#Thailand’s Islamic bank doubles branches; #Cambodia gets #takaful option

Islamic finance is making further foray in non-Muslim countries in Southeast Asia. The Islamic Bank of Thailand (branded as IBank) announced it will more than double its branches. Etiqa Insurance & Takaful, the insurance division of Malaysian banking group Maybank, has been granted an operation licence in Cambodia. IBank plans to add 60 more branches to its network to reach 100 outlets nationwide. The branch expansion aims not only at increasing the share of Muslim customers of Ibank and support Muslim career development by creating new banking jobs, but also at attracting foreign investors, particularly from the Middle East.

Islamic Bank invites financial institutions to invest in it

Islamic Bank of Thailand plans to set up an asset management team to handle its Bt48 billion in non-performing loans. The bank also plans to invite 35 financial firms to invest in the bank to restructure its business and boost its new loans, which stand at Bt30 billion. Chairman Chaiwat Utaiwan said Islamic Bank aimed to sell its 74.5% stake in the bank, the remaining stake is owned by Finance Ministry. According to its restructure plan, the bank needs new capital of Bt20 billion in order to adhere to Bank of Thailand standards. The bank has outstanding loan worth Bt95 billion.

i-VCAP introduces MyETF-AGRI to tap into long-term potential of agribusiness

The launch of MyETF-AGRI, the firm’s second Islamic ETF issued this year, brings the number of Shari’ah compliant ETFs in Malaysia to four and 18 in total in the world.
The global ETF market has closed in on the $3 trillion mark with Shari’ah-compliant ETFs only registering about $320 million of that total. In Malaysia, Shari’ah-compliant ETFs make up of over 30 % of the ETF market.
Malaysia does lead the pack, however, with the most Shari’ah-compliant ETF products in the world. Malaysia’s four Shari’ah-compliant ETFs account for some $75 million or 23 % of the global Shari’ah-Compliant ETF segment.
The launch of this landmark Fund represents many firsts for the industry including being the first agricultural-related Islamic ETF globally and the first sectoral Islamic ETF in the region while reinforcing Malaysia’s position as the global hub for Islamic finance and investment products.
MyETF-AGRI will look to invest in the 30 constituent companies that make up the Thomson Reuters Asia Pacific ex-Japan Islamic Agribusiness Index and in substantially the same weightings as they appear on the benchmark index.

Thailand’s troubled Islamic Bank seeks investors to turn around business

State-owned Islamic Bank of Thailand, branded as IBank, has become the target of domestic and foreign investors, including from the Middle East, according to its chairman Chaiwat Uthaiwan. In an effort to rehabilitate its business, the country’s State Enterprise Policy Office agreed to allow local or foreign private investors to acquire more than 50% of stakes in the bank. According to IBank’s chairman, several Asian financial houses including some from the Middle East were interested to take over a larger stake. But this could happen only next year because the bank has to separate its good and bad assets first before it could think about a stake sale, he added. At present, IBank tries to restructure $1.7bn of bad loans out of a total loan amount of close to $3bn. Net loss in 2014 was around $300mn.

Thailand: Muslim savings and loans co-ops becoming popular

Islamic credit unions are expanding in Thailand and offering investors sharia-compliant services. Worawit Baru, a former senator from Pattani, heads the Southern Thailand Islamic Co-operatives Network (Sticon), an association of faith-based credit unions. During his days in parliament, many businessmen in Bangkok were unaware of the popularity of the Islamic co-operative business model in the Deep South, he said. Today, the network of member-owned, non-profit savings and loan co-operatives has expanded to other parts of Thailand. Among the fastest growing faith-based credit unions is Hat Yai-based As-Siddeek Islamic Co-operative Limited (AIC). Under an agreement with other Sticon members, AIC has no plans to expand farther south.

Thai Islamic bank swings to profit, trims bad debt

State-owned Islamic Bank of Thailand made an unaudited profit of 2.7 billion baht ($82.4 million) last year, compared to a loss of 13.25 billion baht a year earlier. Non-performing loans were cut by more than 20 billion baht last year, with about 27 billion baht of NPLs left on its balance sheet. Management now aims to increase capital levels to comply with regulatory requirements. The bank faced several problems in 2013 which affected its image and clients' confidence, leading to a liquidity crisis. The bank, rated BBB- by Fitch, now plans to increase loans by 20 billion baht, focusing on small and medium-sized businesses and retail clients, while growing deposits by about 25 billion baht in 2014. It maintains plans to issue sukuk this year to support expansion plans.

