In recognition of its role in championing the growth and expansion of the Islamic financial sector in the country, Sohar Islamic – Bank Sohar’s Islamic Window, has received the ‘Best Branding Award – Middle East’ at the recently held CPI Financial – Islamic Business and Finance Awards 2014. This marks Sohar Islamic’s first award and a significant milestone in its journey towards becoming a leader in the Islamic Banking sector.
The prestigious award was handed over to the Bank at a glittering event held at the Emirates Towers Hotel, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Receiving the award on behalf of the Bank were Mr. Mohammad Haris, AGM and Head of Sohar Islamic, and Mr. Khamis Masoud Al Rahbi, AGM of Branches at Bank Sohar.
Sharing his thoughts on the significance of the award, Mr. Mohammad Haris said, “In less than two years of operations, Sohar Islamic has already taken a position as one of the key players in the Islamic Banking sector within the Sultanate. This award is a clear recognition and reflection of our comprehensive product offerings, flexible customer focused operation and sound business strategy. The ‘Best Branding Award – Middle East’, given by such a renowned organization as CPI financial, also provided us with an invaluable opportunity to network with some of the most influential people in the industry as well as positively position the Sohar Islamic brand on the regional map.”
Despite being in operation for such a short time, Sohar Islamic has been actively contributing towards the growth of Islamic Banking in Oman, offering a range of services. These financial solutions include auto finance, housing and construction finance, term deposits, savings accounts and current accounts for the Bank’s retail customers. For its business clients, Sohar Islamic offers SME finance, asset finance, working capital finance, trade finance, treasury and investment products.
To ensure that all products and services offered by Sohar Islamic adhere to the highest level of Shari’ah-compliance, they were specifically designed to meet certain key criteria – a complete segregation of funds; stand alone and independent branches, separate sales staff, a strong Shari’ah supervisory board and Shari’ah audit and compliance unit; committed management; the world’s best Islamic banking software; and compliance with the standards of the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI).
As part of the annual Islamic Business and Finance Awards, launched in 2005 by CPI Financial, every year a panel of Islamic financial experts collate a shortlist of financial institutions across a variety of categories covering the global Islamic financial community that they believe are leaders in their respective banking, finance and takaful segments. Nominated institutions were invited to provide supporting information to enable their readers to assess the performance and deservedness of the candidate. These readers then vote through their website to select the winners. The nomination submission process started from July with the voting going live in August. Through these awards, CPI Financial have helped promote and recognize institutions and individuals that have championed the growth and expansion of the Islamic financial sector around the globe.
“The fact that these awards are based on a public vote, also stands as a testament to the trust and confidence our customers, as well as financial experts in the region, share in the Sohar Islamic brand. At Sohar Islamic we are on a never ending path towards operational excellence and we will continue to enhance our position as one of the leading Islamic banking institution in the region,” added Mr. Mohammad Haris.
In addition to the Bank’s Islamic Banking Window – Sohar Islamic receiving the “Best Branding Award”, Bank Sohar had also received ‘Best Customer Service– Retail Banking’, ‘Best Cash Management’ and ‘Best Corporate Card’ awards for its Retail Division by the same CPI Financial. The Bank has also won a slew of other awards locally, regionally, and internationally in 2014.
Among its accolades, the Bank has received ‘Business Excellence Award’ by Texas based, World Confederation for Business (WORLDCOB) at the Bizz Arabic 2014 Awards, ‘Best Financial Brand Oman 2014’ award by renowned UK based Global Brands Magazine, ‘The Diamond Eye Award for Quality, Commitment & Excellence’ from the French based Otherways Management & Consulting Association, ‘Strategic Award’ for its corporate website (www.banksohar.net) from the Lebanon based Pan Arab Excellence Awards Academy as well as from Oman Web Awards.
The Bank was also awarded the ‘Best Bank for Fast Growth / Middle East’ Award from Milan based IAIR Magazine and recognized as one of the ‘Top 5 Large Corporate Enterprises in the Sultanate’ for the third consecutive year at the Alam Al Iktisad Wal Amaal (AIWA) Awards. On the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) front, the Bank’s yearlong environment awareness campaign ‘Saving Water Electricity…And Our Planet’ was also recognized at the ‘Oman Green Award 2014’ resulting in the Bank receiving the ‘Green Campaign of the Year’ award. Bank Sohar was also named the ‘Fastest Growing Bank in Oman 2014’ and, more recently, the ‘Most Socially Responsible Bank Oman 2014’ Award by UK based International Finance Magazine (IFM).