Islamic Banking

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University Bank Receives the American Bankers Association's Community Bank Award for 2009

University Bank was nationally acknowledged by the American Bankers Association for its innovative programs to increase homeownership opportunities at the American Bankers Association's National Conference for Community Bankers in Phoenix, Ariz. on Feb. 17.

The selection committee lauded University Bank for its innovative programs such as home financings for Muslim customers. Muslims are much less likely to be homeowners on average due to religious prohibitions on the payment or receipt of interest. University Bank designed a program to meet these needs, which has so far resulted in over USD 50 mn of financings for the purchase of homes by Muslim customers of the bank.

Floatation of Bank Mellat faces difficult market environment

Fredrik Dahl and Parisa Hafezi reported on 18 February in Forbes about the floatation of a 5 % stake in Bank Mellat, Iran. Market environment was not supportive with a fall of 30 % of share prices since last August.

A Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE) official said investors bought 340 million, or around 52 percent, of the 655 million Bank Mellat shares on offer, and suggested the price had been set too high in view of the difficult market conditions.

Iran's economy is dominated by the state but the government has been seeking to speed up privatisations after the constitution was changed to encourage the sale of assets.

Iran is privatizing banks

Iran plans to offer 5 % of Bank Mellat to private investors to study the demand and interest from buyers. Bank Mellat, Iran's second-largest bank after state-owned Bank Melli, is estimated to have a share of around 15 % of the country's banking industry.

It is said two other state banks - Tejarat and Saderat - were next in line to be partly sold off.

Industrial Development Bank becomes Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) announced the official re-launch of Jordan-based Industrial Development Bank (IDB) following the completion of a private placement of 26 million shares of IDB, valued at USD 100 mn. As part of the re-launch, IDB has been transformed into an Islamic financing institution to be known as Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank (JDIB).

The parties involved in the private placement transaction include Jordan Dubai Financial (JD Financial), the investment arm of Jordan Dubai Capital, DIB and Dubai International Capital. The private placement was valued at JOD 2.750 per share, based on the pricing equation adopted by the bank's Shareholders General Assembly, wherein the strategic partner, Mesc Investment, covered the entire placement.

Islamic banking law in Kazakhstan came into effect

Clare Nuttal reported on 13 February on Business News Europe that Kazakhstan launches a new commodity exchange and confirmed in the same article that the Islamic finance law came into effect in January.

Bahrain Islamic Bank receives first rating from Moody`s

Martin Morris reported on 10 February on Arabianbusiness that Moody's Investors Service, has assigned Baa1 long-term and Prime-2 short-term local and foreign currency issuer ratings and a D+ bank financial strength rating (BFSR) to Bahrain Islamic Bank. (BisB). The rating outlook is stable.

Sharjah Islamic Bank profit drops 23 %

Sharjah Islamic Bank released that its profits declined 23 % to AED 231.59 mn in 2008, down from AED 301.83 mn in 2007.

Amlak Finance Jordan reducing its capital

The board of Amlak Finance Jordan decided to reduce its capital to 1 mn Jordinian Dinar in order to preserve the rights of the shareholders, and in consideration of the global financial crisis, which hit specifically the mortgage markets.

The main investors in the company are cited, that the decision on this specific sector does not preclude high confidence in the Jordanian investment environment and the strength of the Jordanian economy, which is less affected by the crisis than other region and stressing that their investments in other crucial sectors in the Kingdom are still ongoing according to plans.

GBCorp income rises 8.1 % to USD 53.1 mn

Global Banking Corporation (GBCorp), the Bahrain-based Islamic investment bank, said its total income in 2008 increased 8.1 % to USD 53.1 mn compared to USD 49.2 mn for the previous year. Its net profit reached USD 21.2 mn. Total assets reached 93 % to USD 455.9 mn against USD 236.2 mn for the previous year. The bank had USD 723 mn worth of fund under its management.

Bank Indonesia to reduce CAR for banks aiming to spin off Islamic commercial bank

Bank Indonesia plans to reduce the capital adequacy ratio (CAR) for conventional banks wishing to set up a shariah commercial bank through a spin-off from Rp 1 trillion to Rp 500 billion as of March.

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), looks into establishing an Islamic bank in Indonesia as partner.

