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Need for SME finance? Lack of cooperative banks in the GCC!

Dear Reader,

Just reading an article how much the UAE economy needs the small and medium sized companies and how much difficulties they face to be financed by banks:

http://www.business24-7.ae/articles/2009/4/pages/26042009/04272009_46940...

One issue I missed in this article:

Not a word mentions the role of cooperative / mutual banks or the saving & loans; both financial institutions, which are non profit by its bylaws but dedicated to their members or region. This sector has about 50 % of the total banks balance sheet in my home country Germany, where small and medium sized companies are the backbone of the economy.

So, what is missing in the GCC desperately is setting up cooperative banks and regional saving banks - both can be done Islamically.

Specialised banks needed for SME finance in UAE

Various experts were interviewed and confirmed the need for special banks addressing the needs of small and medium sized companies in the UAE.

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The UAE’s two largest Islamic home finance companies will need to secure adequate funding before they can re-start lending, the chairman of Tamweel. Both firms have been funded by banks on short term maturities, a business model, which does no longer work.

Mega bank to be founded in Bahrain

The whole-sale "mega bank" initiated by Saleh Kamel, Chairman of Dallah Albaraka Group shall be situated in Bahrain and is going to fundraise this year reported Shakir Husain in Gulf News. The bank should be business even outside the Muslim regions.

The bank's founders will contribute USD 1 bn in equity and USD 10 bn will be raised by offering shares to the public. Another USD 200 bn is planned to come from sukuk issuance and investment funds.

Among the main shareholders will be the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the Jeddah-based multilateral lending agency, Dallah Albaraka Group, Kuwaiti Real Estate Bank and another 10 banks. There are two possible names being considered for the bank, which are Al Imar and Al Istikhlaf.

Albaraka plans to enter France

Al Baraka Banking Group said it planned to enter the French market to tap into Western Europe's largest Muslim community reported Will Waterman in Arabianbusiness. Further Al Baraka's units in North Africa are planning tie-ups with French partners to "establish Islamic banking in France", it said in a statement on the Nasdaq Dubai, where it is also listed. However no legal agreements have been finalised

Fitch affirms Jordan Islamic Bank for Finance and Investment at 'BB-'; outlook stable

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Iran welcomes foreign banks to establish branches in the country and engage in normal banking operations. According to Presstv, Article 44 of the Constitution had heretofore placed banking activities exclusively in the hands of government. In tandem with the Law on Usury Free Banking Operations, these two measures effectively blocked foreign banking operations from conducting business in the mainland.

With the long-awaited privatization law having already come into force in the summer of 2008, allowing the normal functioning of foreign banks in Iran is viewed as a major economy boosting initiative by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI). The rules for regulating the activity of foreign banks are set forth in four parts and 13 articles in the decree dated March 18, 2009 by the Council of Ministers and titled The Executive Bylaw of the Manner of Establishment and Operations of Foreign Bank Branches in Iran. The minimum capital for establishing a foreign bank branch in Iran is 5 million euros.

Under the new circumstances, four US banks, including Citibank and Goldman Sachs, have applied for opening a branch in Iran. The banks made a formal request to the CBI to establish a branch.

Gaza: Islamic National Bank founded in controversy

In Gaza a new "Islamic National Bank" was started with a capital of USD 20 mn reported Kifah Zaboun in Asharq Al-Awsat. The bank is licensed by Gaza without the consent of the Palestinian Monetary Agency.

The chairman of the bank, Ala Al-Rafati, denied accusations from sources within the Fatah movement which claimed that the bank is affiliated to Hamas saying that the Islamic National Bank is a private institute with a Board of Directors and an Executive Body.

Arcapita had raised more than two-thirds of a USD 400 mn rights issue

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New UBS Head of Islamic finance sees further growth

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Franklin Rersouces Inc. holds a 40 % stake in Algebra Capital and have jointly launched 5 products on the equity side and now looking at fixed-income products and Islamic.

Emirates NBD appoints Robbert Jan Voogt as the General Manager of Private Banking

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The new General Manager of Private Banking, Robbert Jan Voogt brings financial expertise from his previous positions at Merrill Lynch and FortisMeesPierson to Emirates NBD. He joins the team after heading the Private Bank South Asia at the Fortis Private Bank in Singapore.

Royal Bank of Scotland sees big growth opportunities in Islamic investment banking

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GFH aims to raise USD 600 mn for energy projects in Libya and Kazakhstan

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Yemen receives USD 120 mn from IDB for grain silos

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New brand identity for KFH Bahrain leasing card

Kuwait Finance House – Bahrain (KFH-Bahrain), has unveiled its new brand identity for ' Baytik Ijara Card', the first Islamic financing card that allows cardholders to acquire durable goods on a lease-to-own basis.

KFH-Bahrain's first Ijara card was initially launched in 2004. It gave customers the convenience to make purchases at hundreds of outlets in the Kingdom with the flexibility to pay back depending on period of their choice, which can range from 1 to 24 months.

Fitch Ratings had affirmed Kuwait International Bank "A-"

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Liquidity Management House combines 7 global banks in financing KFH-Turkey

Liquidity Management House, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kuwait Finance has succeeded in making a combined global 1-year Murabaha finance deal about USD 115 million for KFH-Turkey, after attracting 7 global and regional banks: Halk Bank-Turkey, Islamic Development Bank, Citibank, Garanti Bank International-Holland, Gatehouse Bank-UK, NBK International PLC, Standard Chartered Bank.

KFH-Turkey Chief Executive Officer is Ufuk Iwan.

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