Financial Institutions

#Saudi’s Al Rajhi Bank says expat exodus could impact its remittance business

Al Rajhi Bank expects low-single digit loan growth for the rest of 2018 as it curtails its loans while economic reforms take shape. A plan to reduce reliance on expatriates to generate jobs for Saudis has seen the number of foreign workers fall by more than 700,000 since last year. Al Rajhi's CEO Steve Bertamini said the expatriate exodus might have some impact on its remittance business. The bank has already seen an overall rise in banking for women and car loans for women have begun to rise substantially from a low base. Bertamini said that their entry into the workforce will mean more demand for accounts, loans and saving products.

#Kuwait’s Warba Bank receives licence to conduct securities activities

Warba Bank has obtained licence from the Capital Market Authority (CMA) to engage in certain securities activities. The new licence allows the lender to conduct activities like investment portfolio manager, collective investment scheme manager as well as investment manager, subscription agent and custodian.

Mortgages set to boost lending at #Saudi banking giant Al Rajhi

A jump in mortgages and a recovery in Saudi Arabia’s economy may help Al Rajhi Bank to reverse a decline in lending. According to CEO Steve Bertamini, higher government spending and faster economic growth amid higher oil prices should help the revival. Home loans have risen as much as 6% this year and there are 450,000 Saudis eligible to purchase a home under one of the government programs. Saudi Arabia’s new housing project announced in February includes an 18 billion riyal ($4.8 billion) loan-guarantee program to boost access to funding and 12.5 billion riyals to support down-payments. Al Rajhi Bank in July reported an 18% rise in second-quarter profit to 2.57 billion riyals. According to Bloomberg economists, Saudi Arabia’s economic expansion will accelerate to 1.6% this year from 0.9% in 2017.

Noor exits $6mln stake in #Pakistan’s Meezan Bank

Noor Financial Investment announced selling 9 million shares or 0.85% of its equity ownership in Meezan Bank, Pakistan's first and largest Islamic bank. The equity transaction is valued at $5.57 million or KWD 1.68 million. Following this exit transaction, Noor currently owns 39.53% equity in Meezan Bank. The financial impact of this transaction will be a profit of KWD 293,000 that will be registered in Noor's income statements of the third quarter of 2018, in addition to an increase of KWD 648,000 in the shareholders' equity rights. In mid-July, Noor announced selling 27.23 million shares or 2.56% of its equity in Meezan Bank at a value of $15.76 million or KWD 4.77 million.

Jaiz to commence disbursement of $20m SMEs #fund

The Managing Director of Jaiz Bank Hassan Usman has said the bank would soon begin the disbursement of the $20m facility for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The bank had in March signed the agreement with the Islamic Corporation for the Development of Private Sector to finance SMEs with $20m (N6.1bn). Usman said the bank would soon begin the disbursement, adding that the fund would be disbursed before the end of the year. He said the bank had commenced a five year strategic plan to provide better services to its customers. For example, the bank had increased its visibility in Lagos by opening more branches and plans to extend to other regions of the country as well.

Enact legislation tailored to Islamic finance sector, CBK urged

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) is asked to enact a sector-specific legislation tailored to Islamic finance sector to monitor and regulate transactions. According to Jacqueline Wangui, Partner at MMC Africa Law, the absence of specific legislation on Islamic finance is in itself a hindrance to the realization of the financial benefits. Wangui proposed that embedding a Shariah council within the structure of the CBK could go a long way. The Sharia council would constitute of local and international Islamic scholars to sit in an advisory capacity with the aim of producing a congruent regulatory framework for Islamic financing. Currently, there is no overall regulator at the level of the CBK appointed to specifically oversee the management of Islamic financing and its products.

