Islamic Banking

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Vatican related newspaper: Islamic finance suggests ideas for Western financial crisis

Loretta Napoleoni and Claudia Segre suggesting in the Vatican related L'Osservatore Romano, that Islamic finance offers ideas for the Western financial crisis. Citing the main concepts of Islamic finance and emphasizing specifically Sukuk.

The original article is in Italian linked via Source.

New governor of Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency may promote Islamic finance further

The appointment of Muhammad Al-Jasser last month as the new governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA). Foreign regulatory officials and bankers expect a much more proactive policy approach from the new governor. Others expect SAMA under Al-Jasser to open up to Islamic banking in particular and to show leadership in this field in the light of the growing globalization of the industry.

Pakistan still substantal cash outside the banking system

Adviser to PM on Finance Shaukat Tareen has asked Islamic banks to bring billions of rupees in formal banking which are kept with the people on religious grounds.

Tareen said that this huge amount can be brought in for productive purposes and channelised into a profit and loss based system of banking.

Dubai Islamic Bank posts USD 471 mn profit for 2008

Andy Sambidge reported on 25 February in Arabianbusiness that Dubai Islamic Banking reported only a small decline in net profit in 2008, AED 1.73 bn (USD 471 mn) in net profit for 2008. DIB’s total assets as of December 31, 2008, stood at AED 84.6 bn, up slightly compared to the end of the same period in 2007.

DIB’s full-year results reflected total impairment provisions of AED 521 million (including writedowns on its investment portfolio) and mark-to-market losses on equity investments of AED 277 million. The majority of these were recorded in the fourth quarter of the year, one of the primary reasons impacting profitability during the last quarter of 2008.

The Board of directors of Dubai Islamic Bank has proposed a cash dividend of 25 percent and bonus share of five percent for 2008.

Moody's negative on Qatar banks

Martin Morris reported on 23 February in Arabianbusiness that Moody's, says the fundamental credit outlook for the Qatari banking system is negative, reflecting expectations of a weakening in operating conditions.
In its new Banking System Outlook on Qatar the agency examines the likely future direction of fundamental credit conditions in the industry over the next 12 to 18 months. It does not represent a projection of rating upgrades versus downgrades.

Negative factors evaluated are the asset quality, impacted by property lending and the reduced profitability also impacted by stock market developments. The direct impact of the financial crisis has however so far been limited.

Thomson Reuters Appoints Rushdi Siddiqui as Head of Islamic Finance

Mr. Siddiqui joined Thomson Reuters from Dow Jones, where he was Global Director for their Islamic Market Indices at Thomson Reuters he is appointed Rushdi Siddiqui to lead its Islamic Finance business.

Thomson Reuters, which has been active in the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia since 1865, has strong Islamic Finance assets covering leading content, news, analytics and trading capabilities. In this newly created role, Mr. Siddiqui will be utilizing these assets and working closely with Islamic finance and banking professionals including fund managers, treasury, financial hubs, regulators, stock exchanges, central banks, Takafol (insurance) entities, Halal industry, intra-OIC (57 Muslim countries), trade, investment, as well as others to strengthen and grow this business.

Basil Moftah is Managing Director for Thomson Reuters in the Middle East and Africa.

Al-Salam Bank Bahrain in early merger talks with Bahrain Saudi Bank

The two institutions are in the early stages exploring the possibility of a business combination through a share exchange with ASBB issuing shares to BSB shareholders. The combination is subject to approvals by the Boards and shareholders of both the institutions and regulators in Bahrain and Dubai it was revealed.

Deloitte sets up KL Islamic Finance Centre of Excellence

DELOITTE is setting up an Islamic Finance Centre of Excellence in Kuala Lumpur. This is Deloitte’s only such centre in the region and one of three globally, alongside London and Dubai.

Dubai`s credit situation

Rachel Ziemba analysis the credit situation of Dubai on 17 February on RGEmonitor observing that in recent weeks CDS spreads on the debt of Dubai’s largest State-linked vehicles like Dubai Holding etc shot up dramatically after Abu Dhabi announced a unilateral recapitalization of its banks. The cost to buy prrotection on the 1 year bond has doubled since late January and now stands at 1073bps. This is deemed linked to the previous market opinion that Abu Dhabi would support Dubai, while the recent step to just re-capitalise their own banks caused some doubts. The property bust in Dubai goes on with severe consequences.

The full report shows an excellent overall summary of the situation. It can be accessed via the link "source" below.

