Financial Institutions

Panel okays Sharia banks

The #Philippines' House committee on banks and financial intermediaries has approved the measures that would pave the way for the expansion of Islamic banking in the country. The new House Bill amends the Philippine’s lone Islamic bank, the Al-Amanah Islamic Investment Bank to regulate and organize an expanded Islamic banking system in the Philippines. Former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said the enactment of the measure was very timely as this would help the country’ growth inclusive and sustainable. The consolidated proposal will make the Al-Amanah independent from the Development Bank of the Philippines, be a universal bank with initial paid up capitalization of P10 billion and will be the first in the country to fully engage in Islamic banking that can issue sukuk.

#Iran establishes correspondent relations with foreign banks

Iran has established correspondent relationships with 230 foreign banks since January 16, following the implementation of the nuclear deal. In addition, Iran's Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance reported that the Export Development Bank of Iran (EDBI) has begun brokerage relations with numerous banks around the world. This includes 64 banks in 20 European countries, 36 banks in 17 Asian states, four banks in Africa as well as one bank in Latin America. However, the Islamic Republic complains that it still does not have access to global financial markets. Many international banks still shy away from financing trade deals and processing transactions for fear of US penalties.

#Egyptian CEO of Abu Dhabi Islamic bank found murdered in Cairo home

The CEO of the Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank Nevine Loutfy was found murdered at her home in Cairo. An investigation and forensic team arrived at the murder scene shortly after the incident. With over three decades of banking experience, Loutfy had a diverse background and had worked across the corporate, SME and retail sectors. She had extensive international experience gained in the US, Europe and emerging markets. Nevine Loutfy was the first ever female head of an Islamic bank.

QIIB expects to receive licence for Moroccan JV before year-end: CEO

#Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) expects to secure the licence from the Moroccan authorities for its joint-venture bank in the kingdom before the year-end. CEO Abdulbasit A. al-Shaibei said QIIB firmly believed that Morocco presented a 'good opportunity' for the bank, being a gateway to North Africa, which is in need of Shariah-based, value-driven banking. He said QIIB and its partners in Morocco have identified the branches and installed the IT systems. While there are opportunities, al-Shaibei said any new market would pose some challenges. In terms of overseas ventures, QIIB will now be focused only on Morocco. Al-Shaibei said 2016 was a challenging year not just in the Middle East, but everywhere. However, he said he remained very optimistic about the Qatari economy and the future opportunities of the country.

#Shares in Abu Dhabi banks suspended after merger speculation

Trading of shares in Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Union National Bank and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank were suspended on Sunday. The shares jumped last week because of renewed speculation that the Abu Dhabi government might engineer a merger between ADCB and UNB, and another between ADIB and Al Hilal Bank. Both moves would be part of an efficiency drive. There was no immediate official statement from the banks, but banking industry sources said the banks were expected to send statements denying that they had plans to merge.

Talal Al Zain to head new Islamic investment bank in Abu Dhabi

The newly formed Islamic investment bank ADCorp has named Talal Al Zain as its chief executive. Its two main shareholders, Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG) and GFH Financial, said the new company has an authorised capital of US$100 million and will be the first Sharia-compliant institution in Abu Dhabi Global Market. Mr Al Zain, formerly chief executive of PineBridge Investments Middle East, said that ADCorp would focus on corporate finance, wealth and asset management for institutions and ultra high net worth ­clients. He said that geographically the firm’s investment strategy will allow ADCorp to become the long-term business partner of choice for clients in the region.

Sharia banks' assets reach Rp331 trillion

The total assets of the #Indonesian sharia banking industry in the third quarter of 2016 reached Rp331 trillion, accounting for 5.13% of the national banking industrys assets. Lukdir Gultom, Chief of the Indonesian Financial Service Authority (OJK), said the actual figure outstrips the target set by the OJK at 5%. He added that the OJK continued to encourage the sharia compliant financial service industry covering banks, non-bank financial institutions and the capital market. To date, Indonesia has a total of 13 sharia commercial banks, 21 sharia business units, and 165 sharia rural banks. The OJK will try to increase their number. Having a Muslim majority population, North Sumatra has the potential to become a hub for the Indonesian sharia banking industry.

