Despite the global drop in oil prices, Islamic finance continues to thrive. According to the EY consultancy, Sharia-compliant banking grew at an annual rate of 17.6% between 2009 and 2013, and is now projected to grow by an estimated 19.7% annually by 2018. This rate of growth far outpaces that of conventional banks, putting pressure on traditional banks to diversify their operations by including Sharia-compliant services. Kuwait International Bank (KIB) converted to exclusively Sharia-compliant services in 2007 and paved the way for Islamic finance in Kuwait. Sheikh Mohammed Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah, Chairman of KIB, said the bank has adopted a new strategic outlook which had its first stage launched in 2015. This brought about a change in KIB’s franchise operations and its day-to-day activities. The second phase develops the bank's product and service offerings. The final stage scheduled for 2017 will focus on boosting KIB’s competitive edge within the banking industry.
According to Moody’s Investors Service, a proposed merger between three Qatari banks would help “rebalance” the banking sector in the country. The merger is currently at due diligence stage and will be subject to approval by the relevant authorities. The merged entity between Masraf Al Rayan, Barwa Bank and International Bank of Qatar would create the largest Islamic bank and second largest lender in Qatar. Total assets would amount to around QAR173bn ($48bn) and the market share would be around 14%. Moody’s assistant vice president Nitish Bhojnagarwala said Islamic banking asset growth has outpaced conventional banking in Qatar, as demonstrated by a 21% compound annual growth rate of loans for Islamic banks between 2011 and 2016 compared with 14% for the conventional banks. The GCC is witnessing a consolidation in the banking sector, with the two largest lenders in Abu Dhabi also currently preparing to merge.
Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Valiollah Seif said the country plans to establish a bank in Azerbaijan with 100% Iranian ownership. The plan involves turning a branch of Bank Melli Iran in Azerbaijan into an independent Azerbaijani bank. Seif added that all the shares of the new bank will be owned by Bank Melli Iran and that the details would be discussed next week during the visit of the Azerbaijani delegation to Tehran. Seif emphasized that certain plans were on agenda for Iran and Azerbaijan to use their national currencies in mutual transactions. Currently 32 banks operate in Azerbaijan and 36 banks operate in Iran.
Jaiz Bank added N36 billion to the total market capitalisation of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). The bank announced the official listing of its ordinary shares of N29.4 billion of 50kobo each at N1.25. The chairman of Jaiz Bank, Alhaji Umaru Abdul Mutallab, debunked insinuation that the bank was designed to only service the Islamic community, saying it was a bank for all Nigerians interested in doing ethical business. Jaiz Bank commenced operations in 2012 with a N3 billion deposit base. Since then it had a growth rate of 30%, with a current workforce of 600 staff across 30 branches across the country. On the future outlook of the bank, CEO Hassan Usman said Jaiz Bank’s prospects are bright, adding that the projection for the next five years indicated a gross revenue of N16 billion by 2021.
A Turkish court indictment ruled that some 5,000 academics have deposited cash in Bank Asya after an order from U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen. After the July 2016 coup attempt Bank Asya was seized by the state over its links to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ). The prosecutor of the case decided 15 years in prison for a total of 83 academics, of whom 21 are currently arrested. Some 33 of the suspects were alleged users of ByLock, an encrypted smartphone app that came to prominence after it revealed Gülenists used it to plan the coup. According to the indictment, the Gülen movement sent messages to senior members of the group on social media, ordering them to deposit cash in Bank Asya.
Applications for Islamic car loans in the UAE grew by 64.79% from 2015 to 2016. Despite growth in Islamic car loans, car loans based on traditional finance were more popular among UAE residents in 2016. Emirates NBD’s Feature-Packed Auto Loan was the most applied-for car loan in 2016. The second most applied-for auto loan of 2016 was that of HSBC, the third, fourth and fifth most applied-for car loans of 2016 were from Islamic banks. Emirates Islamic’s Auto Finance product came in third place, while Noor Bank’s Auto Finance and Ajman Bank’s Car Finance came in fourth and fifth respectively.
Finance Minister Ama Muhith has sought explanation from Bangladesh Bank about allegations of foreign investors of Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL). The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) alleged that the IBBL board made the recent high-level changes in the absence and without consent of foreign shareholders. Two foreign investors including IDB hold 52% shares of the IBBL. At the board meeting January 5, former bureaucrat Arastoo Khan was elected chairman of IBBL. Changes were also brought to the posts of managing director and heads of various committees of the bank and also to chief of the Islami Bank Foundation. At present, of the 16 board of directors, seven are independent directors, seven from little known companies and two are foreign sponsors’ representatives.
