Financial Institutions

IBs want property lending rule scrapped

Investment banks (IBs) want Bank Negara Malaysia to withdraw the property lending guideline, which was introduced in 1997. It stipulates that a bank’s credit facilities should not exceed 20% of its total outstanding loan base. Compliance with this requirement is calculated on a quarterly basis. For IBs, the guideline mainly affects their underwriting business. They think the guideline is outdated, especially since there are already other macroprudential measures introduced by Bank Negara in recent years. The Malaysian Investment Banking Association (MIBA) had highlighted the issues affecting the industry to Bank Negara. It is understood that the central bank is currently reviewing the guideline.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank says its ramping up spending on digital technologies

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) is planning to spend significant financial resources on digital technology this year. The lender is not rushing to downsize its branch network, as clients continue to value human interaction. According to Phil King, head of retail banking at ADIB, the bank is also planning to open three to five branches across the UAE next year. King noted that while mobile banking transactions at ADIB rose 49% in the first half of the year, there was a 10% drop in visits made by customers to the bank’s branches in the same period. He added that new branches would be smaller in size, ranging between 35 to 70 square meters versus the larger ones of the past. As a result of the bank’s increase in consumer lending, ADIB’s retail staff has grown 7% so far this year to 247 employees compared to a year-earlier period. ADIB's second-quarter net profit rose 8.7%, beating analyst forecast, thanks to a drop in provisions, gains in income from credit cards and other fee products.

An #Iranian Bank Has Invested over 26 million Dollars on #Startups

Iranian banks have decided to get more engaged with the country’s startup scene. According to Alireza Daliri, Deputy Director of Iran’s Vice-Presidency for Science and Technology, Bank Melli Iran has invested around over 26 million dollars in the country’s startup market. Daliri added that the Vice-Presidency had offered the banks to either establish their own accelerators or invest on large successful and on-going projects. Eventually, the banks decided to go with the latter. Daliri added that the Vice-Presidency has started negotiations with a number of Iranian banks such as Saderat, Sepah, Export Development Bank, Tourism Bank, Post Bank and Refah, but it is difficult to persuade them. Iran’s startup scene has witnessed exponential growth in the recent years. The number of knowledge-based firms in the country has increased from 52 in March 2014 to 2732 until October 2016, but lack of funding is still a major issue.

#Islamic #banks and #Takaful sectors likely to witness more #mergers

The merger of National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) and First Gulf Bank (FGB) in the UAE last year had triggered a number of unconfirmed reports of bank mergers across the GCC. However, most of these reports were denied by bank managements. While bankers and analysts say the time is ripe for more bank mergers, they expect more merger deals to happen in the Islamic banking and Takaful industry. A proposed merger of Kuwait Finance House and Ahli United Bank is expected to result in second biggest Islamic Bank in the GCC after Al Rajhi Bank. The merger of Qatari banks Masraf Al Rayan, Barwa Bank and International Bank of Qatar is progressing and is expected to complete by end of the year. Some countries have only a small number of local banks, which limits competition. This means that profitability has remained solid and is therefore less likely to be a driver for M&A. Another stumbling block is the ownership structure of GCC banks, well established local private shareholders often control sizeable stakes and foreign banks only hold minority stakes.

Here’s How #Oman Is Helping Young Omanis Become Future Investors

At the beginning of the new school year, Meethaq Islamic Bank along with the Ministry of Education and Injaz Oman has started a financial literacy program called Little Investor. It covers over 4,000 students in Muscat, Batinah, and Dhofar. The aim of the initiative is to broaden the early financial education among Oman’s kids, to help them create healthy savings habits and to motivate them to develop their entrepreneurial skills. As an example of a successful public-private partnership, the initiative aims to unite the nation and make the people give back to their country. The four pillars of the program include financial literacy, sustainable tourism, green environment and enriched lifestyle. Injaz Oman is a non-profit organization working towards improving young people's leadership and entrepreneurial skills. Meethaq Bank confirmed it would stick to its social responsibility initiatives and would keep investing in the sustainable development of Oman.

New round of GCC bank #mergers in the offing

GCC's banking sector is expected to see a new round of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the wake of the latest such move initiated by Kuwait Finance House and Ahli United Bank of Bahrain. According to U Capital, at least five M&A deals are in various stages of discussion. The new round of M&A follows the merger between National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) and First Gulf Bank (FGB) in the UAE, resulting in creation of the regions second biggest bank. Combined assets of four top conventional banks in the region stand at $621 billion whereas the assets of entire Islamic banks in GCC stand at $563 billion as of second quarter 2017. According to banking sources, Masraf Al Rayan, International Bank of Qatar and Barwa Bank are in the due diligence phase. The three-way merger is expected to create the largest Islamic bank in Qatar. Saudi British Bank and Alawwal Bank are also said to be discussing a potential merger that would create the third-largest bank in Saudi Arabia.

