A summary of the latest Islamic finance news from around the world.
Oliver Wyman and GFT to create new Islamic digital bank for Al Rajhi in Malaysia
Management consulting firm Oliver Wyman and technology and software engineering company GFT are providing support to Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia (ARBM) to design, build and launch a cloud-based digital bank, reported IBS Intelligence. The bank is to have a complete digital overhaul of products, services and channels. “We are tapping into the vast potential of innovation and partnering with key experts to provide added value to our customers and better serve the Malaysian market, and ARBM is seizing the opportunities in both digital banking and Islamic finance by striving to become the number one Islamic finance innovation bank in Malaysia,” said Arsalaan (Oz) Ahmed, Chief Executive Officer, ARBM, was quoted as saying.
“The architecture and technology stack we’ve recommended will allow ARBM to provide disruptive, mobile-first, and highly scalable banking services,” said Dan Jones, Partner, Oliver Wyman Digital.
Malaysia’s Bank Negara: Islamic finance to scale up value-based financial solutions
In a keynote address the Deputy Governor of Bank Negara, Datuk Abdul Rasheed Ghaffour, said that “most if not all” of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) “are aligned with the objectives of Sharia, making Islamic finance naturally advance and spearhead sustainability goals.”
The deputy governor said that Malaysia’s sustainability objectives are “materialized through the adoption of Value-based Intermediation or VBI practices,” adding that “for a few years now, Islamic financial institutions have contributed significantly in pursuing sustainability efforts domestically.”
Malaysian Islamic financial institutions have “intermediated over RM155.6 billion ($37.1 billion) in VBI-aligned initiatives over the past three years. Being a mature system today, Islamic finance is poised to scale up value-based finance solutions and continue to take the lead to create greater impact on the environment, economy and society,” Ghaffour is quoted as saying in Crowdfundinsider.com. The comments follow the release of the bank’s Financial Sector Blueprint in January.
Bank Syariah Indonesia (BSI) may become fully state-owned
Indonesia’s House of Representatives' supports a move to fully nationalise Bank Syariah Indonesia (BSI). Legislator Achmad Badrowi was quoted by Antara News saying “the conversion of BSI's status would be appropriate, as Indonesia, with the largest Muslim population, must have a government-owned bank to cater to residents looking to conduct their daily financial activities and businesses while adhering to the Islamic law.”
BSI's current status conversion is as a subsidiary of state-owned banks. The move to fully state-owned “would enhance the Islamic bank in deciding the financial strategy without the need to cater to the interests of parent companies,” Badrowi said.
Sharjah Islamic Bank bolsters foreign ownership of shares to 40%
The UAE’s Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB) decided it will raise foreign ownership of shares to 40% in a bid to attract more investors, according to MENAFN-Khaleej Times. SIB’s total assets grew 2.5% to Dh55 billion in 2021, compared to Dh53.6 billion in 2020. The bank attracted new customers and deposits last year, bolstering deposits by 14.5% to Dh38.5 billion compared to Dh33.6 billion at the end of 2020.
Islamic Bank of Thailand hunts for a new manager
Thailand’s longest running Islamic finance institution, the Islamic Bank of Thailand, owned by the state, is looking for a new manager. The 19-year old bank is accepting applications through March, looking for an “ambitious, ethical person with a strong banking background ... to fill the position,” reported the Nation Thailand.