NIB eyes world leadership in shariah-compliant products

NIB eyes world leadership in shariah-compliant products

Noor Islamic Bank (NIB) was launched in Dubai yesterday with a capital base of Dh3.16 billion. While being rooted in Dubai it “will grow globally to become the world’s leading shariah-compliant financial services provider,” the bank’s group CEO, Hassain Al Qemzi, said at the official launch.

“Noor Islamic Bank is the new dawn in the region,” he said, adding: “Our profound Islamic beliefs are the core value for this establishment which will be the lighthouse for global Islamic banking, positioning Dubai as the reference for the industry.”

The bank is opening 10 branches in the UAE, which includes six in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Al Ain. “We want to establish an institution that is large enough, competitive enough and innovative enough to meet the ambitions of the city,” said Al Qemzi.

It is aiming to gain a significant share of the highly competitive and potentially over-saturated Islamic banking market. The number of banks entering the market is indicative of the segment’s growth which, according to the figures from the Islamic finance services industry will grow by 15 per cent per annum until 2010.

Noor will be a full-service bank with consumer, corporate and investment banking divisions. So far, 140 products have been approved by the shariah-board, which comprises three scholars from Egypt, Algeria and Syria. More products are planned.

Currently, the bank has 400 employees, but the aim is to increase this to 1200 next year. Emiratis make up 30 per cent of the total, said Al Qemzi and there are plans to increase this percentage by running leadership-training programmes for nationals.

Noor bank executives say they are “delivering the broadest spectrum of services with an emphasis on quality and personalised service”. The bank will offer “total relationship management and tailored solutions for modern consumers of all persuasion, Al Qemzi said, which will be “supported by cutting edge IT infrastructure”. The fact that Noor is a “new bank with no legacy systems is a major advantage,” he added.

Over the next five years Noor has “very ambitious and aggressive plans” to expand into Europe, Africa and Asia by setting up greenfield operations, or by acquisitions or partnerships. There are “serious discussions” with parties about this, he said, without giving details. Al Qemzi said the bank has no plans for an IPO currently. “Our effort will be on ensuring productivity and creating value,” he said, adding: “We want to focus on delivery, differentiation and added value.”

An investment arm of the Dubai government, the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), owns 25 per cent of Noor, with another 25 per cent owned by Dubai’s ruler. Five per cent is owned by the UAE federal government and the remaining 45 per cent is owned by 15 UAE royals and businessmen.

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