The Islamic Bank of Asia aims for expansion

The Islamic Bank of Asia, majority owned by DBS is looking for acquisition opportunities in Malaysia and Indonesia, although it is also keen on Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait. The Islamic Bank of Asia currently focuses on commercial banking, corporate finance, capital market and wealth management services. The step towards Malaysia and Indonesia targets the retail markets.

Kuwait Finance House Malaysia more than doubles paid up capital

Kuwait Finance House Malaysia said last Friday it has received a USD 300 mn capital injection from its parent, increasing the paid-up capital to USD 500 mn.

Qatar Islamic Bank announces profit growth

Mohamed Salem reported in The Peninsula that Qatar Islamic Bank released a net profit to QR 1.64 bn, representing a 30.8 % growth over 2007. The profit in 2007 was QR1.25bn. The bank also announced it plans to launch a rights issue to raise its capital by 10 %.

UAE Cabinet appoints Steering Committee to Review, Develop Strategies for Amlak, Tamweel

UAE Cabinet appoints Steering Committee to Review, Develop Strategies for Amlak, Tamweel. The high-level Committee, headed by H.E. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, brings together experts from across ministries and regulatory bodies. The move highlights the federal government's support to the UAE economy and strengthening of its financial institutions. The Committee will draw up a comprehensive report of Amlak's and Tamweel's performances under the changed economic environment and present its recommendations on the way forward to the government by the end of February.

Ajman Bank officially launched

Ajman Bank is officially launched as the Emirate of Ajman`s first Islamic commercial bank. The bank will serve the community and emphasize social corporate responsibility.

Yousif Khalaf is the CEO of Ajman Bank.

Kuwait Finance House’s 2008 posts profit before provision and increase income

Edward Russell reported on Financeasia on 2 February, that Kuwait Finance House’s (KFH) 2008 posts profit before charges but faces falling revenues. In Q4, KFH's revenue fell 16.3 % quarter-on-quarter to KD 185 mn. The revenue decline increased 3.7 % from the previous quarter when it fell 12.5 % quarter-on-quarter. Despite the decline in revenues in the second half of the year, the bank managed to report an overall increase in income of 6.5 % year-on-year.

The finance house's unaudited full-year net profit totalled KD 157 mn(USD 542 mn on revenues of KD 884.9 mn. Given the current economic environment, KFH announced to retain KD 211 mn as a "provision". After the KD 211 mn provision, KFH lost anywhere between KD4 8 mn and KD54 mn for the year. Full-year and fourth-quarter audited results have yet to be released.

Iran: Cooperative Development Bank planned

Iran Daily reported on 1 February that the director of Iran Privatization Organization (IPO) has said the organization plans to establish the first-ever cooperative development bank.

S&P: Shamil Bank of Bahrain 'BBB-/A-3' Ratings Withdrawn At Bank's Request

Press Release

PARIS (Standard & Poor's) Jan. 28, 2009--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that it affirmed its 'BBB-/A-3' ratings on Shamil Bank of Bahrain. The outlook on the ratings remains negative. The ratings were subsequently withdrawn at the bank's request.

As a result of the withdrawal, Shamil will no longer be subject to Standard & Poor's review. At the moment of the ratings withdrawal, the bank had no rated debt outstanding.

Pakistan’s Islamic Banks Plan to Open 230 New Outlets in 2009

Shanthy Nambiar and Farhan Sharif reported on Bloomberg, 27 January, that Pakistan's Islamic banks plan to expand their network of outlets this year to take advantage of rising demand for Shariah-compliant financing according to Pervez Said, director of Islamic banking at the State Bank of Pakistan. These banks have 500 branches, after adding 210 outlets last year. Pakistan is promoting growth in Islamic finance to expand the reach of the banking sector which has less than 25 million deposit accounts. Shariah-compliant facilities are forecast to rise to 277 billion rupees ($3.5 billion) this year from 185 billion in 2008, according to central bank data.

Bahrain Islamic Bank lowers profits marginally

Bahrain Islamic Bank announced on 21 January that its financial results for the year 2008, decreased to BD 22.3 mn net income from BD 25 mn for the year 2007, after making provisions against contingences that may arise in case the current international financial and economic crisis continues further.

The board of Directors has decided to propose to the Bank's AGM the distribution of 20% of dividends of paid up capital as of 31st December 2008 as 10% cash and another 10% bonus shares.

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