GCC banks looking to Africa for new opportunities: EY

According to EY’s GCC Wealth and Asset Management Report 2016 'Global forces drive regional realities', the larger local banks in the GCC are approaching saturation in their home market and are starting to venture out to new markets such as Africa. George Triplow, EY's Wealth and Asset Management Leader says the UAE’s strong ties with African markets has encouraged a number of African businesses to use Dubai and the Dubai International Financial Center as an infrastructure hub. The regional retail wealth management sector faces the ongoing issue of lack of transparency and independence. According to Triplow, the key would be to provide lower costs, genuinely independent advice and technology-supported portfolio diversification with a focus on passive funds and exchange-traded funds, rather than complex structured products.

Noor Bank closes AED850 Million syndicated Islamic Financing Facility for Ajman Bank

Noor Bank closed an AED 850 million Syndicated Islamic Financing Facility for Ajman Bank. The two-year Shari’a compliant facility shall be utilised towards Ajman Bank’s future growth plans. Noor Bank was mandated for the second time to act as Lead Arranger. Dubai Islamic Bank, First Gulf Bank, Sharjah Islamic Bank, The Arab Investment Company and Warba Bank joined the deal as Mandated Lead Arrangers, while National Bank of Bahrain participated as an Arranger. Commenting on the facility, Noor Bank's CEO Hussain Al Qemzi said that this syndication was testament to Noor Bank's service quality and the relationship amongst the two institutions. He expressed his gratitude to Ajman Bank and all the partner banks who helped to close the transaction.

SC Saadiq expands Islamic financial product beyond core markets

Standard Chartered Saadiq plans to expand its Sharah-compliant products beyond its core markets such as Pakistan, UAE, Malaysia, Indonesia and Bangladesh. Currently Standard Chartered Saadiq is the only international bank that covers all segments of Islamic banking ranging from retail, corporate and capital markets. Standard Chartered has operations across 16 African and 23 Asian countries. Analysts say the recent slowdown in growth of Islamic finance reflects more challenging economic conditions across a number of core Islamic markets. Despite the current challenges, the sector still has potential for further growth, especially in countries such as Oman, Turkey and Indonesia where the penetration of Islamic financing assets remain relatively low (between 5 and 10%) and there are recent initiatives supporting the growth of the industry.

Dagong and IIRA maintain the ratings of Al Baraka Banking Group

The Islamic International Rating Agency (IIRA) and Dagong Global Credit Rating Company (Dagong) have jointly maintained foreign and local currency ratings assigned to the Al Baraka Banking Group (ABG) on the international scale at BBB+/A3. The national scale ratings of ABG are assessed at A+(bh)/A2(bh) and denote its creditworthiness relative to the local environment. Political stability and policy continuity remain areas of concern in ABG’s core countries including Algeria, Jordan and Egypt, and most notably Turkey. On this account, outlook on the ratings is assessed as 'Negative'. Despite the increasing operating risks, the Group’s overall profitability remains steady and wealth creation capability is relatively strong.

Burj Bank merges into Al Baraka

Al Baraka Bank (Pakistan) and Burj Bank have successfully merged operations under the name of Al Baraka Bank (Pakistan). The amalgamated entity will operate with a combined network of 224 branches and net assets in excess of 120 billion. Sheikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel, Chairman of Al Baraka Banking Group (ABG) said that the merger was part of the group’s strategy to expand its reach in Pakistan and strengthen the global footprint of Islamic Finance. This merger will further catalyze the growth by establishing Al Baraka as an even stronger institution in the Islamic Banking sphere. The substantial increase in combined capital and branch network will help to reach out to a broader customer base with a full range of Islamic Banking services.

Bank AlJazira expands #remittance business amid downturn reports

Bank AlJazira (BAJ) has announced an ambitious expansion plan. BAJ currently operates 40 Fawri remittance centers and plans to open several new branches across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Bank's Senior Vice President Sami Hamad Al-Rajhi said Fawri has a vast overseas network of payout locations in more than 200 countries and will continue to expand. He pointed out that money can be sent through Fawri to all major countries like India, Philippines and Pakistan, which are the three top remittance recipient countries, and Bangladesh, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Yemen, Turkey, Jordan, Morocco and many more countries around the globe. In addition, Fawri offers buying and selling of bank notes, namely for dollar and euro currencies. Fawri will be able to deal in all major currencies in the near future.

