Financial Institutions

Fitch: Deposits in #Morocco Islamic Banks to Grow up to 10 %

According to Fitch Ratings, Islamic banking products in Morocco could expand their deposit bases by 5 to 10%. Fitch notes that the ability to grow the deposit base is positive for Morocco’s economic development because deposits represent about 70% of banking sector funding. The experts also noted that banking penetration is already high in Morocco, with 70% of adults holding a bank account. Therefore, participation banking is unlikely to take a significant market share from the well-established conventional banks. Growth rates in the Moroccan banking sector have been volatile in recent years, reflecting unsteady economic trends. Deposit growth has outstripped loan growth, but credit demand is set to accelerate. The ability to offer participation banking services could broaden the pool of potential depositors in the country, mitigating the competitive pressure.

Maybank Islamic named Asia-Pacific's Islamic Bank of the Year 2017

Maybank Islamic was named the Islamic Bank of the Year 2017 in Asia-Pacific by The Banker. The bank also received recognition in the country awards category for Malaysia. The Banker noted that Tier 1 capital and total Shariah-compliant assets enjoyed notable growth, climbing by 12% and 16%, respectively. Maybank Islamic’s return on equity for the year was 15.4%, while its cost-to-income ratio was a respectable 36% and non-performing financing were just 0.8%. The bank’s steady growth pace in Singapore and Indonesia also contributed to its recognition as the best in Asia-Pacific. Maybank Islamic's CEO Datuk Mohamed Rafique Merican attributed the bank’s achievements to its employees and sound risk management practices. He said the bank intends to further enhance its global brand visibility, while also deepening its existing regional presence.

#Brunei's largest bank aims to raise up $500 mln in #Malaysian #listing -IFR

Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam aims to raise as much as $500 million in an initial public offering (IPO) and the bank will be listed on the Malaysian bourse. JPMorgan and Malayan Banking (Maybank) are set to be joint global coordinators for the initial public offering of $200 million-$500 million this year. The IPO is expected to raise around $300 million but the final amount will depend on the size of the greenshoe option. Brunei is one of the world's richest countries on a per capital basis. The country does not have a stock exchange although its central bank last year announced draft rules to form one.

Maybank Islamic appoints Zainal Abidin as chairman

Maybank Islamic has announced the appointment of lawyer Zainal Abidin as its chairman. Zainal has been a director of Maybank Islamic since 2010 and previously served as chairman of Maybank Trustees. Prior to that, Zainal was a director of Malayan Banking (Maybank) from July 2009 to April 2014. Zainal, 63, is a practising corporate and commercial lawyer. As the founder and senior partner, Zainal established the firm Zainal Abidin in 1987.

TH confirms backing Badlisyah for Bank Islam, denies bad blood with board

Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) has confirmed its support of deputy CEO Datuk Badlisyah Abdul Ghani to lead Bank Islam Malaysia following the retirement of the bank’s group managing director, Datuk Seri Zukri Samat. TH has a 52.5% stake in BIMB Holdings which wholly owns Bank Islam. Bank Islam’s board had already put forward its choice, Khairul Kamarudin, to Bank Negara and the decision now lies with the central bank. TH CEO Datuk Seri Johan Abdullah confirmed recommending Badlisyah to be appointed to lead Bank Islam. He added that the choice of leadership and succession is subject to nomination of the board of directors and approval by Bank Negara Malaysia. He said TH was never at odds with the board of directors.

ICD Extends $5 Million Line of Finance Facility to Arab Gambian Islamic Bank

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and Arab Gambian Islamic Bank (Agib) have entered into a Joint Strategic Collaboration to finance the private sector in The Gambia. The financing agreement for the amount of USD5 million was signed by the CEO of ICD, Khaled Al Aboodi and Muhammed Jah, Chairman of Agib Bank. The collaboration will focus on developing the private sector, supporting the local economy and promoting Islamic Banking in the country. CEO of Agib Bank, Nuha Marenah, assured ICD of Agib Bank’s resolve to contribute to the socio-economic development of The Gambia. He also said Agib Bank has the capacity, both in terms of technology and human resources to manage the line of financing to the total satisfaction of all stakeholders.