Islamic Bank expects capital ratio to reach positive position

The state-owned Islamic Bank of Thailand (IBank) believes its capital-adequacy ratio will return to positive territory this year. The expectation stems from applying the Finance Ministry's loan-loss provision requirements, which are less stringent than the Bank of Thailand's. The Finance Ministry requires the bank to set aside only 9-10 billion baht in loan-loss provision reserves based on 2012 performance. However, it reserved 15 billion baht to comply with central bank. According to Thongrob Danampai, chairman of IBank's executive committee, IBank's non-performing loans (NPLs) amounted to 38.5 billion baht as of last Dec 31 or 34.2% of its total lending. IBank's suspension of working-capital loans late last year could be blamed for a 15-billion-baht. IBank expects to resolve 20 billion baht in NPLs this year.

Finance to investigate former bank chief

The Finance Ministry has set up a committee to investigate the past work of former president of Islamic Bank of Thailand, Thanin Angsuwarangsi. Finance Permanent Secretary Areepong Bhoocha-oom said that the investigation will focus on employees’ petitions, which must be clarified though Thanin already resigned. Thanin's resignation after only six months in office followed employees' pressure. Over 1,400 employees signed the petition to the board, saying that a number of the president's decisions caused damage to the bank.

Islamic Bank's president resigns

Thanin Angsuwarangsi has tendered his resignation as the president of Islamic Bank of Thailand, only after six months in office. The bank’s board of directors announced that his resignation has been approved. Thanin’s decision followed employees’ pressure. Over 1,400 employees signed the petition to the board, saying that a number of the president’s decisions caused damage to the bank. Among the allegations, Thanin was alleged of ordering bank executives to cancel a lending and loan disbursement procedure, which affected borrowers financially and resulted in higher non-performing loans. The employees pointed out that the bank’s NPLs rose from Bt24 billion in November 2012 to over Bt38 billion in April 2013.

Director - Personal Banker

• Manage and monitor the implementation of policies, strategies for financing disbursement.
• Identify and analyses risk exposures before financing disbursement.
• Prepare Funds Requisition Form (FRF), review on documentation submitted by customer, vendor, supplier, franchisor, etc. Prior to financing disbursement.
• To conduct pre-disbursement site visit for verification of business status prior to financing disbursement.
• Prepare and coordinate the department's monthly reporting to the management related to disbursement of fund.
• Ad-hoc duties as assigned.

Thai Islamic bank plans to up capital and sukuk

State-owned Islamic Bank of Thailand plans to increase its capital by 7.11 billion baht (US$234.9mil) and issue a 5 billion baht sukuk, the country's first-ever Islamic bond. The bank plans to issue the 5billion-baht subordinated sukuk to increase its capital ratio. Last year, bank officials said the sukuk would have a likely maturity of 5 years and the bank would appoint Malaysia's CIMB Bank to handle the deal, targeting domestic and institutional investors in Malaysia and Hong Kong. The bank expects to raise 927 million baht in capital this month and 6.2 billion baht in the fourth quarter. The bank, rated BBB by Fitch, also wants to seek investors to establish a presence in the Middle East in the next three years, while increasing its domestic network of branches to 130 from 106 now. It hopes this strategy will help it to return to profit this year and help the country's Islamic financial sector grow.

Finance Min injects 6 billion baht to support Islamic Bank

The Finance Ministry has approved a 6-billion-baht fund for recapitalization of the Islamic Bank of Thailand, of which the ministry is the major shareholder. The project aims at reviving the bank after it has been plagued by the problem of non-performing loans (NPLs). Out of the 6-billion-baht rehabilitation fund, 3 billion will come from the ministry itself, and the rest from the Government Savings Bank and the Krung Thai Bank, which are shareholders of the Islamic Bank. The first allocation of 920 million baht under the rehabilitation scheme will be made to the Islamic Bank in June. However, the second batch of 3 billion baht has yet to be approved by the parliament and depends on the needs for money by other units.

Beef-noodle franchise to sue Islamic Bank manager

The company owning the "Chaichana Halal" beef-noodle franchise has filed a lawsuit against Islamic Bank of Thailand manager Thanin Angsuwarangsi at Bangkok's Ratchadapisek Criminal Court yesterday. This was after the manager allegedly failed to approve loans for its franchisees, despite signing a previous MoU agreeing to loan cash to 50,000 franchise applicants over five years. Chana Rattanapakdi, executive of Tha Pisut International that owns the franchise business, accused Thanin of abusing his authority and causing damage to others according to the Criminal Code's Article 157. The court will hear the case on July 15 at 1.30pm.

