Financial Institutions

#Qatar central bank backs three-way Islamic bank #merger

Qatar’s central bank hopes the planned merger between three local Islamic banks can proceed this year. Masraf Al Rayan, Barwa Bank and International Bank of Qatar have been discussing a merger, though they missed the target date to complete the proposed deal. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar last June. Qatar accused them of trying to sabotage its financial markets and manipulate its currency. Sheikh Abdullah said that since the embargo started, the central bank had been meeting regularly with executives of banks to ensure daily control of liquidity levels and financial transfers. He added that Qatar plans to issue roughly the same amount of riyal debt in 2018 as it did in 2017, when it issued 47.5 billion riyals ($12.3 billion). That included 18.5 billion riyals of bonds and 15.4 billion riyals of sukuk.

MBSB rebrands AFB as MBSB Bank

Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB) has rebranded its recently acquired Asian Finance Bank Bhd (AFB) as MBSB Bank. MBSB Bank's CEO Datuk Seri Ahmad Zaini Othman said the bank would provide Shariah-compliant products and services, such as consumer banking, business banking and trade financing. He added that the bank would also focus on developing its financial technology capabilities to attract more customers. The lender has already embarked on several digitisation initiatives, including big data projects started in June 2017. MBSB Bank plans to launch its fintech capabilities for wealth management and trade facilities by the third quarter of this year, and to have Internet banking facilities ready by end-2018. MBSB finalised its acquisition of AFB in February for RM644.95 million with the latter becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of MBSB. With the transfer of all MBSB’s Shariah-compliant assets and liabilities to AFB, MBSB Bank is the second-largest full-fledged Islamic bank in the country.

DE Asset Management Invests $500K into Hada DBank

HADA Bank has received a $500,000 investment from DE Asset Management as they look to secure a long-term business partnership. DE Asset Management is looking to develop and launch its own cryptocurrency fund through Hada DBank. The $500,000 investment was made by DE through Hada DBank’s current token presale. Hada DBank determines to fuse blockchain technology with Islamic Banking Module. Blockchain technology will ensure security and transparency, while Islamic Banking module will ensure ethical banking and investment.

Corrected: Arkan Bank could tap investors for $200mln through Nasdaq Dubai listing

Dubai Investments announced the establishment of a new Islamic bank called Arkan Bank. It will be the first home-grown, wholesale Islamic Bank operating from Dubai International Financal Centre. It will have an initial paid-up capital of $100 million and another $200 million will be raised after 12 months of its establishment through listing on Nasdaq. CEO Khalid Bin Kalban said Dubai Investments will initially hold a 25% in the bank and would aim to retain a stake of that size. He added that Arkan Bank's core business lines would be corporate banking, asset management and awqaf, investment banking and treasury. Arkan Bank initially plans to focus on the GCC region and subsequently build scale to become the top-tier Islamic wholesale bank in the region.

Newly empowered #Saudi women to help drive growth at Al Rajhi Bank

Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Bank has opened 133 female-only branches and a car showroom for women to help them access car loans. Women have been allowed to attend mixed sporting events and will be able to drive from June. Al Rajhi Bank is a major provider of vehicle loans and has operated car showrooms since 2008. They were only for men until the bank opened its first women-only one late last year. Al Rajhi CEO Steve Bertamini said families usually have a large automobile already, so the cars for women tend to be smaller vehicles for commuting. He added that the bank would provide extended hours for women within existing car showrooms and increase the number of female bank branches in 2018. Women's increased economic activity will help the bank's loan growth outperform the 4% expected for the sector in 2018.

Bank Rakyat to continue Islamic Banker Programme for the second edition

Bank Rakyat has recently launched its second edition of the Islamic Banker Programme which aims to produce future leaders for the banking industry. The programme recently received recognition from the 26th World HRD Congress 2018 by winning three top awards: Innovation in Recruitment, Best Apprenticeship and Usage of Digital Media in Recruitment. Throughout the training period, each trainee will be assigned to a mentor from the senior management team. Initially, each trainee will go through a two-month training program before they undergo job rotation across the key business units within the Bank for 10 months. Then, they will be placed in a particular sector based on their respective strengths and interests for a year. At the end, their performance will be assessed before being offered permanent placement at Bank Rakyat. At the end of the two year internship, participants will also be awarded with the Chartered Professional in Islamic Finance (CPIF) certificate from the Chartered Institute of Islamic Finance Professionals (CIIF).

Arkan Bank could tap investors for $100mln through Nasdaq listing

Dubai Investments announced the establishment of a new Islamic bank called Arkan Bank. It will be the first home-grown, wholesale Islamic Bank operating from Dubai International Financal Centre. It will have an initial paid-up capital of $100 million and another $100 million will be raised after 12 months of its establishment through listing on Nasdaq. CEO Khalid Bin Kalban said Dubai Investments will initially hold a 25% in the bank and would aim to retain a stake of that size. He added that Arkan Bank's core business lines would be corporate banking, asset management and awqaf, investment banking and treasury. Arkan Bank initially plans to focus on the GCC region and subsequently build scale to become the top-tier Islamic wholesale bank in the region.