ADIB plans a Dh1.16bn rights issue and tapping the #sukuk market

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) plans to maintain growth and pay off some of its old debt. The board of ADIB is recommending to increase the bank’s issued capital through more than a Dh1.16 billion rights issue. The proposed deal includes issuing 464 million new shares at a nominal face value of Dh1 per share. The bank’s board has also proposed the issuance of a $750m (Dh2.75 billion) perpetual tier 1 sukuk, and the repayment of its $1bn hybrid tier 1 sukuk issued in 2012. ADIB’s vice-chairman Khamis Buharoon said the pace of the bank's growth has been fast, increasing its number of customers to 1 million in the UAE, nearly double the number it had five years ago. He noted that the bank was raising capital to maintain its growth trajectory, while maintaining a capital buffer.

#Bahrain's Bank Alkhair sells stake in Turkish investment firm

Bahrain’s Bank Alkhair has sold its majority stake in Turkish investment firm Alkhair Capital, as the lender exits some markets. Bank Alkhair entered the Turkish market a decade ago, acquiring an initial 75% stake in the investment firm. The bank has faced a challenging business environment over the past year and is currently streamlining its business lines. Additionally, the bank sold its stake in Pakistani lender Burj Bank and in 2017 the firm upgraded its business licence in the UAE and expanded its capital markets business in Saudi Arabia in a bid to focus on other markets. Now Bank Alkhair has received approval to transfer its 95.79% stake in Alkhair Capital to Ankara-based A1 Capital. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.

Bank Pasargad of #Iran to Open Branch in #India: Report

India has reportedly approved a proposal from Bank Pasargad of Iran to open a branch in Mumbai. The Federation of Indian Export Organizations had earlier objected the entry of Iranian banks into India. In the wake of new US sanctions, India may explore the possibility of reviving the rupee-rial arrangement to import oil from Iran that it has used in the past. The presence of an Iranian bank in India will ensure the smooth flow of funds between the two countries. US President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that Washington was walking away from the nuclear agreement between Iran and the UN Security Council. Trump also said he would reinstate US nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose economic bans on the Islamic Republic.

#Kuwait's KFH invites #Bahrain's AUB to begin due diligence

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) invited Bahrain's Ahli United Bank (AUB) to begin a due diligence process for a potential merger. KFH also asked AUB to sign a non-disclosure agreement. If the merger goes ahead, it would be the latest of several recent tie-ups to create bigger and stronger lenders in an over-banked region. If the merger proceeds, the total assets of the two banks would be $90.57 billion, making it the sixth largest bank in the Gulf. The agreement to begin due diligence demonstrates seriousness in the deal process and backing from the lenders' major shareholders. The major shareholders in the two lenders are Kuwait state-owned entities.

RAM Ratings: #Turkey rating downgrade triggers Kuveyt Turk downgrade

RAM Ratings has downgraded Kuveyt Turk's long-term rating to A1/Stable from AA3/Negative. The rating of KT Kira Sertifikalari Varlik Kiralama’s RM2.0 billion Islamic MTN Programme (2015/2025) has been revised downwards to A1(s)/Stable from AA3(s)/Negative. The Bank’s short-term financial institution rating remains unchanged at P1. The rating actions were triggered by the downgrade of Turkey’s sovereign ratings to gBB2(pi)/Stable/gNP(pi) from gBBB3(pi)/Negative/gP3(pi), due to an erosion of the country’s fiscal discipline. Kuveyt Turk has a relatively favourable funding profile, with a moderate reliance on market-based funding compared to the industry norm. The bank’s customer deposit base is well diversified. The bank’s liquidity profile is robust, with an average liquidity coverage ratio of 230% in fiscal year 2017.

#Kuwait bank in #merger talks to create $92bn Islamic lender

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) is seeking to hold talks with Bahrain's Ahli United Bank (AUB) for a potential merger. This would create an Islamic lender with about $92 billion of assets, six months after negotiations broke down. KFH sent a letter inviting Ahli United to sign a memorandum of understanding and a non-disclosure agreement to start valuation studies. The deal may provide a boost to debt-laden Bahrain, as the country struggles to cope with lower oil prices. According to Joice Mathew, the head of equity research at United Securities, the integration of business could be challenging because of the geographical dispersion of their assets and combination of Islamic and conventional banking.

