Britain's first Islamic law compliant stand-alone High Street bank has opened for the first time in Scotland.
Al Rayan Bank, formerly the Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), which has just over 2000 customers north of the border, has opened an office in Glasgow. The West Midlands-based bank will not pay or charge interest and is founded on an Islamic financial model in which the customer and the bank share the risk of any investment on agreed terms, and divide any profits between them. The move north comes some 12 years after IBB opened its first branch on Edgware Road in London.
A bank spokeswoman said that a key reason for the move was that it was able to form a partnership in Glasgow with the Islamic Finance Council, the advisory and developmental body, with which it shares its office location in Fitzroy Place, Glasgow. Cabinet secretary for economy, jobs and fair work, Keith Brown said: “Al Rayan Bank’s welcome decision to expand its operations into Scotland for the first time highlights the real opportunity offered by ethical finance. This announcement reflects Scotland’s growing profile in ethical finance."
With Islamic finance entering London’s financial market and billions of dollars of investment in the UK and global real estate coming from Gulf Cooperation Council countries and other Muslim jurisdictions, the UK government was one of the first in the West that started propelling initiatives on Islamic financing vehicles for property purchases as early as in 2013. Meanwhile, Islamic financing facilities have become so popular for real estate transactions in the UK undertaken by Arab investors that the next International Real Estate Finance Summit, the premier real estate event in the UK scheduled to take place on December 1 and 2, 2015, in London, will entirely focus on the opportunities Shariah-compliant finance vehicles entail for property financing.
Shareholders of the Birmingham-based Islamic Bank of Britain have given their approval to change its name to Al Rayan Bank. As a result of the rebranding, the bank has introduced a new Al Rayan Bank logo and brand identity, which are being implemented across its website, literature and branches. Al Rayan Bank’s activities will continue to be monitored by an independent Sharia supervisory committee and a dedicated compliance officer. It will continue to operate as a UK regulated bank and customers’ deposits will remain protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) has announced the promotion of Matthew Glover to the newly created positon of Head of IT & Change. Mr Glover's remit is to manage the Bank's transformation programme as it enters a period of expansion. His is the third senior appointment this year, including Keith Leach as Chief Commercial Office and the confirmation of Sultan Choudhury as Chief Executive Officer. All three appointments have followed the Bank's acquisition, in early 2014, by Masraf Al Rayan (QSC). Since then, IBB's new parent has invested £100milion of capital to support the Bank's ambitious growth targets. IBB also recently announced that subject to formal shareholder approval, it will be changing its name from Islamic Bank of Britain to Al Rayan Bank, in December 2015.
The synergy between the Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) and its parent company Masraf Al Rayan will soon be reflected in the British bank’s name. Customers were informed last week that the new name for IBB to be adopted towards the end of the year will be Al Rayan Bank. Sultan Choudhury, chief executive officer of IBB, emphasised in the letter he sent out last week informing customers about the name change that the bank remains British regulated with a British board. The bank has invested heavily in its internet banking capability which has opened up its services to a much broader customer base. Its latest data also shows a big surge in non-Muslim customers.
Islamic Bank of Britain plc (IBB), has appointed Keith Leach to the newly created position of Chief Commercial Officer (CCO). Mr Leach’s remit is to grow IBB’s corporate and real estate business, focussing on higher value transactions. His appointment follows the Bank’s acquisition by Masraf Al Rayan (QSC) earlier in the year. A £75.8 million cash injection from IBB’s new parent company, provided in February 2014, will support its expansion plans. Appointed to the position from his role at the Arab Banking Corporation (ABC), Mr Leach has over 30 years of banking experience with Lloyds, Ahli United and ABC, 20 years of which has been spent in the UK Islamic finance industry.
The Islamic Bank of Britain has once again joined forces with the National Zakat Foundation (NZF), a charity which collects and distributes funds to Muslims in the UK. The coming months will see the Bank and NZF roll out a number of activities for the benefit of IBB 's customers, including a Q&A event held via Twitter, NZF's Zakat education guide, available to download on the IBB website, private consultations for IBB customers with NZF Zakat specialists, a Zakat payment service, and an exclusive Zakat video Q&A from NZF. The aim of the IBB and NZF partnership is to promote a better understanding of Zakat amongst British Muslims.