Alizz Islamic Bank’s financing portfolio grows 62%

Financing portfolio of Alizz Islamic Bank (AIB) reached OMR275.9 million in the third quarter of 2016, registering a growth of 62.4%, compared to the same period last year. Deposits grew by OMR123.4 million from the same period last year representing a growth of 84.7% and net operating income grew by 57.2% from the same period last year to reach OMR6.7million. Due to the increase in income, cost controls and monitoring of financing quality, the net loss of the bank reduced by 19.1% to reach OMR3.4 million. According to CEO Salaam Al Shaksy, the bank achieved stable growth, while maintaining a strong asset quality. Alizz Islamic Bank is one of the first specialised Islamic banks in Oman, that has consolidated its presence within a short period of time.

Islamic bank Al Baraka Banking Group to expand network in #Pakistan

Bahrain-based Al Baraka Banking Group plans to expand its network in Pakistan following its merger with Burj Bank. CEO Adnan Ahmad Youssef said the Group's strategy in the Pakistani market was built on expansion in all Pakistani cities. Burj Bank’s 74 branches will be added to those of Al Baraka Bank (Pakistan) to form a network of 224 branches. Al Baraka Bank (Pakistan) aims to increase the number to 300 branches in the next four years. The merger is expected to take effect from the last quarter of this year, and the Bahraini bank will be the major shareholder in the merged institution. Al Baraka Banking Group is also setting up in Morocco after the North African nation introduced legislation allowing Islamic banks into the domestic market. With this entry the Group completes its network in almost all Arab Maghreb countries.

MOVES-Abu Dhabi's Al Hilal Bank appoints Craig Bell as CFO

Abu Dhabi government-owned Al Hilal Bank has recently appointed Craig Bell as chief financial officer. Bell previously worked in New Zealand, Britain, Costa Rica, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia, Al Hilal said. According to his LinkedIn profile, his previous post was chief financial officer at Saudi British Bank.

Jaiz Gets Shareholders’ Approval To List On #Nigerian Stock Exchange

Shareholders of Jaiz Bank unanimously voted for its shares to be listed and traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The bank disclosed that this development will now open windows of opportunities for numerous individuals who desire to own shares in Jaiz Bank. Chairman of the Bank, Alhaji Umaru Abdul Mutallab, said the Bank’s authorized Share Capital has been sub-divided from 15, 000, 000, 000 Ordinary Shares of N1.00 each to N30, 000, 000, 000 Ordinary Shares of 50k each. Also speaking at the event, CEO Hassan Usman said once listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, existing shareholders can trade their shares while new investors can also invest by buying the shares.

Arsalaan is new HSBC Amanah CEO

HSBC Amanah Malaysia has appointed Arsalaan Ahmed as its chief executive officer (CEO). HSBC Amanah announced that Arsalaan will be leading the Islamic banking businesses for retail, commercial and wholesale banking, and reporting to HSBC Bank CEO Mukhtar Hussain. Prior to joining HSBC Amanah, Arsalaan was appointed as the head of capital financing and financial institutions of Barwa Bank in Doha, Qatar, where he led the development of the Islamic debt capital market and wholesale banking platform. Arsalaan has 15 years of experience and has distinguished himself as an expert in syariah-compliant retail, corporate and investment banking.

Negotiations continuing for Bank Alkhair’s acquisition — GFH

Gulf Finance House (GFH) said the negotiations are underway for acquisition of Bank Alkhair of Bahrain. The due deligence is continuing and formalities are yet to be completed. In a separate statement, GFH said that its unit has won a case against its former deputy chief executive. The verdict issued in favour of GFH’s unit is for circa $5 million (Dh18.4 million). Earlier in the month, the GFH board has approved the proposed settlement with assets of an estimated $350-450 million, subject to counterparties’ fulfillment of their obligations. The company said the estimated value of the assets is preliminary and subject to regulatory approvals and will have a positive impact on GFH’s financials for the fourth quarter of 2016.

ADIB latest #UAE bank to see profit hit by bad loan rise

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) reported nearly flat third quarter net profit, thus being the latest bank in the United Arab Emirates to suffer from a rise in bad loans as a result of the economic impact of lower oil prices. ADIB made a net profit of 508.9 million dirhams ($139 million) in the three months ending Sept. 30, compared to 503.2 million dirhams in the same period a year ago, up 1.1%. Earlier this month, ADIB chief executive Tirad al-Mahmoud said the bank's earnings in the second half would be similar to the opening six months of 2016. ADIB booked credit provisions and impairment charges totalling 267.7 million dirhams in the third quarter, compared to 193.0 million dirhams in the year-ago period. Net revenues in the third quarter were up 7%, reaching 1.37 billion dirhams compared to 1.28 billion dirhams in the prior-year quarter.

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