Gulf banking transparency on the rise - study

Non-credit ratings agency Sigma Ratings found that Gulf countries outperform many Latin American and European countries in transparency and compliance. Among the most transparent banks in the region are Emirates Islamic Bank, Al Hilal Bank, the National Bank of RAK, Sharjah Islamic Bank, and the Arab Bank for Investment and Foreign Trade. According to Sigma Ratings CEO Stuart Jones, non-credit risk ratings were badly needed on factors like governance, compliance and financial crime risks. Jones added that specifically the GCC countries seem to be over-performing in the region, and there is lot of positive movement with regards to these countries.

ADIB launches 100% capital protected green notes

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) launched a 100% capital protected smart and green energy equities basket note. The investment note, which matures in 12 months, is open for subscription until July 28, with a 31% participation rate in the upside positive performance. According to Saif Al Keem, Head of Wealth Management & Priority Banking at ADIB, this new note from ADIB focuses on equities that are driving investments in clean technology and manufacturing smart energy on a global scale. There is a growing demand for solutions which can capture and store energy generated from wind and solar power, which provides significant opportunities for the manufacturers of efficient battery technology.

MOVES-#Britain's largest Islamic bank Al Rayan appoints new COO

Birmingham-based Al Rayan Bank appointed Paul McMillan as chief operating officer as part of the bank’s expansion efforts. McMillan, a former chief executive of mortgage servicing firm Acenden, takes over the role from the bank’s previous COO Venkat Chandrasekar. Al Rayan is one of the five standalone Islamic banks in Britain and is owned by Qatar’s Masraf Al Rayan.

AIIB and IsDB Group join forces to grow sustainable infrastructure

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB Group) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a framework for strategic cooperation. The MOU will have a strong focus on sustainable infrastructure including development of energy and power, transportation and telecommunications, rural infrastructure water supply and sanitation, environmental protection, urban development and logistics. IsDB Group President H.E Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar said the Group looks forward to stimulate the region’s economic growth together with AIIB. The two banks intend to share knowledge and exchange experiences among employees through joint temporary assignments, secondments and training.

Islamic Windows of Coris Bank International pave the way to achieve SDG goal by ensuring financial inclusion and shared prosperity

Islamic banking is gaining a strong footing in Africa with the launch of Islamic banking windows of Coris Bank International in Mali, Senegal, Benin and Côte d’Ivoire. The official launch of Coris Bank Baraka Senegal took place in the presence of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) representatives, the Minister of Budget of Senegal, the Deputy CEO of Coris Bank International group and the CEO of Coris Bank International Senegal. The Minister of Budget of Senegal showed appreciation to Coris banking group for launching the Islamic window. ICD as a technical advisor facilitated the launch of Islamic windows in Senegal, Benin and Mali. Further, Coris Bank International and ICD are collaborating together to launch one more Islamic window in Côte d’Ivoire by end of June, 2018.

#Qatari banks lead Gulf states in real estate lending despite blockade: report

Qatari banks lead the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members states in real estate lending despite the economic blockade. Qatar disbursed 3.36 billion U.S. dollars of incremental credit in the first quarter of this year. Saudi Arabian banks ranked second, as they disbursed 1.47 billion dollars of incremental credit. Residential-related transactions contributed to 48% of the total transactions and accounted for 50.8% of the transaction volumes in the first quarter. On Sunday, Fitch Ratings has upgraded the outlooks of Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) to 'stable'. The rating showed that Qatar was able to overcome the economic and trade blockade imposed on it by the Saudi-led bloc since last year.

ADIB becomes first bank to join UAEIIC

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has joined the UAE International Investors Council (UAEIIC), making it the first bank in the UAE to become a member in the council. ADIB's acting CEO Khamis Buharoon said his bank was committed to the development of Emirati investments, which are critical to economic diversification and the UAE’s global economic competitiveness. The council provides a link between investors, governmental and semi-governmental entities to streamline the investment process. It also serves as a pillar for ensuring the protection of UAE capital abroad through advice, guidance, and logistic support.

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