Financial Institutions

Leverage attributes in Islamic banking are the same as in conventional banking

For an Islamic bank, Shariah compliance is a foundation attribute, not a leverage attribute. Islamic banks need to give an impression of strength and stability. They also need to be accessible for customers. Historically, a physical branch network was needed, but today Islamic banks compete by providing electronic access, remote deposit facilities and smart phone apps. The key leverage attribute of any bank is accurate credit assessment, so that the bank can charge appropriately for the risk of customer default. A further leverage attribute is to have bankers whose connections in the business community are so strong that they can create deals, such as corporate takeovers or partnerships. It is a leverage attribute for Islamic banks to be able to innovate and devise new Shariah compliant offerings not provided by competitors. The challenge is both in devising those offerings and in preventing their intellectual property being copied by competitor Islamic banks.

For Islamic banks, Shariah compliance is a foundation attribute

Because Shariah compliance is essential for all Islamic banks, it does not distinguish one Islamic bank from another. Hence it is a foundation attribute. About 25 years ago, Price Waterhouse made a distinction between foundation attributes and leverage attributes. Foundation attributes convey no competitive advantage. Al Rayan Bank is the only Islamic bank in the UK which targets ordinary retail customers. The bank's homepage gives very prominent coverage to its Shariah compliance. That is because Al Rayan is not competing against other retail Islamic banks but rather seeking to create a retail Islamic finance market where none has existed before.

Chief executive of #Saudi-based ICD departs

The chief executive of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) has stepped down to take a role with the Saudi government. Khaled Al-Aboodi joined the ICD in 2001 and took over as chief executive officer in 2007. Starting next month, he will join the Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Co (SALIC) as Managing Director. The ICD has appointed Mohammed Al Ammari to lead the multilateral body on an interim basis, until a new chief executive is selected. As the private sector arm of the Islamic Development Bank, the ICD is tasked with supporting economic development across its 53 member countries.

Amen Bank se positionne sur la finance islamique

L’arrivée de la troisième banque tunisienne sur le segment de la finance islamique pourrait encourager d’autres grandes banques à se lancer sur ce marché. Ahmed Karam, président du directoire du groupe, a indiqué que Amen Bank a déposé une requête à la Banque centrale tunisienne pour ouvrir une filiale spécialisée dans les produits financiers islamiques. La Tunisie compte déjà deux établissements bancaires à vocation islamique: al-Baraka Bank Tunisia et banque Zitouna. Amen Bank possède 154 agences, contre 76 agences pour Banque Zitouna et une vingtaine pour al-Baraka Bank. Amen Bank est la propriété du groupe familial Ben Yedder, qui rassemble une cinquantaine de sociétés présentes notamment dans les banques, l’assurance, l’agroalimentaire, l’hôtellerie et la santé.

#Tunisia: Islamic development bank could withdraw from Zitouna bank’s capital

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has decided to sell its 21% share in Zitouna Bank’s capital. The origin of this decision is supposedly a disagreement of specifications. The withdrawal could benefit Triki Group, which could disburse 80-90 million Tunisian dinars for this acquisition. IDB entered in Zitouna Bank’s capital in 2014, with TND37.5 million. Since its inception in 2009, Zitouna Bank has become a leading Islamic financial instituion in the local market.

What the world’s central banks are saying about #cryptocurrencies

Nine years since the birth of Bitcoin, central banks around the world are increasingly recognising the potential upsides and downsize of digital currencies. The American Federal Reserve’s investigation into cryptocurrencies is in its early days. Chairman Jerome Powell said in 2017 that technical issues with the technology remain and governance and risk management would be critical. He added that there were meaningful challenges to a central-bank cryptocurrency and privacy issues could be a problem. The UAE Central Bank has warned about the risks of using digital currencies as a medium of exchange for now, amid mounting risks like massive volatility, speculation and money laundering. The European Central Bank (ECB) has repeatedly warned about the dangers of investing in digital currencies. According to Bank of England (BoE) Governor Mark Carney, technology based on blockchain shows great promise in enabling central banks to strengthen their defences against cyber-attacks and overhaul the way payments are made.

