MUSCAT – Meethaq Islamic Banking from Bank Muscat is the most popular and leading Islamic banking services provider in Oman and since its launch in 2012, it has been contributing to changing the landscape in the Omani banking sector. Through multiple steps and initiatives, Meethaq today offers a full suite of Shari’a-compliant retail, corporate banking and wholesale banking products and services to its wide range of customers whether they are individuals, corporates or government and private sector institutions. Meethaq has been actively supporting Oman’s economic development with its ever-growing suite of Islamic finance products and services, which provides banking solutions for sectors ranging from real estate and housing to manufacturing, energy, retail and food production
The many successes and achievements of Meethaq in partnering in the growth and development of Oman were highlighted during the media visit organised by Meethaq at the Bank Muscat Head Office to celebrate its 10th anniversary. Journalists and media professionals from over 30 different media houses attended the event, which was held in the presence of Shamzani Mohammed Hussain, General Manager – Meethaq Islamic Banking. During the media visit, the journalists were introduced to the world class Islamic banking products, services and facilities offered by Meethaq to its wide range of customers.
Modern banking products and services
Speaking on the occasion, Sami Arfah Bait Rashid, Assistant General Manager – Meethaq Personal Banking, explained about the products, services and banking facilities that Meethaq offers to its retail customers. He explained how Meethaq has been delivering world class innovative Islamic banking products and services in the Sultanate driven by its strong customer-centric vision. Meethaq products include savings accounts, current accounts, debit and credit cards, Hafawa Premier Banking, takaful options including motor, life and critical illness coverage plans as well as financing solutions for homes, cars, education, travel, household goods, and personal finance.
In line with its excellent customer-centric vision and full commitment to offer a world-class Islamic banking experience, Meethaq has established the largest Islamic branch network in Oman consisting of 12 branches in Muscat and 12 branches across other governorates. In addition to its already excellent network of branches, Meethaq has a dedicated network of over 40 ATMs/CDMs while also providing free access to about 800 ATMs and CDMs of Bank Muscat across the country for customers to conduct their banking transactions with ease. Customers can also benefit from the world-class Mobile and Internet banking facilities as well as access to a state-of-the-art call centre, which is easily reachable at 24656666.
Sami Bait Rashid explained that Meethaq is committed to continuous investments in the latest technologies to increase the efficiency of services, products and improved customer services, with a focus on a multi-channel approach to enhance efficiencies and to launch new products and services which meet both the current and future needs of its customers. This has resulted in Meethaq enjoying the tremendous confidence of its extensive base of different customer segments including the youth. He thanked Meethaq’s customers for their strong trust in Meethaq Islamic Banking over the last 10 years, and for their continued confidence in its new products and services.
Supporting institutions and corporates
Speaking about Meethaq’s contributions to the Corporate Banking space Ali Ahmed Al Lawati, Assistant General Manager – Meethaq Corporate Banking, explained how Meethaq is playing an essential role in supporting the economic sector in general, and the industrial sector in particular, as it is the preferred choice for companies whether in the investment side or benefiting from the banking facilities. He added that Meethaq’s large suite of cutting-edge Islamic banking offerings include project financing, working capital facilities, trade financing, access to the largest Islamic banking branch network in the Sultanate, and digital banking facilities.
Meethaq strongly believes in the tremendous investment prospects and opportunities for growth that the Sultanate of Oman provides and hence, it constantly develops new solutions, products and services to support Oman’s economic development. Today as part of its alignment to Oman Vision 2040 and the 10th 5-year plan, Meethaq is providing banking and financial services and facilities to diverse and vital sectors of the Sultanate including manufacturing, agriculture, fisheries, mining, logistics, education, and scientific research.
Throughout the past, Meethaq has been continuously working on improving its services and supporting the corporate sector in enhancing its competitiveness by providing a variety of banking facilities. Meethaq’s services include capital finance, term and project finance, contract finance, trade services, currency exchange services and tailored financing solutions for corporates based on their business needs. Other essential solutions offered by Meethaq include bank guarantees to third parties as well as Letters of Credit. These solutions facilitate the import and export of goods and the completion of various contracts for large entities.
