Bangladesh

6 more banks sign deal with BB to back WB-funded project

Bangladesh Bank (BB) signed separate agreements with six more private banks on Wednesday to facilitate long-term financing under the World Bank funded Financial Sector Support Project (FSSP). Under the agreements, the six banks - Dutch Bangla Bank Limited, IFIC Bank Limited, South East Bank Limited, Standard Bank Limited, Trust Bank Limited, and Standard Chartered Bank - would provide long-term financing for projects in manufacturing sectors. The central bank earlier signed similar agreement with ten other banks. BB Deputy Governor Nazneen Sultana said that the BB under the auspices of International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank would provide $300 million through FSSP to meet the growing demand for long-term financing for productive sectors in the country.

Shahjalal Islami Bank re-appoints MD

Shahjalal Islami Bank has reappointed Farman R Chowdhury as its managing director and chief executive, the bank said yesterday. Chowdhury will serve the bank for the next three years, it said in a statement. He joined Shahjalal Bank in 2013 as its managing director and chief executive. Prior to this assignment, he served ONE Bank as its managing director for six years. Chowdhury started his banking career in 1986 as a management trainee at American Express Bank and served there for 12 years. Later, he joined ONE Bank in 1999 as its first branch manager and served there until 2013.

UPDATE 1-MOVES-Standard Chartered appoints CEO for Islamic banking business

Standard Chartered has appointed Rehan Shaikh as chief executive of its global Islamic banking business, it said in a statement on Wednesday.
Shaikh moves to Standard Chartered Saadiq from Dubai Islamic Bank, where he was senior vice president and business head, private sector and transaction banking. He previously worked for StanChart in Pakistan from 1998 to 2007, the statement said.
He takes over from Sohail Akbar, who was interim chief executive of the Islamic banking operation after the departure of Afaq Khan earlier this year.
StanChart remains committed to the business despite a period of hiatus across other parts of the bank as global chief executive Bill Winters moves to restore profitability. It announced plans this month to reduce costs by $2.9 billion by 2018 and cut 15,000 jobs.
"Islamic finance is an integral part of the business at Standard Chartered and we continue to see growing demand from clients in many of our markets," said Sunil Kaushal, the bank's regional chief executive for Africa and the Middle East.

JP Morgan clients buy into Islami Bank

JP Morgan's clients have bought around 3 % shares of Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd or IBBL over the past several years, officials said. The US-based banking firm bought the shares for its institutional and indi-vidual investors. The shareholding empowers JP Morgan to hold a post in IBBL's board of directors as the law allows a shareholder to become a director in a publicly-listed company in Bangladesh with a stake of 2 %.
“The market plunge that began in December 2010 in Bangladesh has attracted foreign investors to buy IBBL shares,” MA Mannan, managing director of IBBL, told The Daily Star.
“JP Morgan's investment in IBBL shares reflects our strength.”
The current market price of IBBL's total shares stands at Tk 4,508 crore -- at over Tk 28 a share as of yesterday. Presently, IBBL has nearly 161 crore shares, with a face value of Tk 10 per share. If the current market price of IBBL shares is taken into account, JP Morgan's holding of 3 percent shares is valued at over Tk 137 crore. JP Morgan is one of the largest asset and wealth managers in the world with assets under its management worth $1.7 trillion (as of December 31, 2014).

Islamic Bank May Support Green Sukuk for Renewables Projects

The Islamic Development Bank indicated that it may issue green sukuk bonds compliant with religious law and increase lending for climate-related projects with an announcement at the United Nations global warming conference in Paris at the end of the year.
“Estimates for the 2030 agenda indicate that we need to move from billions to trillions of dollars of support annually for sustainable development,” Savas Alpay, chief economist of the IDB, said in a phone interview. “Traditional sources of development finance will not be enough. We must also look at non-traditional sources. We will be using Islamic finance to bring new resources to the table.”
Khazanah Nasional Bhd, Malaysia’s state-owned sovereign wealth fund, issued green sukuk last November after introducing guidelines for socially responsible debt in August 2014. It was the second entity after the London-based International Financial Facility for Immunization announce plans to sell ethical-based sukuk.
Green Sukuk

Al-Arafah donates CSR fund

Al-Arafah Islami Bank Ltd has donated a fund worth Tk 2.0 million for development of research on constructing crop cold storages at affordable costs. Professor Dr M Monjur Hossain of Rajshahi University received the fund from the bank under its CSR activities. Chairman of Al-Arafah Islami Bank Ltd Badiur Rahman and the bank’s managing director Mohammad Habibur Rahman were present in a ceremony arranged on the occasion, according to a statement.

