Financial Institutions

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.

#Qatar needs to develop regulatory framework to cement Islamic finance lead: QFC

According to a Qatar Financial Center (QFC) study, Qatar needs to reform interbank liquidity management to study leakages from Islamic banks through interbank finance. Moreover, there is also a need to develop a regulatory framework and promote green bonds and sukuk. So far Qatar has led the world in ensuring in the authenticity of Shariah-compliant bank assets with Qatar Central Bank and the QFC Regulatory Authority requirements separating Islamic and conventional banks. To ensure this segregation, there should be a review of interbank markets to limit flows from Islamic banks to conventional ones in their liquidity management operations using 'Murabaha'. The report also stressed the role of a centralised guidance on fit and proper criteria for Shariah scholars and promoting Fintech development.

New top brass for Shahjalal Islami Bank

Akkas Uddin Mollah has recently been elected chairman of Shahjalal Islami Bank. The election took place at the 259th meeting of the bank's board of directors in its head office in Dhaka. The meeting also reelected Khandoker Sakib Ahmed and Mohammed Golam Quddus as vice chairmen. Mollah is the chairman of Osman Memorial Hospital and Russel Spinning Mills. Ahmed is the managing director of Zuairia Group, while Quddus is a director of the bank representing Anwer Khan Modern Hospital.

QIIB high ratings by Moody’s, Fitch reflect #Qatar’s economic strength, says Al-Shaibei

QIIB announced that Moody’s and Fitch Ratings have affirmed its ratings at 'A2' and 'A' respectively. Moody’s said that its rating is based on several considerations, one of which is that the bank maintains high levels of liquidity and a strong capital base. Fitch explained that immediate risks from the diplomatic crisis to the bank’s overall standalone credit profile has reduced. The bank’s funding profile has generally stabilised from the back of outflows of nondomestic funding and the Qatari authorities have continued to provide funding support. QIIB's CEO Dr Abdulbasit Ahmad al-Shaibei said this strong rating was a confirmation of the strength of the Qatari economy and its ability to overcome various types of risks. He added that the ratings of Moody’s and Fitch proved that QIIB had a solid financial position, confirmed by its financial results, as in the third quarter of 2017, when the bank achieved a growth of 5.1%.

#ICD and #Afreximbank #sign $100m line of #financing #deal

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector the private sector arm of Islamic Development Bank Group and the African Export-Import Bank signed a line of financing agreement for a $100-million facility on December 24th in Jeddah.

The $100-million line of financing facility will be utilized by Afreximbank to provide Shariah-compliant financing to small and medium-sized enterprises in its member countries in Africa. Afreximbank has a solid pipeline of projects in the industrial, communication, technology, health care, construction and agricultural sectors that would be financed by the ICD line of financing.

Source: 

http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/524858/BUSINESS/ICD-and-Afreximbank-sign-$100m-line-of-financing-deal

Stronger #leadership guiding #KFH #Malaysia towards resurgence as #leading #Islamic #bank

The World’s oldest Islamic bank has strengthened its leadership to provide sharia-compliant products and services to an even broader market. Simpler, better, faster. These three key words form the cornerstone of a strategy that is seen to propel Kuwait Finance House Malaysia from its present level to a stronger position in the region. Thanks to fundamental adjustments that demonstrate efforts of Kuwait Finance House to grow its Malaysian subsidiary, the outlook for KFH Malaysia has never been better. “After making changes to the management structure in Kuwait, we came to bring the Malaysia arm in line with the group and to make sure that we drive forward to become the dominant player in Southeast Asia,” CEO David Power said.
Groomed as the regional hub for KFH in the Far East, KFH Malaysia had 18 vacant management positions when Power took over. Within a short period, he took steps to make sure that the bank had the right people on board who could assess the problems and come up with short-, medium- and long-term solutions.

Storm looming over Zitouna Bank sale

The sale of Zitouna Bank, which was launched on December 5 by state holding company Al Karama, could be quickly scuttled by the investment banks and other groups which had been hoping to get involved in this major operation.

#Iranian Private Banks Secure #Qatar Foothold

Several major Iranian private lenders have recently established correspondent relations with Qatar National Bank (QNB). Kourosh Parvizian, CEO of Parsian Bank, said these banks opened accounts with QNB and are prepared to offer financial services to Iranian and Qatari businesses. QNB governor Sheikh Abdullah Saoud Al-Thani said Qatari lenders will make efforts to remove trade obstacles quickly. The Iranian delegation in Doha held a meeting with officials from QNB, Al Rayan Bank and Al Khaliji Bank. They discussed using local currencies in bilateral trade and taking speedy measures to ease trade between the two countries. Bank Melli Iran is also holding talks with one of the largest banks in Qatar for establishing correspondent ties.