Gatehouse Bank plans growth in Shariah-compliant home finance market

Gatehouse Bank says it is targeting significant growth in the Shariah-compliant home finance market with a new customer service centre in Milton Keynes. The Bank says its new strategy will focus more on home finance plans in addition to its current buy-to-let products and development/build-to-rent division. Charles Haresnape, CEO of Gatehouse Bank, says the bank plans to grow all areas of the business but Shariah-compliant home finance will be a particular focus. Haresnape believes this is a hugely untapped market and one that, being fundamentally ethical, will resonate with Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Banks embrace Islamic banking amid rising competition

The Central Bank of Nigeria released its guidelines for the operations of Non-Interest Banks (NIBs) in 2011 and
issued its first license to Jaiz Bank. At the same time, two conventional banks, Stanbic IBTC and Sterling Bank, received license to operate Islamic windows. Jaiz Bank commenced operations and remained Nigeria’s only full-fledged non-interest bank. However, Sterling Bank CEO Yemi Adeola recently revealed his plans to seek a license for a stand-alone Non-Interest Bank (NIB). He said the decision was informed by the feasibility studies conducted by the lender, judging from the potential market and financial resources of customers expected to embrace NIB. The number of banks in the country offering non-interest banking products is set to increase. SunTrust Bank Nigeria (SBN) and the Islamic Corporation for Development (ICD) signed an agreement to establish a new non-interest banking window in Nigeria.

#Bahraini bank plans aggressive #expansion in #Pakistan

Bahrain-based Ithmaar Bank plans to add more than 100 branches in Pakistan this year through its subsidiary Faysal Bank. Ithmaar's deputy CEO Abdul Hakeem al-Mutawa says banking penetration is less than 20% in Pakistan, so there are good opportunities to grow. Ithmaar Bank's parent company, Ithmaar Holding, listed recently on the Dubai Financial Market. Al-Mutawa believes the company is well established now to approach the capital markets and the bank has no imminent plans to raise funds through a bond or loan. Ithmaar Holding is also exploring the sale of its 25.4% stake in Bahrain's BBK, which has operations in Bahrain, Kuwait, India and Dubai. Al-Mutawa declined to comment on the timeframe for the disposal of the BBK stake.

CIBAFI and The World Bank presenting study on "Corporate Governance Practices in Islamic banks 2017"

It is well established that good corporate governance strengthens institutions and financial sectors, and in so
doing contributes to building strong economies and economic growth.

Deficiencies in corporate governance were among the factors that contributed to the global financial crisis
(GFC) of 2007–08. As a result, global standard setters such as the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision
(BCBS) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have been updating and
strengthening their guidelines on good governance practices.

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), which sets standards for Islamic financial institutions, published its
Guiding Principles on Corporate Governance in 2006 as its standard IFSB-3. The Principles address, within the
context of corporate governance, the distinct features of Islamic banks, such as the different relationship that
they have with some of their stakeholders.

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Jaiz Bank is enjoying a fresh wave of confidence from investors

Amid a volatile environment, Jaiz Bank Nigeria is enjoying a rising wave of confidence among investors. Share price has been in an upward trajectory ever since the start of the year.

INTERVIEW-#Bahrain's Salam Bank to launch Islamic #insurance products in #Algeria in 2018-CEO

Bahrain's Salam Bank will launch Islamic insurance products and Visa credit card services in Algeria this year. Salam Bank CEO Hideur Nasser said the lender would open 10 more branches in the country as the market for Islamic products was growing. He added that Islamic banking made up only 15.5% of the private sector in Algeria. The government wants to develop the sector, as the country looks for more ways to offset the sharp fall in oil prices and its energy revenues. For this, technical expertise and new legislation is needed in a country where powerful elites have resisted changes. Nasser said the legal framework had to be amended and sukuk could not be sold under current laws despite great appetite for them.