Islamic International Foundation for Economics & Finance, KSA aims to establish new standardising body

Islamic International Foundation for Economics & Finance in Saudi-Arabia aims to set up a committee of senior Islamic scholars in the kingdom by 2010 to help standardise Islamic banking edicts in Saudi-Arabia. The foundation is in the early talks with Sharia scholars and hoped to “institutionalise” Islamic rulings within a year, according to Mr Al-Zamil.

Yousef Abdullah al-Zamil is the foundation`s assistant secretary general.

Rumour: Dubai Islamic Investment Group may sell stake in Maybank

Malaysia's top lender, Maybank, said it was not in talks to buy Dubai Islamic Investment Group's stake in Bank Islam, a deal that would have created the largest sharia compliant bank in the Asia-Pacific region. Dubai Islamic Investment Group, which is part of Dubai Group, was interested in selling its 40 percent stake in unlisted Bank Islam to Maybank Islamic, the banking sources added. Approached to comment on whether it was selling its stake, Dubai Group said that it "is a long-term strategic investor" in Bank Islam.

Gulf Finance House (GFH) has approved a cash dividend of USD 52.56 mn

Gulf Finance House (GFH) has approved a cash dividend of USD 52.56 mn for last year. This is equivalent to 20 % of the par value of the paid-up capital. In addition a further 20 % will be paid in the form of bonus shares. This has been driven by strong end of year profits of USD 291mn.

University Bank Receives the American Bankers Association's Community Bank Award for 2009

University Bank was nationally acknowledged by the American Bankers Association for its innovative programs to increase homeownership opportunities at the American Bankers Association's National Conference for Community Bankers in Phoenix, Ariz. on Feb. 17.

The selection committee lauded University Bank for its innovative programs such as home financings for Muslim customers. Muslims are much less likely to be homeowners on average due to religious prohibitions on the payment or receipt of interest. University Bank designed a program to meet these needs, which has so far resulted in over USD 50 mn of financings for the purchase of homes by Muslim customers of the bank.

Floatation of Bank Mellat faces difficult market environment

Fredrik Dahl and Parisa Hafezi reported on 18 February in Forbes about the floatation of a 5 % stake in Bank Mellat, Iran. Market environment was not supportive with a fall of 30 % of share prices since last August.

A Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE) official said investors bought 340 million, or around 52 percent, of the 655 million Bank Mellat shares on offer, and suggested the price had been set too high in view of the difficult market conditions.

Iran's economy is dominated by the state but the government has been seeking to speed up privatisations after the constitution was changed to encourage the sale of assets.

Iran is privatizing banks

Iran plans to offer 5 % of Bank Mellat to private investors to study the demand and interest from buyers. Bank Mellat, Iran's second-largest bank after state-owned Bank Melli, is estimated to have a share of around 15 % of the country's banking industry.

It is said two other state banks - Tejarat and Saderat - were next in line to be partly sold off.

Industrial Development Bank becomes Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) announced the official re-launch of Jordan-based Industrial Development Bank (IDB) following the completion of a private placement of 26 million shares of IDB, valued at USD 100 mn. As part of the re-launch, IDB has been transformed into an Islamic financing institution to be known as Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank (JDIB).

The parties involved in the private placement transaction include Jordan Dubai Financial (JD Financial), the investment arm of Jordan Dubai Capital, DIB and Dubai International Capital. The private placement was valued at JOD 2.750 per share, based on the pricing equation adopted by the bank's Shareholders General Assembly, wherein the strategic partner, Mesc Investment, covered the entire placement.

Islamic banking law in Kazakhstan came into effect

Clare Nuttal reported on 13 February on Business News Europe that Kazakhstan launches a new commodity exchange and confirmed in the same article that the Islamic finance law came into effect in January.

Bahrain Islamic Bank receives first rating from Moody`s

Martin Morris reported on 10 February on Arabianbusiness that Moody's Investors Service, has assigned Baa1 long-term and Prime-2 short-term local and foreign currency issuer ratings and a D+ bank financial strength rating (BFSR) to Bahrain Islamic Bank. (BisB). The rating outlook is stable.

Sharjah Islamic Bank profit drops 23 %

Sharjah Islamic Bank released that its profits declined 23 % to AED 231.59 mn in 2008, down from AED 301.83 mn in 2007.

Amlak Finance Jordan reducing its capital

The board of Amlak Finance Jordan decided to reduce its capital to 1 mn Jordinian Dinar in order to preserve the rights of the shareholders, and in consideration of the global financial crisis, which hit specifically the mortgage markets.

The main investors in the company are cited, that the decision on this specific sector does not preclude high confidence in the Jordanian investment environment and the strength of the Jordanian economy, which is less affected by the crisis than other region and stressing that their investments in other crucial sectors in the Kingdom are still ongoing according to plans.

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