Financial Institutions

Gulf African Bank bucks trend with two branches plan

Gulf African Bank is set to open two new branches in Hurlingham, Nairobi and Mtwapa in Mombasa this year. Although several local lenders have announced outlet closures in recent months, Gulf African Bank is optimistic and set to improve access to financial services. Other local banks announced a freeze on expansion in a bid to protect their bottom lines. There are three fully-fledged Islamic banks in the country: Gulf, First Community and Dubai Islamic Bank, with at least 11 conventional lenders with dedicated counters for such products.

Ahmed Shuja Kidwai appointed CEO Al Baraka Bank

Ahmed Shuja Kidwai has been appointed as the new CEO of Al Baraka Bank (Pakistan). Kidwai replaces Shafqaat Ahmed, who led the bank for 25 years. Al Baraka Chairman Khalid Rashid Al Zayani thanked Shafqaat wishing him well in his future life and welcomed Ahmed Shuja Kidwai as the new Chief Executive Officer of the bank. Ahmed Shuja Kidwai has a diversified international banking experience of over forty years, he played a pivotal role in consolidating and establishing the bank's position especially in Karachi.

Court orders forensic #audit of Jaiz Bank statement

The Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria has ordered a forensic examination of a Jaiz Bank statement. The order was made sequel to an oral application made by Mr Sebastine T. Hon in a law suit filed against the bank and 11 others. Hon alleged that the statement of the bank was manipulated as the account did not reflect its true status. The judge ordered Jaiz Bank to make available the original or certified copy of the bank statements covering the amount available with the garnishees connecting Zamfara State Government.

Saudi CMA approves Bank AlJazira's proposed rights issue

The Saudi Capital Markets Authority has announced its resolution approving Bank Aljazira’s request to increase its capital by way of rights issue valued at SAR 3,000,000,000. The offering price and the number of shares will be determined after market closing of the same day in which the extraordinary general assembly meeting is held. After reviewing the bank’s application in light of the governing regulatory requirements, the CMA has issued its resolution approving Bank Aljazira’s capital increase request. The CMA’s approval merely means that the legal requirements as per the Capital Market Law and its Implementing Regulations have been met.

Hada DBank: A Blockchain-Based Islamic Bank

#Malaysia-based HADA Dbank is set to bring Islamic banking principles to the blockchain ecosystem. Hada DBank follows Islamic Financial Laws prohibiting risky ventures, having a maximum Liability to Asset ratio of 1:3. The bank allows users to have access to a full-feature personal banking service. This includes a free encrypted account and e-Wallet, a zero-fee charge on cryptocurrency exchanges and access to the financial advisor robot HUDA. Hada DBank will soon host a token generation event to raise funds for the full development of products and services. The native HADACoin will be a digital asset based on the Ethereum platform. HADACoin will be sold during the pre-sale at an increased rate adjusting to supply, starting at a rate of 1 ETH = 2000 for the first 10 million tokens, gradually reducing every 10 million tokens. Once the Hada DBank platform launches, HADACoin will be trading on the F1Cryptos exchange the first of many exchange platform partnerships in the pipeline.

Islamic Development Bank joins forces with #China-led AIIB - Financial Times

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) is set to form a partnership with the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to address the large infrastructure gap in developing countries. IDB president Bandar Hajjar said the bank would co-finance many projects with AIIB in the future in Africa to finance infrastructure projects. Co-operation between the AIIB and the IDB is set to create a new force in development finance for several developing countries. Many of the IDB’s 57 member countries overlap with the AIIB’s approved membership of some 80 nations.

Leverage attributes in Islamic banking are the same as in conventional banking

For an Islamic bank, Shariah compliance is a foundation attribute, not a leverage attribute. Islamic banks need to give an impression of strength and stability. They also need to be accessible for customers. Historically, a physical branch network was needed, but today Islamic banks compete by providing electronic access, remote deposit facilities and smart phone apps. The key leverage attribute of any bank is accurate credit assessment, so that the bank can charge appropriately for the risk of customer default. A further leverage attribute is to have bankers whose connections in the business community are so strong that they can create deals, such as corporate takeovers or partnerships. It is a leverage attribute for Islamic banks to be able to innovate and devise new Shariah compliant offerings not provided by competitors. The challenge is both in devising those offerings and in preventing their intellectual property being copied by competitor Islamic banks.