Banks hit by crisis of cash dollars

Huge outflow of foreign currency during Hajj and Eid-ul-Azha has created a crisis of cash US dollar in Bangladesh, according to market players and the regulator. The crisis has now forced the central bank to request the National Board of Revenue to withdraw tax on import of US dollar notes by local banks. Hajj and the increase in the quota for cash when travelling outside the country have drained out the cash dollar reserves this year, said Nazneen Sultana, deputy governor of Bangladesh Bank. Generally, the demand for cash dollar rises ahead of Hajj every year. Spending for Puja and rising medical tourism have created further strain on the cash dollar reserves.

Taxing the Islamic bond

The Islamic banks wanted for long some sort of bonds from the Bangladesh Bank (BB) to invest in to the fulfilment of the statutory liquidity ratio (SLR), as required by the regulator. But only in 2014, did the BB come out with an offer of interest-free bonds to the Islamic banks, which now control one-fourth of the deposit market. If the Islamic branches of the interest-based commercial banks are included, then the deposit share will go up. Though the Islamic banks were permitted in the middle of the 1980s, the regulatory framework to oversee this activity and the conditions they were to fulfil with respect to compliance with the regulations were not there.

You can buy bonds in nation aided by yuan drop: Bangladesh

Bangladesh is a rare bird among developing nations: it benefits from a weakening Chinese yuan, is intervening to stop its currency gaining and is about to sell a debut Islamic bond in the quietest year for issuance since 2011. The nation is planning a $1bn note sale that may include a portion of Shariah-compliant notes anytime soon, central bank governor Atiur Rahman said. Only Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia have issued global sukuk in Asia so far in 2015. Bangladesh Bank has sold $3.5bn of taka in the past year, boosting foreign-exchange reserves to a record $27bn, said Rahman.

Bismillah Group scam: ACC okays charge sheet against 14

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) today approved a charge sheet against 14 people, including Bismillah Group’s Managing Director Khaza Solaiman Anwar Chowdhury, for embezzling Tk 110 crore from Shahjalal Islami Bank. Nine of them are employees of Bismillah Group, four of Shahjalal Islami Bank and one is Network Frame System Ltd’s Chairman Akhter Hossain. The accused include Soleman’s wife and group’s Chairman Nawrin Hasib, Solaiman’s mother Sarwar Jahan, former manager of Eskaton Branch of Shahjalal Islami Bank Aslamul Haq and former deputy manager ASM Hasanul Kabir. The controversial group swindled the money with the help of bank officials between June 2006 and October 2012.

Islami Bank to give Tk 1.39cr lifeline to Swan workers

Islami Bank Bangladesh, the financier of Swan Garments over the last 30 years, plans to donate Tk 1.39 crore to clear the workers' one-month salary, the bank's Managing Director Mohammad Abdul Mannan said. Mannan hopes the bank's Board of Directors will agree to give away the fund as a lifeline to the company. The bank cannot invest further in Swan Garments, which has 1,300 workers in two units, as the company does not have any legal owner now, he said. Islami Bank will need the central bank's permission to further bankroll the factory, the loans of which have already been classified, Mannan said. Disputes over Swan's ownership need to be settled first to resume its operations, he said.

Islami Bank urged to lend further to Swan Garments

The Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) yesterday requested Islami Bank Bangladesh, the financier of Swan Garments, to further lend Tk 1.39 crore to the apparel maker so that it can clear one month's salaries of its workers. Both the DIFE and the bank had been in trouble finding a successor of the company after the death of its Chinese owner, Ming Yuen Hon (Toby), in April. Disputes over the ownership have to be settled to resume operations of Swan Garments, and if Islami Bank wants to continue financing, it will need permission from the central bank as the company's loans have already been classified.

BB bars traditional banks from Islamic banking

The central bank's decision not to allow conventional banks to convert into Islamic banks has frustrated half a dozen lenders. Even conventional banks, which were earlier permitted to open branches or windows for Islamic banking, are not allowed to do it anymore. Bangladesh Bank will not entertain their demand, SK Sur Chowdhury, deputy governor of Bangladesh Bank, said yesterday. The banks that are now awaiting the licence to become Islamic Shariah-based banks should have taken their original permits as Islamic banks instead of conventional ones, he said. Some of the applications have been pending for more than two years now.

