Oman's Al Izz International Bank, a lender under formation in the GCC state, has been given a licence to operate as an Islamic bank, following a decision to open the country's doors to the fast-growing industry, a central bank official said.
Ali Hamdan Al Raisi, vice president of Oman's central bank, told Reuters in an interview that the bank, also known as Bank Al Izz, is one of two financial institutions that have been granted approval from the central bank to open as fully-fledged Islamic institutions.
The central bank granted the first licence to lender Bank Nizwa in May, following Oman's decision to embrace Islamic finance as a way to keep Sharia-compliant investment funds within its borders.
"They [the banks] might open in one or two years; it takes some time for them to establish," Raisi said. "They are in the process of being established and will become operational as soon as formalities such as regulatory requirements, raising of capital and constitution of management are met."