The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) expressed dismay at the recent changes that took place at Islami Bank Bangladesh (IBBL). In a letter to Finance Minister Ama Muhith, IDB said the foreign shareholders feel that the governance of the bank has been taken away from them, although they own more than 52% of the shares, while IDB has a 7.5%. The IDB also criticised the way a board meeting at IBBL is convened. Furthermore, the IDB voiced its concern about the recent changes, about appointing the new managing director in an abrupt manner, not following the rigorous recruitment process. As a response to IDB's letter, Islami Bank said in a statement that all banking rules have been followed properly.
The Emir of Gwandu Muhammad Iliyasu Bashar has commended Jaiz Bank for its banking policies and principles of making life better for people. The royal father made the commendation at his palace when the Managing Director of the bank, Malan Hassan Usman, the Regional Manager, Dr. Nurudeen Liman and Habibu Isa Muhammad, the branch Manager of Birnin Kebbi paid him a courtesy call. Malan Hassan Usman expressed his appreciation of the support rendered by the Emir towards the establishment of the bank. He said the bank started operation 5 years ago with provisional approval to open three branches in Abuja, Kaduna and Kano but now the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has given full approval to the bank to open its branches nationwide. Currently the bank has 27 branches with 3 new ones coming next week.
#Saudi-based Alinma Bank’s chief executive officer, Abdul Mohsen Al Fares discusses the bank's earnings and lending growth. Alinma Bank achieved a new record in the last quarter. Growth drivers include the infrastructure projects that started two years ago and will take other three of five years to complete. In terms of net interest margins, Al Fares believes that the recovery will come gradually. As interest rate is rising, the margin will also go up. Alinma Bank has expansion plans for 2017, it currently has 164 branches across the kingdom and it plans to open 12 new branches this year.
Summit will explore intersection of #fintech, #ESG and #Islamicfinance. #RFISummit17
January 24, 2017, Zurich, Switzerland –
Bringing together a diversity of perspectives is critical for continuing the growth occurring within responsible finance. On this premise, the Responsible Finance & Investment Summit 2017 will convene in Zurich, Switzerland from 3-4 May 2017 around the theme “Building Bridges, Expanding Impact”.
Recent estimates from industry stakeholders show continued growth in responsible finance assets in many geographies and sectors. Responsible investment in Europe grew by 42% during the past 2 years, while in the U.S., assets grew by 33%. In Islamic finance, which has a global presence with a significant presence in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, growth in the last 2 years has been 21%. Identifying actionable areas for collaboration will support continued growth towards a more sustainable financial system.
Kuwait Finance House (KFH) has welcomed the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK)’s instructions and regulations regarding the role of Sharia Supervisory Boards in Islamic banks. Islamic Banks would be given until December 31st, 2017 to fulfill the requirements. Isa Abdullah Duwaishan, Executive Manager Shariah Control & Advisory at KFH, stated that the executive team of the board encompasses qualified Shariah controllers who audit the compliance and commitment of all bank departments to sharia rules. He reiterated the efforts of continually improving the skills of Shariah controllers and the Shariah staff in the bank through engaging them in specialized training courses. KFH's Shariah Supervisory Board issues Fatwa and Shariah reports that are viewed as a reference to other banks.
#Saudi Arabia’s Bank AlJazira has reported a drop in profits of 32.25% to SAR 872 million for 2016. Profits for Q4 2016 were down 4.4% on a year ago to SAR 152 million. Earnings per share were down from SAR 3.22 to SAR 2.18. However, the loans and advances portfolio contracted by 0.18% to SAR 42 billion. The bank attributed the fall in net income to a decrease in operating income by 14%. There is also a decrease in net special commission income, net trading income and other operating income against an increase in net exchange income and net banking fees. Total equity as of end-2016 was SAR 8,104 million, comparing with amount of SAR 7,413 million the previous year, an increase of 9%.
Islami Bank Bangladesh has undergone abrupt, major changes in its three top positions - chairman, vice chairman and managing director. Arastoo Khan, the former chairman of Commerce Bank has now become chairman of Islami Bank, replacing incumbent Mustafa Anowar. As a representative of Ibn Sina run by Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami leaders, Mustafa Anowar was serving as the chairman of the bank. He also resigned from the post of director as well as from the post in the bank’s foundation. The board of directors also replaced the bank’s managing director (MD) Mohammad Abdul Mannan by Union Bank’s MD Abdul Hamid Mia. Islami Bank Bangladesh has 307 branches including 57 AD branches and three offshore banking units as well as 13,229 staff members, as of December 2015.
Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) sold its stake in Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank. DIB held 20.8% in Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank through a 40% shareholding in MESC Investments. MESC Investments had completed the sale of its stake in Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank to Jordan-based Bank Al Etihad and Etihad Islamic Investment Company. The value of the sale was not disclosed.
The Bahrain-based Al Baraka Banking Group (ABG) has obtained the approval of the Bank Al Maghrib (the central bank of Morocco) to establish a new bank in Morocco. The Group is now represented in all countries in the Maghreb. The Group now owns banking subsidiaries in Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Morocco, as well as the African continent in Egypt, Sudan and South Africa. The Group has already obtained the approval of the Central Bank of Bahrain to establish the Morocco bank and will carry the name of Al Baraka Bank Morocco. The new bank will be under the management of Al Baraka Banking Group and will operate within its network of subsidiary banking units, which are currently located in 15 countries and in turn own more than 700 branches.
Five Islamic banks are set to open in Morocco after Bank Al-Maghrib, the country’s Central Bank, approved five applications. A further three banks have been given permission to sell Islamic products. A Shari’ah committee which will govern all Islamic finance activities will also be established. The five banks are: CIH Bank in partnership with Qatar International Islamic Bank; BMCE Bank of Africa jointly with the Saudi/Bahraini group Dalla Al Baraka; Banque Centrale Populaire with the Saudi group Guidance; and Crédit Agricole du Maroc in partnership with the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD). Attijariwafa Bank is currently in talks about a future partnership. Banque Marocaine du Commerce et de l’Industrie, Crédit du Maroc and Société Générale have all been given the green light to sell Islamic products.
The Federal Board of Revenue has proposed Shariah-compliant criteria for companies whose shares are traded on a stock exchange to avail the reduced rate of tax under Income Tax Ordinance 2001. According to the SRO.1173(I)/2016 issued by the FBR, the Board has proposed amendments to the Income Tax Rules, 2002. To avail reduced rate of tax, the FBR has proposed Shariah-compliant criteria for a company whose shares are traded on a stock exchange.
Firstly, the business of the company should be Halal i.e. it shall not include processing or manufacturing of pork, liquor, non-Halal products, pornographic material or any other activity not permitted by Shariah. Secondly, there should be Riba-free (interest-free) financing on the balance sheet of the company; however, the company may be leveraged through Islamic modes of financing obtained from licensed Islamic financial institutions.
Thirdly, all the investments made by the company should be one hundred per cent Shariah compliant; therefore, it would not be permissible for the company to acquire non-Shariah compliant instruments/securities which yield interest or income that is not Halal.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Thursday condemned the appointment of the governor of Nigeria’s central bank as leader of the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation (IILMC). In a statement by CAN’s president, Samson Ayokunle, the association described the appointment of Godwin Emefiele as the IILMC chairman, as unconstitutional and totally unacceptable.
According to CAN, the government’s decision to accept the appointment amounted to denouncing Nigeria as a secular state, in negation of section 10 of the 1999 constitution. “There have been reports that the IILMC recently appointed the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele as its Chairman during its 17th Governing Board meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia. “Section 10 states that The Government of the Federation or a State shall not adopt any religion as State Religion. This action by Nigeria’s government is in clear negation of the constitution, especially this section,” the statement said. The association re-emphasised its earlier allegation that the Nigerian government plans to make the country an Islamic state.
#Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB) has received Bank Negara’s approval for talks on a proposed merger with Asian Finance Bank (AFB). MBSB will soon start negotiations with the existing Middle Eastern shareholders of AFB, namely Qatar Islamic Bank (66.67%), RUSB Investment Bank (16.67%), Tadhamon International Islamic Bank (10%) and Financial Assets Bahrain (6.67%), for the merger. The negotiations are to be completed within the next six months. For the nine months ended Sept 30, 2016, AFB reported a net profit of RM4.54 million, an 18.8% drop compared with RM5.58 million in the same period last year. MBSB has a goal to become an Islamic financial institution by 2020 through merger with an Islamic lender. It centres his business efforts on six areas, namely, business focus, right pricing, asset quality, cost cutting, retail collection and information technology initiatives.