First National Bank

FNB targets Islamic banking on continent

First National Bank (FNB) is looking to expand its Islamic banking offering to Zambia and Tanzania before the end of its financial year in June next year. FNB, which has been on an expansion phase in select countries in the rest of Africa, is looking to use the Islamic banking offering to capture clients, especially in those countries that have big Muslim communities. Amman Muhammad, the CEO of FNB Islamic Banking, said that in sub-Saharan Africa there were about 280-million Muslim people and the FirstRand group had a presence in countries that had about 200-million Muslims. The bank already offers Islamic banking in Botswana.

FNB hires new sharia committee

The Islamic division of South Africa's First National Bank has hired a new sharia advisory committee and aims to rebrand itself. The new committee consists of Aznan Hasan, Yusus Patel and Zaid Haspatel. According to the chief executive of the Islamic business, Amman Muhammad, they will no longer be called board, but “sharia advisory committee” and their role is clearly defined. He added that the new team would review the bank's previous sharia products. FNB's previous sharia board resigned last July after disagreements over the board's role when new management took charge of the división. Under the new structure, the committee will no longer play a role in the day-to-day running of the business, removing the potential for conflicts.

Banking woes for SA charity suspected of financing Hamas

The banking facilities of the Al Aqsa Foundation with two banks in South Africa have been recently suspended. Even though the foundation is registered with the South African government as a bona fide charity, it is suspected by the US government to be covertly funnelling funds to Hamas. First National Bank (FNB) gave a notice to the foundation three months in advance before completely shutting its account. The move encountered rather negative reception from the South African Muslim community. It was even called for a boycott of FNB. There have been further discussions on the reasons to close the account and the relations between the bank and the US government.

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