Dubai Investments to launch sharia-compliant Arkan Bank

Dubai Investments will lead a consortium of investors to launch Arkan Bank. Arkan Bank is now applying to the Dubai Financial Services Authority for approval for a licence to operate as an Islamic financial institution. It plans to offer sharia-compliant banking services and investment products to serve ultra-high-net-worth individuals, corporates, and institutional clients. The bank has an initial paid-up-capital of $100 million and will have an authorised share capital of $500 million. Arkan Bank chairman Khalid Bin Kalban said the bank would initially focus on the GCC region and subsequently build scale to become the top-tier Islamic wholesale bank. The bank plans to list its shares on NASDAQ Dubai within 12 months of its establishment.

DIEDC to collaborate with #Turkmenistan bank

The Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The State Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs of Turkmenistan (TFEB) to exchange knowledge, experience and best practices in Islamic economy. The MoU was signed by Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy and chairman of DIEDC, and Rahimberdy J. Jepbarov, chairman of TFEB. The centre aims to organise workshops and training courses and share professional research. In addition, the two parties have set up a joint committee to oversee the collaboration. Al Mansouri said this partnership between DIEDC and TFEB would strengthen synergies between the two countries. He further highlighted sukuk as an effective tool to finance projects in infrastructure, education and health care, as well as in other vital sectors of the economy.

Orabank #Togo benefits from Islamic Development Bank’s support to SMEs

Oragroup received €40 million from the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD). The funds which will be dispatched to various subsidiaries of the group such as Orabank Togo, will mainly be used to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs). According to Binta Touré Ndoye, Managing Director of Oragroup, this financing will help the region by creating jobs, accelerating industrialization and local processing, creating value, redistributing wealth, fighting poverty and contributing to the emergence of the middle class.

#Tunisia: buyer of Zitouna bank and #Takaful will be known in July 2018

The sale of Zitouna bank and Takaful continues and is expected to end in July 2018, by which time we should know the identity of the final buyer. The bank had posted a net banking income of 101.748 MD, an operating profit of 19.411 MD and a net profit of 12.630 MD at the end of the 2016. For its part, the Zitouna Takaful posted a net profit of 2.490 MD in the same year. The company will have more than doubled its result compared to 1.054 MD in 2015. This, in connection with the high level of imports which have been on an upward trend in recent years, reaching 12.8 billion dinars in 2017.

Gatehouse Bank launches Shariah-compliant case management platform

Gatehouse Bank has launched a Shariah-compliant home finance platform, enabling intermediaries to process home finance and buy-to-let applications quicker. The platform is developed by financial services software provider BEP Systems and uses cloud-based mobile-ready technology. Gatehouse Bank CEO Charles Haresnape is delighted to partner with BEP Systems. The bank currently offers buy-to-let finance and plans to roll out Shariah-compliant home owner finance through selected brokers in the near future.

#Kuwait Finance House to split shareholding of Turkish asset manager

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) will divide the ownership structure of its Turkish asset management firm between local and Kuwaiti units, as the Islamic lender continues to build on its Turkey franchise. KT Asset Management will transfer 5 million shares representing a 50% stake to KFH Capital. Both Kuveyt Turk and KFH Capital are subsidiaries of KFH. KFH Capital is the main investment arm of KFH, which has restructured activities in recent years to streamline operations and focus on growth markets such as Turkey.

ICB Islamic Bank hit by fresh liquidity crisis

ICB Islamic Bank has sought restructuring of the repayment package for depositors of its predecessor Oriental Bank on grounds of a liquidity crunch. The bank still has to return Tk 444.34 crore of now-defunct Oriental Bank's clients, which it was supposed to do by November 2021. ICB Islamic was supposed to refund all clients that had deposits of up to Tk 20 lakh with the Oriental Bank within the next three years. Once returning those clients' funds, ICB Islamic would have to move to refunding those who had deposits of up to Tk 50 lakh. Their claims will have to be settled over the next one and a half years. ICB Islamic has so far repaid Tk 1,521 crore of its predecessor's deposits of Tk 1,946 crore.

QIB launches new Investor Relations App

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) has launched an Investor Relations app for Android and iOS smartphones. The QIB IR App keeps the investors updated on the latest financial developments related to share prices, stock performance, bank news, financial results and key financial reports. It includes interactive financial screens enabling investors to see QIB’s historical share price and results while providing comparison with peers. As QIB’s investors are global, the app supports 17 languages and enables the display of share prices in different currencies as well. QIB cooperated with Euroland, a leading fintech company, to launch the app and update the information available on the website. All interested parties can download the QIB IR app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store and visit the Investor Relations (IR) section on QIB’s website.

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.

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