Muscat: The upcoming proposed merger between Alizz Islamic Bank and Oman Arab Bank (OAB) will provide customers with better services and more outlets across the country, leading to better convenience.
“They will now have a stronger fully licensed Sharia-compliant bank handling their every financial need,” said Salaam Al Shaksy, the CEO of Alizz Islamic Bank. “Customers will benefit from better-customised product and service offerings and better digital services as well. As per the merger, Al Yusr Islamic Banking – Oman Arab Bank’s Islamic window with all its branches and staff will become part of Alizz Islamic which will remain as a fully licensed Islamic bank.
“The Alizz Islamic Bank branch network will grow to 17 Branches – Alizz Islamic Bank currently has 10 branches and Al Yusr Islamic Banking has seven,” he went on to add. “This widespread geographical presence expanding from one end of the country to the other will prove to be an excellent complimentary factor that would lay the perfect platform for the creation of a strong Bank and provide our customers with services across Oman.
“Since the banking sector is very competitive, with almost all banks offering similar products and services, the key distinguishing element is going to be the enhancement of our products and services such as enhanced mobile & internet banking platforms and investment and wealth management services to name a few. It will also increase our strength in larger trade deals and international transactions,” he explained.
Under this merger, Alizz Islamic Bank will be fully owned under Oman Arab Bank and will see the former continue to operate as an Islamic bank, with its services available to all existing customers, as well as OAB customers. The latter, however, will continue to function as a conventional bank.
“The final structure will see Alizz Islamic Bank become a 100 per cent subsidiary of Oman Arab Bank,” said Al Shaksy. “Both Oman Arab Bank and Alizz Islamic Bank will have separate and independent boards of directors. Alizz will continue to work as a full-fledged Sharia-compliant bank under the supervision of the independent Shari’a Supervisory Board.”
“The merger will result in two separate fully licensed banking entities similar to the current situation,” he went on to add. “Alizz Islamic Bank will remain fully shari’a compliant and Oman Arab Bank will continue to operate as a conventional bank. The difference is that Alizz Islamic Bank’s shareholding will change whereby Oman Arab Bank will take over from the current shareholders of Alizz Islamic Bank.
“Existing shareholders of Alizz Islamic Bank will continue to hold shares at the Oman Arab Bank level,” Al Shaksy added. “Al Yusr, the Islamic banking window of Oman Arab Bank will be integrated into Alizz Islamic Bank creating a larger full-fledged and licensed Islamic bank. This was approved by our Sharia Supervisory Board and the fatwa is available on our website and has been structured to maintain the sharia compliance of Alizz Islamic Bank as the number one priority.”
The existing Oman Arab Bank workforce that handles the Yusr Islamic Banking services will be folded into Alizz’s operational structure, while the shareholders of Alizz will become shareholders of OAB. That entity will be listed on the Muscat Securities Market.
“Al Yusr will become a part of Alizz Islamic Bank, giving us a larger and stronger workforce as well as a wider presence through a larger branch distribution,” explained Al Shaqsi. “A larger bank with greater prospects for growth will offer better career opportunities to its employees. The merger will also create new roles and cross-functional career opportunities further enhancing the skill set of our staff.
“The intended final outcome of the merger will be two banks,” he explained. “Alizz will remain a full-fledged Islamic bank, fully owned by Oman Arab Bank. Oman Arab Bank will continue to operate as a conventional bank. Our current shareholders will become shareholders of Oman Arab Bank which will be a listed entity on Muscat Securities Market. The shareholders should expect a quick and healthy dividend payout based on the history of dividend payment of Oman Arab Bank. Sharia-compliant shareholders that do not wish to own shares in a conventional banking entity will be given the option of having sharia-compliant Islamic Sukuk linked directly to Alizz Islamic Bank as a swap for their shares.”