For Islamic banks, Shariah compliance is a foundation attribute

Because Shariah compliance is essential for all Islamic banks, it does not distinguish one Islamic bank from another. Hence it is a foundation attribute. About 25 years ago, Price Waterhouse made a distinction between foundation attributes and leverage attributes. Foundation attributes convey no competitive advantage. Al Rayan Bank is the only Islamic bank in the UK which targets ordinary retail customers. The bank's homepage gives very prominent coverage to its Shariah compliance. That is because Al Rayan is not competing against other retail Islamic banks but rather seeking to create a retail Islamic finance market where none has existed before.

Chief executive of #Saudi-based ICD departs

The chief executive of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) has stepped down to take a role with the Saudi government. Khaled Al-Aboodi joined the ICD in 2001 and took over as chief executive officer in 2007. Starting next month, he will join the Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Co (SALIC) as Managing Director. The ICD has appointed Mohammed Al Ammari to lead the multilateral body on an interim basis, until a new chief executive is selected. As the private sector arm of the Islamic Development Bank, the ICD is tasked with supporting economic development across its 53 member countries.

Amen Bank se positionne sur la finance islamique

L’arrivée de la troisième banque tunisienne sur le segment de la finance islamique pourrait encourager d’autres grandes banques à se lancer sur ce marché. Ahmed Karam, président du directoire du groupe, a indiqué que Amen Bank a déposé une requête à la Banque centrale tunisienne pour ouvrir une filiale spécialisée dans les produits financiers islamiques. La Tunisie compte déjà deux établissements bancaires à vocation islamique: al-Baraka Bank Tunisia et banque Zitouna. Amen Bank possède 154 agences, contre 76 agences pour Banque Zitouna et une vingtaine pour al-Baraka Bank. Amen Bank est la propriété du groupe familial Ben Yedder, qui rassemble une cinquantaine de sociétés présentes notamment dans les banques, l’assurance, l’agroalimentaire, l’hôtellerie et la santé.

#Tunisia: Islamic development bank could withdraw from Zitouna bank’s capital

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has decided to sell its 21% share in Zitouna Bank’s capital. The origin of this decision is supposedly a disagreement of specifications. The withdrawal could benefit Triki Group, which could disburse 80-90 million Tunisian dinars for this acquisition. IDB entered in Zitouna Bank’s capital in 2014, with TND37.5 million. Since its inception in 2009, Zitouna Bank has become a leading Islamic financial instituion in the local market.

What the world’s central banks are saying about #cryptocurrencies

Nine years since the birth of Bitcoin, central banks around the world are increasingly recognising the potential upsides and downsize of digital currencies. The American Federal Reserve’s investigation into cryptocurrencies is in its early days. Chairman Jerome Powell said in 2017 that technical issues with the technology remain and governance and risk management would be critical. He added that there were meaningful challenges to a central-bank cryptocurrency and privacy issues could be a problem. The UAE Central Bank has warned about the risks of using digital currencies as a medium of exchange for now, amid mounting risks like massive volatility, speculation and money laundering. The European Central Bank (ECB) has repeatedly warned about the dangers of investing in digital currencies. According to Bank of England (BoE) Governor Mark Carney, technology based on blockchain shows great promise in enabling central banks to strengthen their defences against cyber-attacks and overhaul the way payments are made.