5 Foreign Banks Licensed by #Iran

The Central Bank of Iran has released the names of 40 registered banks and credit institutions active in the country, which include the names of five foreign banks. The only five foreign lenders licensed to operate in Iran are the Hamburg-based Iranian-European Bank, Standard Chartered, Iran-Venezuela Bi-National Bank, Islamic Cooperation Investment Bank and Future Bank. The Iranian-European Bank has a German license, but is owned by the Iranian state. Standard Chartered is a British multinational banking company headquartered in London. It operates a network of more than 1,200 branches across more than 70 countries. Iran-Venezuela Bank a joint venture between Banco Industrial de Venezuela and the Export Development Bank of Iran. However, Iran is planning to sell some of its shares in IVBB, as the two countries currently have no commercial relations. The Islamic Cooperation Investment Bank is an Iraqi private lender, which currently has 11 branches in Iran. Future Bank is a fully commercial lender approved by the Central Bank of Bahrain, its branch in Iran is located in the Kish Free Trade Zone.

BRIEF-Al Izz Islamic Bank expresses interest in #merger with United Finance

Alizz Islamic Bank has expressed interest in the possibility of strategic merger with United Finance subject to conducting due diligence. No legally binding commitment has been made and the transaction remains subject to approval by the regulators and other stakeholders.

Sberbank of #Russia to expand capabilities in Islamic financial business

Sberbank received official certification for its Mudaraba Finance transaction from Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB). The bank also reaffirmed that it would remain fully committed to Sharia compliant financial activities for its customers. Sberbank, based in Moscow, currently has 16 thousand branches in all 83 constituent entities of the Russian Federation. It is the largest bank of Russia and the leading financial institution in the country. Yasser S. Dahlawi, CEO and Founder of SRB, noted that the Shariyah Review Bureau would continue to review and supervise Sberbank’s transaction and sharing best practices of the Sharia complaint marketplace.

#TA #Securities gets nod to #offer #Islamic #stockbroking #services

Bursa Malaysia Bhd has added TA Securities Holdings Bhd to its Islamic participating organisations list, making it the 11th stockbroking house and Islamic PO partnering with Bursa Malaysia-i. TA Enterprise Bhd managing director and chief executive officer Datin Alicia Tiah stated, that the inclusion will complement and broaden its product offerings.
Bursa Malaysia chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan said in a statement: "We hope that with the support from our brokers, we will be able to provide a conducive marketplace for the Shariah investing community which will, in turn, continue to spur the growth and vibrancy of the Islamic capital market domestically and regionally.”

#Turkish Banking Team Plans #Iran Visit to Resolve Halkbank Dispute

A delegation from the Central Bank of Turkey will soon meet their Iranian counterparts in Tehran to remove hurdles in the way of bilateral banking relations. Particular difficulties include Iranian citizens' bank accounts in the Turkish Halkbank. The banking ties were overshadowed by the detention of a senior Halkbank official in the US in March for allegedly violating Iran sanctions. Mehmet Hakan Atilla was accused of conspiring with Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Turkish gold trader, to channel hundreds of millions of dollars through the US financial system on behalf of Iranian companies. Turkish Minister of Economy Nihat Zeybekci is also scheduled to visit Iran on June 21 to negotiate a preferential trade agreement between the two sides.

Bank Islam #Brunei said to choose #Malaysia for US$500mil IPO

Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam has picked Malaysia as the destination for a planned initial public offering (IPO) that could raise as much as US$500mil. The IPO would be the first from a company based in Brunei, an oil-rich country without its own stock exchange. First-time share sales in Malaysia raised US$833mil so far this year, up from US$235mil during the same period last year. Shareholders of Bank Islam include the Brunei finance ministry, the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation, private equity firm Fajr Capital and about 6,000 Bruneian investors. The lender had 7.5 billion Brunei dollars (US$5.4bil) of total group assets at the end of 2015. Its Tier 1 capital adequacy ratio was 23.3%.


Bank Melli Iran Revamping European Branches

Bank Melli Iran (BMI) is planning to overhaul its European branches after clearing the procedures both inside the country and abroad. BMI's director for Foreign Exchange, Gholamreza Panahi, said the bank held negotiations with European officials to enhance its presence in the continent. He added that the bank's Najaf branch in Iraq is also ready to launch and expand the bank's network in East Asia. Panahi said BMI established correspondent relations with 25 foreign banks, which means connecting to a banking network that makes it possible to benefit from their wide range of services. The official also said BMI was the first Iranian bank to be reconnected to Swift, the international interbank messaging network, after the sanctions were lifted in January last year.