Iranian Banks’ Incomes, Expenses Projected for 2018-19

The total projected income of eight Iranian state-owned banks has been put at 845.2 trillion rials ($20.09 billion) for the fiscal 2018-19. These banks include Bank Melli Iran, Bank Sepah, Bank Keshavarzi (AgriBank), Bank of Industry and Mine, Export Development Bank of Iran, Post Bank of Iran, Tose'e Ta'avon Bank (Cooperatives Development Bank) and Bank Maskan. The expenses of these banks have been predicted to match their incomes at 820.2 trillion rials ($19.49 billion). President Rouhani submitted the budget on Sunday for the next fiscal year that begins on March 21, 2018. The bill also cements the authority held by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance to issue official guarantees. All projects belonging to the private sector, cooperatives and non-government public entities that meet the criteria will be able to employ foreign funds.

#Bahrain to launch compulsory risk regime for Islamic banks

The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) will publish a consultation on a proposed risk assessment framework for Islamic banks in the first quarter of 2018. Khalid Hamad Abdul-Rahman Hamad, director of banking supervision at CBB, said the bank was planning to issue a very detailed risk management toolkit to improve risk management practices taken by Islamic banks. Under the proposed new rules, banks are required to have proper reserves, be it profit equalisation reserves or investment risk reserves. Whenever banks are investing, they must have a pre-plan regarding how much of bank assets will be funded by unrestricted investment accounts and how much will be invested from funds.

GFH in $150m deal to sell assets to global private schools operator

Gulf Finance House (GFH) has struck a $150 million deal to sell part of its educational assets to a global private schools operator called Inspired. Inspired runs private schools in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Australia. Hisham Al-Rayes, CEO of GFH, said Inspired’s network and experience would add significant value to the schools. This way, both students and teachers will take part in exchange programs and benefit from the latest programs to enhance the level of education. Inspired has schools in Italy, the UK, Switzerland, Belgium, South Africa, Kenya, Australia, Colombia and Peru. GFH’s businesses include asset management, wealth management, commercial banking and real estate development.

Digitisation, it’s all in the family

Emirates Islamic is targeting balance sheet growth and improved profitability along with digitisation. According to Deputy CEO Wasim Saifi, these objectives are complementary. The speedier technology adoption comes naturally due to the bank's close links with Emirates NBD, a technology leader in consumer banking in the UAE. As a subsidiary of Emirates NBD, it has access to all the innovations the parent company adopts. Emirates Islamic has upgraded its core banking platform and introduced an improved mobile banking app with 25 new services. Emirates Islamic is the first and only Islamic Bank in the UAE to support both Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. As part of the new product roll out, the bank has launched QuickRemit to India and will launch the service to Pakistan and other remittance corridors soon.

Fidor Expands Middle East Africa Regional Hub in Dubai Silicon Oasis

Fidor Solutions has opened its newest office in Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSOA), the integrated free zone technology park. DSOA's Deputy CEO, Juma Al Matrooshi and Fidor's Founder Matthias Kröner led the inauguration of Fidor’s regional headquarters in the presence of senior officials. Fidor is committed to contributing to the region’s growth by helping strengthen the fintech community and support the region’s economy through local employment and new talent searches. Commenting on the expansion, Matthias Kröner said Dubai was the natural next step for Fidor, especially because of the region’s growth within ecommerce, payments and its overall digitisation. Juma Al Matrooshi congratulated Fidor on expanding its regional presence in the Middle East and assured that the digital banking provider will significantly benefit from this location.

Noor Bank to move away from unsecured small business lending- CEO

UAE's Noor Bank is to move away from unsecured lending to small and medium-sized enterprises. CEO John Iossifidis said the bank was not turning its back on that sector, but it’s certainly not going to be the unfettered lending that was happening two years ago in the banking sector. Other local banks have already taken steps to cut their exposure to the SME sector. Noor Bank also intends to diversify its corporate loan book. In its retail business, the bank aims to shift its focus more towards affluent consumer clients by raising the minimum salary threshold for customers. Iossifidis said the bank had a 7% market share in the UAE mortgage market, giving it an advantage in capturing greater market share in the affluent market.

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