GSB keeps merger option

The Government Savings Bank (GSB) will continue to focus on supporting government projects, including possible mergers with the ailing Islamic Bank of Thailand and SME Bank. The bank has targeted non-performing loans (NPLs) at 1.15% of total loans this year. Moreover, it aims to achieve an increase in lending this year of 8.5% or 142.8 billion baht. According to the bank's president and chief executive Worawit Chailimpamontri, mergers with the Islamic Bank and the SME Bank have made no progress, but will be pursued if the government needs GSB as a solution to fix the problem. GSB also plans to open 90 new branches nationwide this year, and to launch new services while upgrading information technology and staff skills.

For SME and Islamic banks, what went awry?

Due to complete management failure, two state-controlled banks, the SME Bank and the Islamic Bank of Thailand, are now dealing with bad loans in excess of 80 billion baht. This management failure is collective, whether it be the executives and directors of the two banks, the political leadership which appointed both or the Finance Ministry officials tasked with supervising the institutions. The problems at the institutions are conflicts in terms of policy direction, internal fraud and corruption and management inefficiency at the board, senior executive and staff levels. The public didn't create the troubles at these banks, but now must shoulder the cost of fixing them.

Call 191 _ Islamic Bank is bleeding

The Islamic Bank of Thailand has experienced deposit runs due to worries about its financial stability. The state-controlled bank reported some 5 billion baht worth of withdrawals over the past two weeks following reports of its weakening financial status. The government is now to move quickly to reassure the public the bank will have full government support. Prawat Uttamote, a Pheu Thai party list MP and deputy chairman of the border affairs committee said the bank's restructuring plan estimates that 50% of the bad loans or 12 billion can be recouped within the next two years. Therefore, the bank is in no imminent danger, he added. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra separately stressed that deposits in the banking system are fully protected under the Deposit Protection Agency.

Thai Islamic Bank asserts financial strength despite soaring NPLs

A senior Islamic Bank of Thailand (IBank) executive has affirmed that the bank’s financial status and liquidity are normal despite its non-performing loans (NPLs) at Bt39 billion, 20 per cent of its total lending. Thanin Angsuwarangsi, IBank manager, said Bt24.3 billion debts are being negotiated by the bank and debtors and the majority are willing to discuss debt resolution on the NPLs with the bank. After a restructuring of IBank’s role, it will emphasise giving loans to Muslim Thai people and small-time business operators. Mr Thanin believed the problem of Bt39 billion NPLs will be solved in three years, adding that IBank officers who are found to unscrupulously offer loans to customers will be legally dealt with.

'Past negligence' saddles Islamic Bank

Former executives of the Islamic Bank of Thailand who did not adequately pay attention to cash flow, collateral value and monitoring, are to be blamed for the high amount of bad dept at IBank, according to its new president Thanin Angsurarangsit. Non-performing loans at IBank currently amount to Bt39 billion, or about 30 per cent of outstanding loans. Moreover, the Finance Ministry is investigating possible corruption at IBank. The bank will try to maintain its lending at Bt120 billion this year. New lending to large corporates will be reduced as the bank focuses on retail clients who are Muslims.

Rehab key to IBank capital

The Finance Ministry is supervising and working on a restructuring of The Islamic Bank of Thailand, or IBank. The ministry's approval for a capital increase depends on the success in the restructuring plan, according to Somchai Sujjapongse, the director-general of the Fiscal Policy Office. The bank is pursuing several options to recover debt, including filing court foreclosures or restructuring debt with clients. Mr Somchai stressed that IBank continues to operate normally, particularly retail lending operations, but has tightened underwriting practices for large corporate lending.

TEXT-Fitch rates Islamic Bank of Thailand 'BBB-'/'AA(tha)'; outlook stable

The ratings of IBANK are a reflection of Fitch's view that support from the Thai government is very probable. The main reasons for that are the country's high effective ownership of 93.7% and close control, the bank's legal status as a specialised financial institution (SFI), strong linkages between the bank and the state, and historical financial support from the government. Also, the bank's role in terms of public policy is not to underestimate. The bank's rating is lower than the one of the other three Fitch-rated SFIs since its direct government ownership is lower and the government commitment for support stated in its establishment act is less explicit.

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