obtain required information or contact Phone Bankers for assistance. In the event of card loss, customers can themselves block their cards through the IVR system.
Bank Muscat customers are increasingly moving to electronic banking channels owing to the adaptive and flexible nature of services. The bank is focused on adding value and engaging customers through their preferred banking channels.
The bank regularly communicates and interacts with customers to ensure the highest levels of security for banking transactions through various channels. Drawing attention to the dangers of identity theft and financial fraud, the bank alerts customers on fraudulent methods such as phishing, smishing, vishing and social engineering in which gullible victims fall prey to financial loss.
Innovative human resources development
Bank Muscat has the distinction of outstanding leadership at all levels and has achieved 94.57 per cent Omanisation, giving priority for Omanis to occupy key positions. The bank’s human resources strategy is notable in maintaining gender diversity as 48 per cent of employees is women holding various positions, including senior management positions. Of the total 3610 employees, the number of women employees presently stands at 1715.
Bank Muscat reckons its competent people as a key strength and is focused on equipping them to make vital contributions to the bank's growth and success. The bank plays a prominent role in the development of Omani talent and is committed to investing in improving their skill and expertise.
The development of human resources is a priority in the bank which provides relevant educational and training opportunities to employees. The training and development programmes are carried out through specialised courses conducted by accredited training centres or through academic links with colleges, universities and leading training institutes at the regional and global levels. The Jadara talent management programme serves as the platform for all training and development programmes in the bank.
The bank earmarks substantial allocation for training and development of human resources in all functions and responsibilities assigned to them. The bank’s Learning & Development Centre organised 631 programmes during the first 9 months of 2017 compared to 425 programmes in 2016. 12,702 employees participated in these programmes, including 11,645 Omanis, covering 16,243 man-days.
During the year, the bank launched the High Potential (HiPo) Graduate Development programme inviting 20 of the best graduates from leading Omani and international universities. The batch is currently undergoing a thorough development journey for the next 2 years. Talent review process was initiated where a number of bank staff was identified to be a part of the Talent Pool. They will be undergoing a rigorous 2-year development programme. Additionally, a critical role analysis was conducted to identify critical roles across the bank along with their succession plan.
Boost for SME development
Reiterating the commitment to sustainable development and complementing government efforts in strengthening the role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the economic development of Oman, Bank Muscat has launched a series of unique initiatives. Serving as building blocks for existing and prospective entrepreneurs, these initiatives assume importance in the backdrop of the priority accorded by the government to develop the SME sector in Oman.
Enterprising entrepreneurs who completed SME training programmes from the bank’s al Wathbah Academy centres are successfully following their business dreams, contributing to the country’s progress and development. Notably, the SME training programme is benefiting entrepreneurs across the Sultanate to acquire the required skill-set and knowledge to chart successful business ventures.
The bank’s al Wathbah SME department offers a comprehensive suite of tailor-made finance solutions and non-financial services targeted at small and medium enterprises. Credit facilities, both short-term and long-term in nature, are available to all sectors. Further support is extended through non-financial services in areas of education, coaching, networking opportunities and workshops.
Offering a major boost for start-up and small businesses in Oman, the specially designed najahi products fulfil the primary need of finance for the micro and small business segment.
Targeting SMEs, the bank has lined up educational workshops to raise awareness on alternative sources of energy in the country. The programme highlights business opportunities available for SMEs from renewable energy sources like solar power.
Committed to social development
As a forward-looking financial institution, Bank Muscat is at the forefront in contributing to society and thereby setting a fine example for the corporate sector to develop social responsibility as a corporate culture. As the pioneer of CSR activities in the banking sector in Oman, the bank has over the years implemented several initiatives benefiting various segments of society.
Central to the bank’s CSR programmes is the Green Sports initiative to promote Oman as a sporting nation and the national game of football. As part of the programme, the bank in a record time has achieved notable success in developing green fields in all parts of the Sultanate, thus contributing to realising the sporting dreams of youth. The Green Sports initiative launched by Bank Muscat in 2012 has gained momentum with 78 sports teams across the Sultanate benefiting from the support till date.