Islamic banks defy market challenges in 2017

Islamic banks made big gains in financing growth and profitability in 2017 while keeping their operating costs and cost of risks under control. Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), reported a net profit Dh4.5 billion for 2017, up 11% compared to 2016. Total income increased to Dh10.19 billion, up 18% compared to Dh8.63 billion for 2016. Net revenue for 2017 amounted to Dh7.68 billion, an increase of 14% compared with Dh6.76 billion in 2016. DIB Managing Director, Abdullah Al Hamli, says the UAE continues to be one of the leading Islamic finance markets, with assets now reaching around $150 billion, a 7% growth this year. Emirates Islamic reported a net profit of Dh702 million, up 565% compared to 2016. Decline in operating costs and impairments boosted net profits last year. Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB) reported a full-year 2017 net profit of Dh477.7 million compared with Dh462.9 million in 2016.

Gatehouse Bank expands residential team with appointments from Al Rayan

London-based Gatehouse Bank has expanded its residential home finance team with two new appointments. Umar Ali joins Gatehouse Bank as Head of Home Finance after five years at Al Rayan Bank. Junaid Sarwar has been appointed as a London-based Business Development Manager. Junaid also joins after six years at Al Rayan Bank and has held previous roles at Santander and Barclays Bank. Paul Stockwell, Gatehouse Bank’s CCO, said the bank managed to build a strong team of experienced specialists as it expands into the residential home finance sector.

Dubai Islamic Bank weighs capital-raising in 2018 -CEO

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) plans to raise capital in 2018 to help support an expected double-digit rise in loan growth. DIB's CEO Adnan Chilwan said the bank was considering options including a rights issue and an issue of Islamic bonds. The final decision will be subject to regulatory approvals. The bank is now targeting loan growth of between 10 and 15% in 2018, the same target it set for 2017.

Head of Islamic finance body AAOIFI resigns

The head of the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) has resigned. Hamed Hassan Merah presented his resignation after more than three years and the board of trustees accepted it. As a complex organisation with 200 institutional members from across 45 countries, the AAOIFI had been slow to respond to issues relating to conflicts of interest and product standardisation. Under Merah, the AAOIFI tackled such issues head on, launching a review of its accounting, auditing and sharia standards. In November, Merah said AAOIFI would now prioritize wider adoption of its standards by engaging national regulators in key markets, including Turkey and Malaysia. Saudi Arabia’s central bank joined AAOIFI as an institutional member in October 2017.

#Saudi bank #merger presses ahead after delays

The proposed merger of Saudi British Bank (SABB) and Alawwal Bank has been delayed but not derailed. The two banks announced in April that they had agreed to start talks, but progress has since faltered because of the complexity of the deal. Progress on the SABB-Alawwal merger has taken longer than expected because the regulatory environment for bank acquisitions in Saudi Arabia is relatively untested. Meanwhile, dozens of princes, high officials and senior businessmen were detained in November in a corruption crackdown. Among those was SABB vice chairman Khalid Bin Abdullah al-Mulhem. Almost all banks in Saudi Arabia were affected by the crackdown when authorities ordered the freezing of more than 2,000 accounts across the sector. A merged Alawwal and SABB would rank as the third-largest bank in Saudi Arabia with assets of $77.6bn, behind National Commercial Bank and Al Rajhi Bank.

IIRA rates Al Baraka Bank #Syria strong for second year in a row

Al Baraka Bank Syria was granted a BBB investment grade rating by the International Islamic Rating Agency (IIRA). The bank was also assigned a sufficient credit capacity, with a rating of (71-75) as a total credit score. It also earned a strong credit rating, with a rating of 76-80 for the Asset Quality Management. The Bank’s corporate governance was assessed in the range of 66-70, and the Shari’a governance within the range (71-75). Mohammed Abdullah Halabi, CEO of Al Baraka Bank Syria said this result confirmed the accuracy of the strategy adopted by the Bank and the high quality performance of the management team.

SBP voted as best central bank for promoting Islamic finance

State Bank of Pakistan has been voted as the Best Central Bank in Promoting Islamic Finance by a poll conducted by International Finance News (IFN). The central bank has also won this award in 2015. In 2016, Pakistan was awarded Global Islamic Finance Award (Advocacy Award) by Edbiz Consulting Limited, UK. This recognizes the dedication and commitment of State Bank of Pakistan for laying the foundations for the sustainable growth of Islamic finance. In September 2017, the share of Islamic banking stood at 11.9% in terms of assets, while in terms of deposits its share is 13.7% with a network of 2,368 branches across the country.

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