Gatehouse Bank plans growth in Shariah-compliant home finance market

Gatehouse Bank says it is targeting significant growth in the Shariah-compliant home finance market with a new customer service centre in Milton Keynes. The Bank says its new strategy will focus more on home finance plans in addition to its current buy-to-let products and development/build-to-rent division. Charles Haresnape, CEO of Gatehouse Bank, says the bank plans to grow all areas of the business but Shariah-compliant home finance will be a particular focus. Haresnape believes this is a hugely untapped market and one that, being fundamentally ethical, will resonate with Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Banks embrace Islamic banking amid rising competition

The Central Bank of Nigeria released its guidelines for the operations of Non-Interest Banks (NIBs) in 2011 and
issued its first license to Jaiz Bank. At the same time, two conventional banks, Stanbic IBTC and Sterling Bank, received license to operate Islamic windows. Jaiz Bank commenced operations and remained Nigeria’s only full-fledged non-interest bank. However, Sterling Bank CEO Yemi Adeola recently revealed his plans to seek a license for a stand-alone Non-Interest Bank (NIB). He said the decision was informed by the feasibility studies conducted by the lender, judging from the potential market and financial resources of customers expected to embrace NIB. The number of banks in the country offering non-interest banking products is set to increase. SunTrust Bank Nigeria (SBN) and the Islamic Corporation for Development (ICD) signed an agreement to establish a new non-interest banking window in Nigeria.

#Bahraini bank plans aggressive #expansion in #Pakistan

Bahrain-based Ithmaar Bank plans to add more than 100 branches in Pakistan this year through its subsidiary Faysal Bank. Ithmaar's deputy CEO Abdul Hakeem al-Mutawa says banking penetration is less than 20% in Pakistan, so there are good opportunities to grow. Ithmaar Bank's parent company, Ithmaar Holding, listed recently on the Dubai Financial Market. Al-Mutawa believes the company is well established now to approach the capital markets and the bank has no imminent plans to raise funds through a bond or loan. Ithmaar Holding is also exploring the sale of its 25.4% stake in Bahrain's BBK, which has operations in Bahrain, Kuwait, India and Dubai. Al-Mutawa declined to comment on the timeframe for the disposal of the BBK stake.

CIBAFI and The World Bank presenting study on "Corporate Governance Practices in Islamic banks 2017"

It is well established that good corporate governance strengthens institutions and financial sectors, and in so
doing contributes to building strong economies and economic growth.

Deficiencies in corporate governance were among the factors that contributed to the global financial crisis
(GFC) of 2007–08. As a result, global standard setters such as the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision
(BCBS) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have been updating and
strengthening their guidelines on good governance practices.

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), which sets standards for Islamic financial institutions, published its
Guiding Principles on Corporate Governance in 2006 as its standard IFSB-3. The Principles address, within the
context of corporate governance, the distinct features of Islamic banks, such as the different relationship that
they have with some of their stakeholders.

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Jaiz Bank is enjoying a fresh wave of confidence from investors

Amid a volatile environment, Jaiz Bank Nigeria is enjoying a rising wave of confidence among investors. Share price has been in an upward trajectory ever since the start of the year.

INTERVIEW-#Bahrain's Salam Bank to launch Islamic #insurance products in #Algeria in 2018-CEO

Bahrain's Salam Bank will launch Islamic insurance products and Visa credit card services in Algeria this year. Salam Bank CEO Hideur Nasser said the lender would open 10 more branches in the country as the market for Islamic products was growing. He added that Islamic banking made up only 15.5% of the private sector in Algeria. The government wants to develop the sector, as the country looks for more ways to offset the sharp fall in oil prices and its energy revenues. For this, technical expertise and new legislation is needed in a country where powerful elites have resisted changes. Nasser said the legal framework had to be amended and sukuk could not be sold under current laws despite great appetite for them.

Islamic banks defy market challenges in 2017

Islamic banks made big gains in financing growth and profitability in 2017 while keeping their operating costs and cost of risks under control. Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), reported a net profit Dh4.5 billion for 2017, up 11% compared to 2016. Total income increased to Dh10.19 billion, up 18% compared to Dh8.63 billion for 2016. Net revenue for 2017 amounted to Dh7.68 billion, an increase of 14% compared with Dh6.76 billion in 2016. DIB Managing Director, Abdullah Al Hamli, says the UAE continues to be one of the leading Islamic finance markets, with assets now reaching around $150 billion, a 7% growth this year. Emirates Islamic reported a net profit of Dh702 million, up 565% compared to 2016. Decline in operating costs and impairments boosted net profits last year. Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB) reported a full-year 2017 net profit of Dh477.7 million compared with Dh462.9 million in 2016.

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.

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