Islami Bank moves up in global ranking

Islami Bank Bangladesh has moved 16 notches up to rank 954th in 2015 among the top 1,000 banks of the world by The Banker magazine of the UK. The bank ranked 970th in 2014 and 1,000th in 2012, the bank said in a statement. Besides, the bank has been ranked 70th, 250th, 791st and 785th considering return on capital, return on assets, capital assets ratio and amount of assets of the bank respectively, according to the statement. The Banker conducts a rating of the top 1,000 global banks since 1790. The magazine publishes the list in July every year on the basis of data and evaluation of more than 5,000 leading banks from 163 countries.

New DMD for First Security Islami Bank

Md Mustafa Khair has recently been promoted as the deputy managing director of First Security Islami Bank. Prior to the promotion, Khair has been serving the bank as senior executive vice president, the bank said in a statement. He started his banking career at Bangladesh Shilpa Rin Sangstha, which is now known as Bangladesh Development Bank. He also worked with IFIC Bank and Dutch-Bangla Bank before joining First Security Islami Bank in 2006, according to the statement.

Shahjalal Islami Bank reelects chairman

Shahjalal Islami Bank has recently reelected AK Azad as its chairman and Mohammad Younus and Md Abdul Barek as vice chairmen. Azad is the managing director of Ha-Meem Group and president of Bangladesh Chamber of Industries. He is also the former president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Azad is also the managing director of Channel 24 and Daily Samakal. Younus has business concerns in paper, fabric, and cold storages industries. He is also a director of NTV, the bank said. Barek is a sponsor shareholder of Shahjalal Islami Bank and Shahjalal Islami Bank Securities. He also owns Arju Electronics, Jony Electronics and Rony Electronics.

MasterCard launches Islamic cards in Bangladesh

MasterCard partnered with Al-Arafah Islami Bank to launch the MasterCard Islamic debit, credit and prepaid cards in Bangladesh. five new MasterCard cards will be added to the bank's repertoire. The cards will offer the lowest monthly compliance fees, 50 days without any additional charges, along with discounts at over 600 merchants and vendors. Jamilur Reza Choudhury, vice-chancellor of Asia Pacific University, attended the launching ceremony as the chief guest along with Badiur Rahman, chairman of Al-Arafah Islami Bank, and Syed Mohammad Kamal, country manager of MasterCard Bangladesh.

Islami Bank gets new chairman

Mustafa Anwar has been elected chairman of Islami Bank Bangladesh, while Yousif Abdullah Al-Rajhi and NRM Borhan Uddin have been elected vice-chairmen. Anwar, who is the chairman and managing director of Birds Group, started his career as an engineer of Bangladesh Water Development Board after completing his graduation in civil engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology in 1964. Rajhi is the general manager-cum chief executive officer of Al-Rajhi Company for Industry and Trade, KSA. Borhan Uddin, who is currently chairman of audit committee of the bank, is the vice-chancellor of City University, Dhaka.

Muhith urges IDB to come out of traditional financing

Finance Minister of Bangladesh AMA Muhith has urged governors of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to push for a community-based partnership and come out of traditional financing models for a prosperous Islamic world. Muhith suggested leaders of the Islamic countries should work together to pull up the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) region towards achieving healthy human development and securing strong, sustainable economic growth. He was speaking to OIC leaders at the 40th annual meeting of the Islamic Development Bank Group at Maputo, Mozambique. Currently, IDB's support for low-income members is stymied by not just a lack of adequate development funds but by its relatively higher cost as well, Muhith said.

Product structure of Islamic banks in Bangladesh

Since the Islamic banking industry is still emerging in Bangladesh, it is essential to know at this stage if the products and services of Islamic banks are consistent with the practices that have been developed and universally accepted by the practitioners of Islamic banks across the globe. It is really important for Islamic banking industry in the country not only for the sake of outreach but also for the regulators to formulate policy which will enhance the credibility and international stakeholder's confidence. Until today, the development of Islamic financial products has generally been limited to the re-engineering of the conventional products to meet Shariah requirements. But there is a still scope for product innovation and differentiation.

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