Alizz islamic bank currently has six branches strategically positioned across the country and is the first financial institution in Oman to launch an “interactive teller machine” which allows us to serve our customers with significantly extended hours without losing personal contact, says its CEO, Salaam Said Al Shaksy.
Can you share with us details of the Bank’s performance since inception?
alizz islamic bank became operational in September 2013, but it was only in 2014 that the Bank started to effectively book significant business. We spent the first half of the year fine-tuning and further developing the operational platform. Since joining the Bank in June 2014, we complemented these efforts by putting together a senior management team to lead both the retail and wholesale divisions, the actual revenue engines for the Bank. The Bank has been recently assigned a long term credit rating of omBBB- (Investment grade) on a National Scale by Capital Intelligence as the first Islamic bank in the Sultanate to be rated by an international agency.
We are happy with what we have achieved so far, in terms of developing a genuine and organic Shari’a compliant business model, registering strong growth in our balance sheet, expanding our geographical presence, and setting up effective controls for a strong risk management framework.
Inspite of intense competition, alizz islamic bank has managed to achieve outstanding growth. Year on Year as of September 30, 2015, our Corporate Financing portfolio grew approximately 250 per cent (RO 61m), while the Retail Financing portfolio grew approximately 240 per cent (RO 59m).
The Bank continued to increase its funding base as well as to finance its balance sheet growth as total deposits increased to RO145.5 million at the end of September 2015 growing 1506 per cent year on year, representing a nominal growth value of RO136m.
What is your view on the customer need for Islamic banking and finance solutions in Oman?
As Islamic banking in Oman is still in its infancy with low levels of penetration compared to other GCC countries, Islamic banks should take advantage of growth opportunities to contribute more to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
We believe the willingness of customers to shift to Islamic banking based on faith alone will not result in exponential growth for any Islamic bank. As such, it is a golden opportunity for Islamic banks to retain existing customers and attract new customers through a high quality comprehensive product range in line with customers’ needs. Quality is important in ensuring we achieve sustainable value and it enables us to attract and retain loyal and discerning customers. Furthermore, I also believe that investing in and mobilising new distribution networks will attract more assets to the Islamic banking sector.
How is alizz islamic bank Oman setting itself apart from the competition in the local market? What’s different in the company ethos, products and service?
We carefully select our market segments and develop a deeper understanding of their needs and preference. Based on that, we develop the suite of products to meet their requirements. We also deliver these through innovative channels that go beyond the traditional brick and mortar branch. Finally, we ensure that the highest service quality standards are upheld by our employees and systems.
What are the Bank’s expansion plans for its distribution?
alizz islamic bank currently has 6 branches strategically positioned across the country and is the first financial institution in Oman to launch the “interactive teller machine” which allows us to serve our customers with significantly extended hours without losing personal contact, which is so important. In the future, it is our intent to reach many more customers through various means, including branch expansion, with a long term view of ensuring suitable coverage for all our target segments in all the geographies we plan to operate in and across an array of channels.