Financial Institutions

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.


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.

'We've been badly served by banks': the small firms seeking #ethical #banking

Dave Fishwick, the founder of Burnley Savings and Loans, put millions of pounds behind the belief that there’s a demand for ethical banking. He aims to link local savers with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in need of finance, run by a locally based bank manager who makes lending decisions based on deep personal knowledge, rather than an algorithm. Fishwick believes that ethical banks are needed: small, simple, honest banks run by the community to serve the community. While SMEs often can’t get loans from major banks, Conrad Ford, CEO of Funding Options, notes that a wave of challenger banks are offering help. They include Metro Bank, Civilised Bank and Greater London Mutual, all with an emphasis on integration with a defined community or locality.

MBSB-AFB Islamic banking entity to start off with RM42 bil assets, says CEO

Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB) is expected to start off its new banking entity in the second quarter of next year with RM42 billion in Islamic assets. The company has recently secured an Islamic banking licence by acquiring Asian Finance Bank (AFB) in a RM644.95 million deal. MBSB’s banking subsidiary will be the country’s second largest standalone Islamic lender after Bank Islam Malaysia, which had assets of RM54.25 billion as at June 30. After the merger MBSB will continue to be the listed holding entity, while AFB will be the wholly-owned subsidiary that runs the banking business. According to MBSB's CEO, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zaini Othman, the banking entity will have a similar composition, with 70% in retail banking and 30% in corporate banking. Also, it will solidify its presence in the property, housing and infrastructure segments.

Istanbul court rules FETO-linked Bank Asya bankrupt

An Istanbul court has declared bankruptcy of Bank Asya, affiliated with the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO). Bank Asya’s banking license was cancelled on July 22, 2016 by Turkey’s Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK). The agency had ruled for complete takeover of all shares of Bank Asya by the state-run Insurance Fund in May 2015. FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup attempt of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Tirad Mahmoud resigns from ADIB

The Board of Directors of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has accepted the resignation of Tirad Mahmoud from his position as Group CEO. Mahmoud has beon medical leave from March 2017. Khamis Buharoon, ADIB’s Vice Chairman, will continue as acting CEO. Mahmoud joined the bank as a CEO in 2008 and was able to grow ADIB from a domestic market player to a leading regional bank with presence in six countries and a customer base of around one million customers. ADIB has an asset base of more than AED121 billion. In its most recent quarterly results, ADIB reported a 13% rise in third-quarter net profit.

National Savings plans launching of first Islamic product next year

#Pakistan's National Savings is expected to launch its first Islamic savings product by the start of 2018. According to Zafar Masud, director general of National Savings, the proposed product would begin with one year maturity and allow investors to earn monthly profit. The plan is to issue this product from the National Savings centres. Investors can invest a minimum of Rs10,000 with no maximum investment limit. National Savings manages a portfolio which is around 30% of Pakistan’s total banking deposits and serves more than seven million accounts. Experts see prospects of higher demand for Islamic finance to tap domestic savings. It is expected to increase competition among conventional and Islamic lenders to offer best returns to the savers.

7 Social Islami Bank directors resign, 9 new appointments made

In #Bangladesh seven members of Social Islami Bank’s board of directors have resigned from their posts. At the same board meeting nine new directors were appointed. Among the seven that have resigned, four were independent directors: Abdur Rahman, Abdul Muhith, Asaduzzaman and Moinul Hasan. The remaining three were shareholders of the bank. The names of the nine new directors are yet to be known. Earlier Social Islami Bank Limited (SIBL) faced what insiders claimed was a hostile takeover, when chairman and comittee chairman were replaced by Anwarul Azim Arif and Belal Ahmed. Former managing director of SIBL Shahid Hossain also stepped down and was replaced by Quazi Osman Ali. All new directors are connnected to the S Alam group, Belal is the son-in-law of S Alam Group Chairman and Managing Director Mohammed Saiful Alam.

Gatehouse Bank names new BDM

Gatehouse Bank has expanded its residential property finance team with the appointment of Mehwish Mirza as its business development manager for residential home finance. Mehwish has joined the specialist bank from Together, where she was also a business development manager and held the same role for seven years at Al Rayan Bank. She will be working across the North of England and Wales, having previously provided residential Sharia-compliant finance in the North West while at Al Rayan. The appointment comes on the back of Gatehouse hiring Sim Gill and Mehraj Bari to its residential property finance team as part of its expansion into the sector.

MBSB buys Asian Finance Bank for RM645m, set to be an islamic bank

#Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB) is buying Asian Finance Bank (AFB) for RM644.95 million in cash. MBSB stated that the proposed merger would result in it becoming a full-fledged Islamic bank. MBSB entered into a conditional share purchase agreement with the shareholders of AFB. MBSB will pay RM396.89 million in cash and RM255.51 million via the issuance of 225.51 million new MBSB shares at RM1.10 each. The cash option was based on a valuation of 1.2 times AFB net assets valued at RM496.12 million as at December 2016, while the shares option was based on a valuation of 1.5 times the accepted net asset. MBSB said the proposed merger was expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2018. The subsequent tranches of the proposed transfer of assets and liabilities and disposal of the residual should complete in three years from the first tranche transfer.

Interview: Bank Melli #Iran Upbeat on Int’l #Expansion

According to Mohammad Reza Hosseinzadeh, CEO of Bank Melli Iran (BMI), the European Union has made its decision to work with Iran. The banker noted that BMI has managed to establish correspondent banking relations with 135 banks of 30 countries, half of them European. What is more, Bank Melli and its branches in Hamburg and Paris have connected to TARGET 2, the Eurozone's real-time transfer system. In terms of expansion, Hosseinzadeh said negotiations are well underway with one of the biggest banks of the Persian Gulf state for BMI to establish a branch there, but refused to name the bank. BMI is also on course to open a branch in Pakistan, most likely during the next fiscal year, starting March 21, 2018.

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