Jesr Al Mustaqbal educational support offered by the bank covers students from low income or social welfare families. The programme in partnership with the Ministry of Higher Education provides educational and vocational training support, including sponsorship to complete bachelor degree programmes. Jesr Al Mustaqbal beneficiaries serve as great influencers on their families and the future generation in achieving a better quality of life.
The Tadhamun programme launched by Bank Muscat in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development reaches out to social welfare families across the Sultanate. The programme is focused on the distribution of basic electronic home appliances, including air-conditioners and refrigerators, to help them cope with the arid weather conditions. The bank distributes basic home appliances to an average 150 families every year, contributing to a safe, healthy environment.
Leaving an imprint
Imprints, the bank’s largest CSR initiative, was launched in 2016 to address the changing economic environment and current social issues. Stemming from the Royal directive of His Majesty to accord priority for social responsibility, the initiative is the first-of-its-kind in Oman in terms of its scope and reach, seeking to unite different segments of people in making a big difference in reciprocating to what the country has given them.
Highly ambitious in its scope and reach, the Imprints initiative is a unique public-private partnership launched by the bank in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Tourism, Muscat Municipality and the Public Authority for Consumer Protection. The four pillars of the Imprints initiative are focused on programmes to inculcate financial literacy, promote sustainable tourism, sustain the green environment and encourage enriched lifestyle.
Bank Muscat has drawn up a wide-ranging plan on the Imprints platform to demonstrate its commitment to be the most exemplary corporate citizen in Oman and thereby motivate others to follow suit with similar initiatives benefiting the nation.
Partners with the Imprints programme include the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to provide the necessary know-how, tools and capacity on green home financing. The move is aimed at promoting energy efficient green buildings in the country to reduce energy costs and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Meethaq Islamic Banking, in step with its commitment to social responsibility, has defined benchmarks in the conservation of energy and financial literacy programmes as part of the Imprints CSR initiative. At a time when the role of Islamic finance is increasingly seen in supporting economic and social development, Meethaq remains committed to social responsibility initiatives contributing to sustainable development in Oman.
Meethaq consolidates leadership
Within four years of operations, Meethaq Islamic Banking has consolidated its leadership position. Notably, Meethaq has crossed a milestone of over OMR1 billion in assets. Presently, Meethaq accounts for over 33% market share in terms of assets and is the market leader in Islamic banking in Oman.
Meethaq has many achievements contributing to the growth and development of the Sultanate’s economy. Meethaq extends support to all key economic sectors in the Sultanate. The notable finance facilities offered by Meethaq include the refinancing of OMR78 million signed with Oman Shipping Company for its three very large crude carriers (VLCCs). Meethaq took another major stride as Oman’s first and only Shari'a-based aircraft financier to the national carrier Oman Air for acquiring its second Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Aimed at enhancing in-country value and sustainable development, Meethaq extended project finance for Sebacic Oman setting up the world’s largest plant for sebacic acid. Supporting food security of the country under Tanfeedh initiatives (National Programme for Enhancing Economic Diversification), Meethaq extended OMR50 million project finance to A’ Namaa Poultry setting up the biggest poultry project in Oman.
Meethaq is the first Islamic banking entity to obtain CMA approval for a Sukuk issuance targeting retail investors in Oman. The Meethaq Sukuk programme evoked an overwhelming response to the maiden OMR25-million issuance.
In recognition of outstanding achievements and commitment to offering world-class banking service to customers, Bank Muscat has won all prestigious local, regional and global awards. Bank Muscat is progressing well on track with clarity on its dynamic ‘Let’s Do More’ vision, values and strategy, which have helped in distinguishing itself in banking excellence, and remains focused on its customer-centric strategy to sustain the competitive advantage.