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OM23_FI_Bank-Nizwa_Khalid-Al-Kayed

OMAN - Finance

Khalid Jamal Al Kayed

CEO, Bank Nizwa

Bio

Khalid Jamal Al Kayed is CEO of Bank Nizwa.

"We encourage clients to transition towards more sustainable practices and leave traditional financing behind."
TBY talks to Khalid Jamal Al Kayed, CEO of Bank Nizwa, about sustainability, fintech developments, and goals for the coming years.
Could you elaborate on Bank Nizwa’s sustainability strategy, and how it aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals?

We aim to approach sustainability in an institutional manner, ensuring that. It is not an isolated initiative, but rather integrated into all aspects of our operations. Our goal is to establish a sustainable framework that reflects our commitment effectively. To activate this, we created the Chief Sustainability Officer position at the bank level that oversees and ensures that sustainability initiatives progress in line with our objectives. We also formed a Sustainability Task Force, comprising representatives from various departments. This ensures that all relevant stakeholders are actively involved in the process and contribute to our efforts. We focus on ESG principles and identify and create products linked to them. For example, in terms of the environment, we introduced the concept of corporate green finance, which targets specific sectors, such as waste management, and integrates them into our offerings as products directly aligned with this objective. We have also incorporated ESG elements into our credit rating system and promote responsible financing. We offer incentives for clients engaging in green financing by providing them with incentives such as lower rates and additional perks. We encourage clients to transition towards more sustainable practices and leave traditional financing behind. Our overall focus isn’t solely aligned with sustainability, but also with fostering innovation.

Has Bank Nizwa collaborated with any fintech or technology providers to enhance its digital offerings?

This is a mandatory step for mutual growth and innovation, and the relationship between banks and fintech should be viewed as a partnership. By engaging in collaborations with FinTechs we can extend our role as a bank and enhance the financial ecosystem opening new doors for our institution. Our bank is the only one in Oman with a board committee for IT and cybersecurity. We have initiated a partnership with the fintech company, Islamic Finance Initiation Network (IFIN). Through the integration of our core banking system with their platform and the Central Bank’s system, we now offer our clients direct financing with vendors, such as Nissan, and extend this model to personal finance with other vendors. I have been in banking for the past 30 years in both conventional and Islamic incarnations. I recall the early days of banking in Jordan in 1993 when the first ATM was installed. It was a groundbreaking innovation at that time. Technology in banking is much more advanced today, and it’s important to know how to read the ecosystem.

What other innovative digital solutions or services have been introduced by Bank Nizwa recently?

Our focus is on what we refer to as the ‘’stronger bank phase,’’ wherein we aim to enhance the bank’s digital capabilities and sustainability practices. We believe that our competitive advantage lies in digitalization, being an integral part of our business model. Meanwhile, we’re in the phase of integrating additional platforms into the bank. This includes one dedicated to omnichannel retail banking and another catering to corporate finance and transaction banking. In 2022, we inaugurated the first digital-only branch in Oman. It operates without traditional staff, and customers access all services through interactive mechanisms. By leveraging e-channels, we can reach the market faster, more efficiently, and provide a superior experience to our clients.

What other initiatives or goals does Bank Nizwa aim to achieve over the coming years?

We embarked on a strategic journey that has unfolded in three phases, commencing in 2015. The first phase was dedicated to growth, as we sought to expand our market share. In our current phase, we prioritize digitalization and sustainability to foster positive contributions and extend our activities beyond the borders of Oman. Our vision goes beyond just being a bank; we aim to contribute to building an ecosystem for Islamic finance in Oman. We envision the development of what we call the “Islamic Economy of Oman,” a dynamic concept that brings together various entities, including banks, car insurance companies, investment firms, and other players in the Islamic financial ecosystem.

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