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Bank Muscat, NBO conclude merger deal

October 4, 2004

Oman’s largest bank, BankMuscat, and the second largest bank, National Bank of Oman, have agreed a merger in a move that will greatly strengthen BankMuscat’s operations both at home and abroad. The merger follows NBO’s $130m loss in 2003 and a number of senior management changes in recent months. The effective date of the merger is expected to be 1 January 2005, subject to receiving regulatory approvals. NBO’s net worth as of the end of December 2004 has been put at RO100m ($256m)

Kirchner courts controversy over central bank appointment

October 4, 2004

Nestor Kirchner, the president of Argentina, has reinforced his authoritarian reputation by replacing the country’s central bank president.

Time for the old dog to learn new tricks

October 4, 2004

The World Bank may have turned 60 but it should not be too late for the group to change, says Richard H Frank.

Flying blind is not a recipe for electoral success

October 4, 2004

The row in Greece over whether the former government massaged its 2000 budget deficit figures to qualify for EMU entry demonstrates more than ever the need for greater transparency.

A flurry of cross-border deals is unlikely to follow SCH, Abbey

October 4, 2004

Although more domestic and cross-border consolidation in Europe’s banking sector would help to improve efficiency, significant political and structural obstacles remain in place.

Why bringing a 60-year-old up to date is in everybody’s interests

October 4, 2004

The IMF and World Bank urgently need to be more representative of their members to remain useful. But old habits die hard.

The world awaits the next US president: George W Kerry

October 4, 2004

A survey has shown that most outside the US would elect John Kerry. But whoever the new president is will make little difference.

Adhering to the Basel II framework

September 2, 2004

The Basel Committee recently published the Basel II framework. Jaime Caruana, chairman of the committee, responds to The Banker’squeries on it. Q Might the US try to rewrite the framework after its extended QIS4 studies and, if so, will the framework have to be changed? A Firstly, let me say that the framework we published on June 26 is an excellent product, agreed by all Basel Committee members and the result of long and careful discussions, wide consultations and comprehensive impact studies.

Banks lined up to open in DIFC

September 2, 2004

The controversial Dubai International Financial Centre is set to open for business in mid-September. Following the abrupt departure in June of the two most senior regulators of the Dubai Financial Services Authority, the DIFC’s regulatory body, the project secured the personal involvement of Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum and is now proceeding at speed.

Europe’s first Islamic bank opens its doors

September 2, 2004

Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), Europe’s first Islamic bank, plans to raise £38.5m to develop a branch network prior to its listing on the UK’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in the autumn. IBB, which was licensed by the UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) in early August, is the first Islamic bank in the UK and plans to provide a full range of retail banking services on a wholly Sharia-compliant basis, primarily to the UK’s 1.8 million Muslims.

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