Islamic Finance 

UK’S Oldest Islamic Bank Celebrates 15-year anniversary

| 14 March, 2019

The UK’s oldest Islamic Bank, Al Rayan Bank, is celebrating its 15-year anniversary this year.

Founded in 2004 as the first Islamic retail bank in Europe, Al Rayan Bank has grown in appeal to both Muslim and non-Muslim audiences alike and currently serves more than 85,000 customers, over a third of which are believed to be non-Muslim.

With an asset book of almost £2billion, Al Rayan Bank is today the UK’s largest Islamic bank and has become a significant rival to mainstream banks, frequently topping the independent ‘best-buy’ savings charts. 

The Bank’s Sharia-compliant finance principles mean that it is able to provide Islamic finance to many thousands of Muslim households in the UK, which may otherwise be excluded from the financial system altogether due to their faith.

The Bank has also contributed significantly to putting Britain at the forefront of Islamic finance globally and last year became the first ever bank to issue a public Sukuk (Islamic bond) in a non-Muslim country.

Sultan Choudhury OBE, Chief Executive Officer of Al Rayan Bank, commented, “As the UK’s oldest Islamic bank, Al Rayan Bank is a pioneer of British banking and will continue to champion the UK as a global financial hub, confirming the country’s standing as a leading global centre for Islamic finance and expertise.

“Consumers today have more choice than ever before when it comes to their personal finances, but it’s Al Rayan Bank’s highly competitive and ethical offering that sets us apart from other players in the market. Over the past 15 years, we’ve seen Islamic banking transform from a faith-based niche into a genuine alternative form of finance, and I am proud of the instrumental role that Al Rayan Bank has played in this change.”

The Bank’s first branch opened at 77-79 Edgware Road, London and one of the first people to open an account was Ms Hiba Ibrahim; still a loyal customer of the Bank today.

Commenting on the anniversary of the Al Rayan Bank, Ms Hiba Ibrahim, said: “I set up a savings account with Al Rayan Bank at its Edgware Road branch in London 15 years ago and later opened a current account with them. I liked the fact that I was able to look after my finances ethically, in a Sharia compliant way, without compromising on competitive rates of return, and this is still important to me today.”

As an independent UK bank, Al Rayan Bank is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the PRA. The Bank is a member of the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which guarantees customers’ deposits up to £85,000.


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Notes to editors

Background on Al Rayan Bank


Al Rayan Bank is the oldest and largest Islamic bank in the UK.  Founded in 2004, the Bank is regulated by UK authorities and is a member of the FSCS. In 2019, Al Rayan Bank is celebrating its 15th anniversary. The Bank currently serves more than 85,000 customers throughout the country. The Bank is the only Islamic bank in the UK to receive a public credit rating. Citing Al Rayan Bank’s sound asset risk profile, robust capitalisation and sufficient liquid resources as credit strengths, Moody’s assigns the Bank baa2 baseline credit assessment (BCA), an a2 adjusted BCA, Aa3 long-term deposit ratings, as well as a Counterparty Risk Ratings (CRR) of Aa2/Prime-1 and Counterparty Risk Assessment of Aa2/Prime-1. Al Rayan Bank is an open and inclusive bank which welcomes customers of any faith. The Bank currently estimates that more than a quarter of its customers are not of the Muslim faith.  This is much higher in certain product groups. For example, 80% of all fixed term deposit customers are believed to be non-Muslim.