Social Islami Bank buys into IDB's #realestate #fund

#Bangladesh-based Social Islami Bank (SIBL) is set to invest $2 million in a real estate-focused private equity fund managed by the Islamic Development Bank. The fund is called the Awqaf Properties Investment Fund (APIF) and aims to invest in Awqaf real estate property that is socially, economically and financially viable in member countries of the IDB. SIBL's managing director, Amm Farhad, said the bank was investing in the project not for commercial reasons but for social welfare. In Bangladesh, APIF will start off with the construction of two towers, a multipurpose building and a university in Chittagong, with a total investment of $100 million. The bank will represent Bangladesh in the managerial committee of APIF, which has 8 IDB member countries in the board: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Iran, Bahrain, Jordan, Palestine and Malaysia.

QIB named as safest Islamic bank in #Qatar

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) has been recognised by Global Finance as the safest Islamic Bank in Qatar and one of the safest Banks in the Middle East. Also, QIB was recognised as the second safest Bank across the banking sector, and the third safest Islamic Bank in the Middle East. Global Finance evaluates the ratings and total assets size of the banks, which were selected through an evaluation of long-term foreign currency ratings from Moody's, Standard & Poor's and Fitch. QIB's Group CEO Bassel Gamal said he was proud to be active contributor to Qatar's growing financial sector and to the country's National Vision 2030. Total assets of the Bank have increased by 9.2% compared to the first half of 2016, and now stand at QR147bn. Income for the first half of this year is QR3.14bn registering 18.4% compared to QR2.657bn for the first half of 2016.

Jaiz Bank: Balancing the Business and The Market

After the first tier commercial banks in Nigeria, Jaiz Bank was the most active stock on the exchange with volumes of 7,179,550 with a total value of N4,682,686.00. The increased activity is indicative of swinging sentiments in favour of the stock. But the stock has underperformed the All Share Index (ASI) in the last six months as it returned a negative 45% while the ASI returned 40%. Jaiz Bank managed to grow its Gross Income in the first half year ending June to N3.25 billion from N2.56 billion. Income from Finance Investment grew 19.82% to N2.95 billion from N2.46 billion while Sukuk leapt 198.3% to N293.35 million from N98.35 million. Abdulfatah Ahmed, the Kwara State governor highlighted there was a lot of scope for growth for the bank and Islamic banking in Nigeria. Hassan Usman, the bank’s managing director, said he was optimistic about the future of the bank and therefore urged everyone irrespective of their religious background to key into the model.

KIA appoints consultant to study possible #merger of KFH and AUB – Tie-up will make KFH the largest bank in #Kuwait: Moody's

Kuwait Investment Authority has appointed a global consultant to study the merger of two banks, Kuwait Finance House (KFH) and Ahli United Bank (AUB). Moody’s said in a report that the merger of the two banks will have a positive impact on credit rating, especially for KFH. Moody’s noted that if the merger is successful, it will create the sixth largest bank in the GCC with nearly $85 billion in total assets. The merger will make KFH the largest bank in Kuwait, but it will remain the second largest bank in the Gulf after Al-Rajhi Bank Saudi Arabia. The number of domestic branches of KFH reached 65 while AUB has 37 branches. Several reports were published on the possible merger of the two banks. However, officials from both banks denied reports on the merger while others confirmed.

Jaiz Bank’s capital base hits N15bn

Jaiz Bank CEO Hassan Usman said that #Nigeria would become one of the countries to successfully offer Sovereign Sukuk in local currency. The Federal Government floated around N100bn and according to him, the offer was to last for five days. Hassan said these on the sidelines of Jaiz Bank’s Customers Forum in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital and also revealed that the institution’s capital base had reached N15bn. He said that Islamic finance worldwide was novel, being in existence for about 40 years compared to conventional banking, which had lasted for over 300 years.

CIMB Islamic outlines #growth #plans

In this interview CIMB Islamic Bank CEO Mohamed Rafe Mohamed Haneef talks about the bank's achievements in Malaysia and its growth plans. The most significant segment for CIMB Islamic Bank is retail banking. When Haneef joined the bank, consumer banking’s contribution was between 40 and 45%, while at the end of June it was almost 60%. The bank came up with an embedded model which enables both CIMB Islamic and the conventional side from CIMB Group to tap the same talent. CIMB operates on two separate licences, but out of the same branches, as relationship managers offer both Islamic and conventional banking options. According to Haneef, the bank plans to focus on the Asean region first before eventually building inroads into the Middle East beyond 2018. CIMB Group’s Islamic Asset Management is in close contact with the Securities Commission (SC) and plans to contribute to the development of Sustainable and Responsible Investing (SRI).

Interview with Mr. Khairul Kamarudin, CEO of Bank Islam #Malaysia Berhad

In this interview Khairul Kamarudin, CEO of Bank Islam Malaysia, talks about his leadership style and areas of focus. Besides sustainability, the other main area of focus will be digitalisation. In 2016 the bank launched the innovative product called 'e-Donation' Terminal using Visa PayWave, a platform where donations can be made through the contactless electronic method using any debit/credit card. Bank Islam has also taken a step towards accepting fintechs with the recent strategic collaboration with Cognizant. This will allow the bank to embark more on innovative digital Islamic banking. In terms of charity, Bank Islam has its own Waqf project in its office building, which provides prayer facilities to more than 3,000 people per week. Also, the bank supports the affordable development project in Selangor and a school-construction project in the state of Perlis.