Zukri: Islamic banking sector ripe for M&As

According to outgoing Bank Islam director Datuk Seri Zukri Samat, there are too many Islamic banks in Malaysia, which means that this segment of the local financial sector is ripe for mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Zukri is also advocating direct listings of such banks. There are 16 Islamic banks in Malaysia of which two are full-fledged banks, eight are subsidiaries of conventional banks and the remaining, foreign banks. Zukri hopes to see the creation of mega Islamic banks that can potentially become regional champions under the Asean banking integration framework. It is not yet known who will replace Zukri, but one name has already been submitted to Bank Negara for approval. Bank Islam’s parent company BIMB is at the same time contemplating a group-wide restructuring to fulfil regulatory compliance requirements.

KFH Said in Talks for #Bahrain Ahli United Bank, Kuwait Unit

Kuwait Finance House is in talks to buy Bahrain’s Ahli United Bank in a deal that would create one of the Middle East’s largest Islamic lenders with $85 billion of assets. However, there is no guarantee that a deal will take place and final agreements haven’t been reached yet. Lower oil prices are forcing Gulf lenders to consolidate for scale. Abu Dhabi lenders National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank recently merged to create a regional powerhouse with $175 billion of assets. Qatar’s Masraf Al Rayan is planning to combine with unlisted Barwa Bank and International Bank of Qatar to create the country’s largest Islamic lender. Ahli United in Bahrain declined to comment. KFH shares have lost 0.6% so far this year, giving the lender a market value of $9.3 billion. Ahli United shares have jumped 16% so far this year, giving it a $5.57 billion market capitalization.

#Kuwait's Noor to Weigh Stake Sale of #Pakistan's Meezan Bank

#Kuwait’s Noor Financial Investment is considering the sale of its 49% stake in Pakistan’s largest Islamic lender Meezan Bank. The stake has a market value of about $396 million at the current market price, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Noor Financial hired advisers to assess opportunities, but it has not tasked the consultants with either increasing or decreasing its stake in Meezan Bank. Shares in Noor Financial gained 5.9% by 12:30 p.m. in Safat, Kuwait, the highest since April 16. Meezan advanced 3.6% in Karachi trading to a record high.

#Morocco opens first Islamic bank branch months after approval

The first Islamic bank in Morocco, Umnia Bank, has opened its doors five months after the central bank's approval. The North African country long rejected Islamic banking because of concern about Islamist movements, but its financial markets lack liquidity and investors. Umnia Bank is a joint venture of Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) and Moroccan lender Credit Immobilier et Hotelier (CIH Bank). Umnia recently opened a total of three agencies, two in Casablanca and one in Rabat. The bank plans to open more branches throughout the country. Morocco is the most advanced of North African neighbours in developing Islamic finance. Tunisia and Algeria are also starting to explore the sector.

Amana Bank gets regulatory nod to bring in fresh capital with exception to single shareholder limit

As an exception to the banking sector single shareholder limit, the Central Bank has allowed one of the shareholders of Sri Lanka’s Amana Bank to own up to 30% of the issued shares of the bank. Currently IDB has 120.4 million shares or 9.62% stake in Amana Bank, Sri Lanka’s first non-interest based Islamic bank. In recent times, the Central Bank had allowed several banks to have their key shareholders own even beyond 70% such as in the case of Union Bank and Cargills Bank. But they must gradually bring those stakes down to the regulatory limits over time. Amana Bank is required to meet its minimum regulatory core capital of Rs.7.5 billion by June 30, 2017. Given the performance of the share price and the non-receipt of dividends, shareholders may not show appetite to contribute for any fresh capital calls by the bank.

BRIEF-Kuwait Finance House denies any decision to merge with Ahli United Bank

Kuwait Finance House denies any decision to merge with Ahli United Bank. Kuwait Finance House is currently studying many other strategic alternatives to enlarge its profitability and marketshare among local and regional banks.

Islamic Development Bank to buy more stock in #Sri Lanka's Amana

The Islamic Development Bank will invest more cash in Sri Lanka's Amana Bank through an investment vehicle. Approval has been recently given for the investment group to go up to 29.9% of the stock by subscribing to a cash call. The investment vehicle IB Growth Fund (Labuan) will buy stock in in an upcoming rights issue. The investment deal was inked on May 18 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

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