The Islamic Bank of Britain plc (IBB) has accredited a new fully Sharia compliant auto-enrolment Pension Scheme: the Islamic Pension Trust. It has been launched to address the need for a Sharia compliant pension scheme to meet the criteria for automatic enrolment, as defined by the Government. This means that employers in the UK can meet their legal obligation to automatically enrol eligible Muslim employees into a qualifying workplace pension scheme. Eligible employees - i.e. those who are not in a company pension scheme, earning more than £10,0000 a year (2014/2015) and aged over 22 but under State Pension Age - represent a large proportion of the Muslim population.
Islamic Bank of Britain plc (IBB) has appointed Sultan Choudhury as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Director. He previously held the position of interim Managing Director of IBB. IBB is celebrating its 10 year anniversary this year and Mr Choudhury is the Bank’s longest-serving employee. He joined IBB when it was formed in 2004 and has since set up the Bank’s Head Office operations and Branch Network. Mr Choudhury has also led the development and implementation of IBB’s full product range and service delivery channels. As CEO, Mr Choudhury is working with IBB’s new parent company on plans to expand property finance to businesses, including development finance.
UK-based retail lender Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) plans to broaden its product range to win business both locally and across Europe, aided by the backing of its new Qatari shareholder Masraf Al-Rayan. IBB is developing its commercial property business to widen fee-based income as it aims to post a profit for the first time, newly-appointed CEO Sultan Choudhury said. Masraf Al-Rayan in February injected 75.8 million pounds ($129 million) into IBB to support its expansion plans. The bank's property finance business has doubled in size in the last year, which could allow IBB to expand later into Europe, said Choudhury, adding its retail operations would remain focused in the UK. IBB also aims to buy some of the 200 million pounds of sukuk that the British government will issue this week.
Islamic Bank of Britain is hosting an information evening in London dedicated to improving the local community’s understanding of Sharia compliant savings. The event will take place on Thursday 20th March 2014 at Islamic Bank of Britain, 97-99 Whitechapel Road, London, E1 1DT, from 6.30 pm – 8.00 pm. The evening will consist of a brief presentation about how customers can maximise the returns from their savings in a tax-efficient and Sharia compliant way. This will be followed by an informal Q&A and discussion session, and will cover IBB’s future plans since becoming part of the Masraf Al Rayan Q.S.C. (MAR) group, Qatar’s largest Sharia compliant bank. IBB is holding the event following its launch of the UK’s only Sharia compliant Notice Cash Individual Savings Account, with an expected profit rate of 1.8% (per annum).
Sultan Choudhury, managing director of Islamic Bank of Britain, discussed findings from a poll of more than 300 investors by IBB, which showed one-third of respondents were non-Muslim. Some 66 per cent of those surveyed believed sharia finance was appropriate in a modern western society. A similar number (60 per cent) said sharia finance was relevant to all faiths, while more than half (58 per cent) said they considered Islamic finance to be an ethical system. IBB also reported 81 per cent of its customers said they were likely to use sharia-compliant finance again. This first piece of research will shape how the retail market for Islamic finance evolves, he added.
The Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) has announced the launch of the UK’s first Islamic ISA. The account offers UK consumers an alternative and tax-free way to save. ISAs allow consumers to hold cash, shares and unit trusts free of tax on dividends, interest and capital gains. The UK Islamic finance sector is expected to see rapid growth this year and be worth $2 trillion (£1.2 trillion) by the end of 2014. The popularity of Islamic investment is growing outside of the Muslim community. The IBB estimates that over the last year, around 87% of applications for fixed term deposit accounts were from non-Muslim customers.
The Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), the UK’s only wholly Sharia compliant retail bank, has been acquired by Al Rayan (UK), the UK subsidiary of Masraf Al Rayan (MAR). The acquisition follows a cash offer made on 28 November 2013 for which MAR received over 95 per cent of valid shareholder acceptances, together with approval of the Prudential Regulation Authority for MAR to take control of IBB. MAR considers the acquisition an opportunity to expand its footprint and introduce its range of products to a fertile market with potential for continued growth. It will also enable Masraf Al Rayan to offer its existing Gulf-based customers additional services as they expand their activities into the UK.
The Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) has completed its first finance deal in Scotland for Al-Meezan, a non-profit, non-political organisation based in Glasgow. The deal for commercial property finance, valued at £400,000, has enabled Al-Meezan to complete renovation and extension work at its premises. It also includes refinancing of the credit for the initial building works, making Al Meezan's finances fully Sharia compliant. IBB 's commercial property finance is tailored to the needs of the customer, and is in line with Scottish law. In this case, the product uses the Islamic finance principles of Musharaka with Ijara. IBB expects continued interest in its offering, particularly in Scotland where there is a growing interest in Islamic and ethical finance.
Islamic Bank of Britain's directors responded favourably to a £24.1m offer from Qatari bank Masraf Al Rayan (MAR). The offer comes through MAR’s wholly owned subsidiary, Al Rayan (UK) Limited. MAR’s offer was first muted in October 2012 when the previous offer from IBB’s majority shareholder Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) lapsed. The offer is being recommended by the independent IBB directors who consider it to be fair and reasonable. The offer from Al Rayan (UK) will provide IBB with a new parent company with plans to grow the bank and inject additional capital to fund that growth. The advisory firm Cattaneo provided financial advise to the Islamic Bank of Britain, legal advice was provided by Eversheds. MAR received legal advice from CMS Cameron Mckenna.
The Islamic Bank of Britain has launched two Sharia compliant buy-to-let products. The first of the products is a two-year fix available to those with a 25% deposit at a rate of 5.09%, fixed until 31 December 2015. The second two-year fix is available at 65% LTV at a rate of 4.69%. An administration fee on £995 applies and both products provide finance of between £30,000 and £500,000 across the UK and £750,000 in central London. The products have no early repayment charges for clearing the finance in full. The provider said the loans are available to landlords of any faith.
The Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) has opted to integrate Salesforce.com with its core banking systems in a bid to avoid costly and time-consuming upgrades that it would have faced if it had decided to roll-out on-premise solutions, such as Oracle Siebel or Microsoft Dynamics. Even though Salesforce is slightly more expensive over a three year Return on Investment (ROI) period, COO Mohamed Gamil believes that the benefits of a public cloud platform far outweigh the extra investment required. The Bank has just completed its third major project using the Salesforce platform, where it is now looking to bring on board as many systems as it can, so as to make application processes for online customers as seamless as posible. IBB went live with a new on-boarding application in January 2012, where it is now also integrated with the bank’s Misys platform using IFrame, so that existing customers can also take advantage of applying for new current accounts online using the Salesforce tools.
Banks should not be afraid to go further and faster in their adoption of cloud computing, according to Mohamed Gamil, chief operating officer at Islamic Bank of Britain. IBB currently has a deal with US cloud computing company Salesforce.com. Gamil said that the adoption of the cloud means that he is free to experiment with new ideas without spending millions of pounds up front. Islamic Bank of Britain originally turned to cloud computing for customer relationship management. It then decided to move sales management, customer on-boarding for current accounts and savings into the cloud. Finally in July 2013, Islamic mortgage alternatives were added to the cloud. The cloud idea is especially interesting for small banks which have to compete with the big players that spend hundreds of millions of pounds on IT every year.
The Islamic Bank of Britain has launched a pair of new home finance deals. The IBB will now offer a 2-year fixed rental rate Home Purchase Plan at 3.79% and a discounted variable rental rate HPP at 3.59%. Both plans are available to consumers with a deposit of 35%. According to Imran Pasha, head of sales and service at IBB, this is the first time IBB has offered home finance to consumers with a 35% deposit. The launch will benefit home buyers with a larger deposit, existing homeowners looking at re-financing deals or those seeking to release some equity from their property.