#Kenya just stands out: Dr Adnan Chilwan, GCEO, Dubai Islamic Bank

Dr. Adnan Chilwan, CEO of Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), said that Kenya stood out to the Bank as a stepping stone to expanding its operations into Africa. In May 2017 DIB was granted a banking licence by the Central Bank of Kenya to operate a subsidiary, DIB Kenya. According to Chilwan, Dubai always had the ambition to venture into Far East Asia and East Africa. As DIB had already ventured into Far East Asia, East Africa was the next logical point. From the East African countries Kenya stands out in its regulatory framework and the stability in the country. DIB Kenya is already open and the bank has ambitious plans for East Africa. Chilwan added that Kenya was a country that DIB would be surely focussing on in years to come.

Dubai Islamic Bank hits the 'billion dollar profits club', what's next?

In this interview, Dr. Adnan Chilwan, CEO of Dubai Islamic Bank, reflects on the bank’s performance in the last couple of years and prospects for future growth. Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has entered the billion dollar profits club and the challenge is to keep up the pace of exponential growth. Chilwan says a billion dollars is just a start and he wants to find the right way of replicating the successful strategy. He hopes the bank will be able to keep up that good work, making sure the customers are happy, the regulator is happy, the ratings agencies, research analysts and shareholders are all happy with what they get from the bank. He is grateful for the board of directors and for the team behind him that made this billion dollar profit possible.

Fitch: Tougher operating environment challenges #Saudi Islamic banks

According to Fitch Ratings, a tougher operating environment is continuing to challenge Saudi Islamic banks. Sustained low oil prices have taken their toll on economic growth and government spending and this affects certain sectors. Asset-quality metrics are likely to deteriorate from their current strong position due to slower Islamic financing growth. Islamic banks accounted for about 43% of the sector at end-1H16, up from 36.6% in 1H15. There are 12 licensed commercial banks in Saudi Arabia. Four are fully sharia-compliant, with the rest providing a mix of sharia-compliant and conventional banking products. The performance and credit matrices of Islamic and conventional banks are similar in many ways due to the largely Islamic finance nature of the lending market in Saudi Arabia.

Silk Bank to grow in Islamic banking

#Pakistan's Silk Bank plans to expand its Islamic banking business amid growing demand for Shariah-compliant financial products in the country. The State Bank of Pakistan has given approval to the bank for opening of 20 Islamic and 15 conventional branches this year. Silk Bank CEO Shaukat Tarin said the bank was going to reduce the size of corporate banking, but increase consumer and SME segments. The bank’s consumer banking portfolio continued to grow, while its non-performing loans fell by Rs10 billion in January-June 2017. The bank also made its commitment to revive the mortgage business in the current low interest rate environment. Shuja Alvi, head of investment at Silk Bank, said the bank continued to make heavy investments. Since acquisition, the sponsors have invested Rs430 billion in the bank through multiple funding.

Conditions Conducive for Islamic Finance Expansion in #Morocco- Al Baraka Bank

Bahrain’s Al Baraka Bank deems that the regulatory framework in Morocco is conducive for the launch of an Islamic finance venture. The Bank’s Chief Executive, Adnan Ahmed Yousif said Al Baraka targets the expanding Islamic finance in Morocco in effort to diversify assets and revenues in Africa. Morocco is attractive for Islamic banks because of a competitive landscape that is free from large western lenders. Yousif added that reforms were being considered, but complete tax neutrality towards Islamic finance contracts was still needed. Bahrain’s Al Baraka group forged a partnership with Morocco’s BMCE Bank of Africa to create AL Baraka Maroc, which aims at creating a network of 25 agencies in Morocco.

#Indonesia, the next big #market for Dubai Islamic Bank?

In this interview Dr. Adnan Chilwan, CEO of Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), speaks about the Indonesian market and the positioning of Dubai Islamic Bank. In March 2017 Indonesia’s Bank Panin Syariah rebranded to Panin Dubai Syariah Bank (PDSB) and DIB holds a 40% interest. Dr. Chilwan believes Indonesia has great potential and the regulator is quite supportive of Islamic finance. In his view, the success of DIB is the result of its change in positioning. The bank has not compromised Shari’ah, but has a better understanding of customer needs. DIB is competing with the largest players within every region and is aiming at full inclusion to bank everyone.

Barwa Bank almost finishes review of #merger recommendations

Barwa Bank has almost finished legal and financial studies regarding its merger with Masraf Al Rayyan and International Bank of Qatar (IBQ). Barwa Bank CEO Khalid al-Subea said that any development in this regard will be announced through a joint statement by the three banks. Barwa Bank's recent Al Majd initiative offers its clients an exceptional banking package within the framework of various ongoing national initiatives. Barwa Bank also announced the launch of its new Shariah-compliant savings account that offers high flexibility and profit rate of an expected 3%, where profits are paid on a quarterly basis. The account allows clients to withdraw once every quarter up to 25% of the current balance.

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