Meethaq’s services also cover accounts like current accounts, deposits and call accounts and corporate purchase cards. Moreover, it offers special services related to transfers, collection of cheques, digital services, payments and currency services. All of these are designed in accordance with Islamic Sharia-compliant contracts such as Murabaha, Musharaka, Ijarah and Wakala amongst others. The products and services are available through the extended network of 24 Meethaq branches across the Sultanate. Meethaq Islamic Banking also offers a variety of banking solutions including the Ijarah financing solution and Diminishing Musharaka. Other essential solutions offered by Meethaq include bank guarantees to third parties as well as Letters of Credit, liquidity management solutions and Foreign Exchange services.
Ali Al Lawati also stressed on the importance of SMEs and sustainable development for Oman. Meethaq’s Shariah-compliant SME solutions are well designed by keeping in mind the essential role that SMEs play in supporting the Sultanate’s economy and Oman’s 2040 vision. From this point of view, Meethaq’s SME solutions, products and services are highly innovative helping its customers to grow their businesses. Recently, Meethaq launched dedicated desks for SMEs and Corporates at its branches in Ruwi, Al Khuwair, Al Khoudh and the Head Office. Before concluding his presentation, he thanked corporate customers for their strong trust and confidence and explained how Meethaq continued to use their feedback and suggestions as well as global financial trends to develop new cutting-edge products that meet customer aspirations.
Exclusive benefits and offers
Meethaq is keen to provide added value to its different customer segments through various exclusive benefits and privileges. In this regard, Meethaq’s Hafawa Visa Signature Credit Card, which is based on the Shariah-compliant concept of Ujrah, offers up to 52-days profit-free credit period and is accepted worldwide at more than 30 million locations. Cardholders are also provided coverage against accidental damage or loss and this coverage extends to goods purchased online. In addition, Hafawa Visa Signature Credit cardholders have access to value-added benefits at over 900 luxury hotels around the world including automatic room upgrades (subject to availability), free in-room Internet and valet parking, complimentary continental breakfast, late checkouts, VIP Guest status and vouchers for free food and beverages.
Meethaq’s various credit cards are compliant with the principles and provisions of Islamic Sharia’a, whereby the cardholder pays a fixed fee for the various services and benefits offered by the card and does not pay any interest. Cardholders enjoy up to 52 days of credit, 24×7 cash withdrawal facility from ATMs worldwide and access to secure online shopping. Other benefits include travel takaful for tickets purchased with the card, excellent discounts and offers at a number of merchant partners across the globe, contactless POS transactions and wide acceptance at more than 30 million points of sale. Customers also benefit from Meethaq’s Easy Payment Plan (EPP), wherein they can pay for their high-ticket purchases at selected merchant partners over a period of 12 months without having to pay any additional fees for the extended credit facility.
Meethaq has also been playing an active role in the field of social responsibility over the years. In 2022, Meethaq extended its strong support to Siraj Education Endowment Foundation by providing the necessary facilities for collecting contributions, donations and aid from the public through its various channels including its large network of branches, ATMs, CDMs and FFMs as well as Internet and Mobile Banking platforms. Earlier, in partnership with the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs, Meethaq also launched an awareness campaign to encourage the public to participate in the development of society through their individual contributions. Meethaq continues to use all the media channels available at its disposal, including print, radio, television and social media, to promote to the public the role of endowments in societal development and harmony. Meethaq’s initiative is very much in line with its commitment to enhance Public-Private Partnership in various fields and sectors in Oman.
Recognition and accolades
Every Meethaq product goes through the process of Shari’a compliance certification by its Shari’a Supervisory Board and is created in line with the guidelines of the Central Bank of Oman. Meethaq’s adoption of AAOIFI standards (Accounting & Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions) further distinguishes Meethaq Islamic banking practices in terms of standardisation of its products and services complementing its world-class Islamic banking experience.
Meethaq groundbreaking role continues to be well recognised with it garnering a number of international and local awards and accolades. Meethaq recently won the GIFA Market Leadership Award (Islamic Banking Window Operations) at the Global Islamic Finance Awards and the Best Islamic Digital Bank in Oman from Global Finance. Earlier, Meethaq was also recognised as Oman’s Most Trusted Islamic Banking brand by Apex Media.