Category Archives: Islamic Banks

Islamic banks weather global financial turmoil: Country Head, Al Baraka Islamic Bank Pakistan

Islamic banks weather global financial turmoil: Country Head, Al Baraka Islamic Bank Pakistan

boat in lake

Islamic banks have withstood the recent turmoil in the global banking industry triggered by the subprime mortgage crisis because their rules do not allow dealings in products like derivatives, options or papers that caused the meltdown.

While financial institutions in the developed world lined up for huge state assistance, the few Islamic banking institutions in these countries like the European Islamic Bank in the United Kingdom emerged unscathed from the crisis.

“The recent financial crisis exposed the flaws in the western banking system and proved that Islamic banks are safe which do not offer any risky product in line with the injunctions of Islam,” said Al-baraka Islamic Bank Country Head Shafqat Ahmad. He said the French president had appreciated the modes of financing offered by Islamic banks and expressed willingness to allow the setting up of these banks in France.

Shafqat said Shariah experts ensured that Islamic banks operated strictly according to the Islamic financial laws. “These banks do give profit to their depositors but it is based on the true principle of profit and loss. This is the reason that profits on savings in Islamic banks are not pre-determined.” However, “Islamic banks generally distribute more profit to their depositors than conventional banks.”

An Islamic Shariah expert said majority of the credit provided by Islamic banks was under the Morahaba mode (sale-purchase agreement). Explaining, he said “an Islamic bank purchases an item, for instance cotton, on behalf of the client (in fact the client selects the quality and quantity of cotton and the bank makes the payment) and the client agrees to the date when the amount will be returned. The Islamic bank charges certain profit on the purchased cotton that the client has to pay along with the principal amount.”

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Unicorn Investment Bank CEO declared “Banker of the Year”

Unicorn Investment Bank CEO declared “Banker of the Year”


Majid Al Sayed Bader Al Refai, the Founder, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Unicorn Investment Bank, has been named ‘Banker of the Year’ as part of the Banker Middle East Industry Awards for 2009. The awards are based on peer recommendations and are designed to recognise and reward excellence throughout the global Islamic finance community.

Al Refai is considered to be one of the pioneers of Islamic finance and has been an active proponent of the industry for over 20 years.

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Dubai Bank launches new service for women

Dubai Bank launches new service for women


Dubai Bank, a leading bank offering a comprehensive range of Shariah-compliant products and services, has announced the launch of  “Amirah,” a new service for its female customers.

“Amirah” (princess in Arabic) provides enhanced, targeted and more personalised services to the women that bank with Dubai Bank, said a top official.

As part of the new service, the bank has created exclusive areas within some of its branches, enabling women to carry out their banking transactions with greater comfort and privacy, explained Mohammad Amiri, head of Retail Banking group at Dubai Bank.

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Islamic Bank of Britain launches premier banking services in London

Islamic Bank of Britain launches premier banking services in London


Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) has announced the launch of its premier banking service and the opening of its premier banking office in Berkeley Square, London aimed at catering to customers from the Middle East.

The service has been designed to provide a high quality, personal banking service coupled with competitive long term savings options and Sharia’a compliant property finance to customers.

Driven by low property prices and the current favourable US Dollar/Sterling exchange rate, the UK is attracting a large number of customers coming from the Middle East and GCC countries looking to purchase a property, said Sultan Choudhury, commercial director at IBB.

The bank’s premier banking service has been set up to respond to this demand, he pointed out.

IBB, Sultan said, was increasingly becoming a more attractive option for overseas investors, particularly in the GCC and Middle East countries, as it is a more stable alternative to conventional banks.

"The bank provides its premier customers a personal service along with Halal products, including the competitive Home Purchase Plan which is the Sharia’a compliant finance option for property purchases in the UK," he explained.

The customer must have a minimum annual net income of £100,000 ($159,782) to apply for IBB premier banking service available to customers in the UK and overseas, Sultan said.

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Al Baraka rebranding: New Unified Corporate Identity launched

Al Baraka rebranding: New Unified Corporate Identity launched


Albaraka Banking Group expects to take advantage of the new trends emerging from the global financial crisis as the recovery slowly starts to set in. Speaking at the launch of the group’s new corporate identity and logo, president and chief executive of the group Adnan Ahmed Yousif said, "We are in the unique position that all of our group banks performed well under difficult conditions and therefore this is the most opportune moment for us to launch a new identity for our group."

The launch of the new logo and identity took place at Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa yesterday.

"The importance of the new Unified Corporate Identity for Albaraka stems from the fact that this is not an ordinary project for us," said group chairman Shaikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel.

"It represents the far sighted vision of the board of directors and the management of the group and its constituent subsidiaries, which have over the years helped transform the group into a leading international Islamic group with products and services second to none.

From Al Baraka website:

Beyond Banking: Our Philosophy is our Mission

The concept of Al Baraka Banking Group’s Unified Corporate Identity is the result of revisiting the values that lay behind our original Vision statement – and not just the horizon end-result as one sees it – an exercise that was to convince ourselves that those values ought to be represented as an integral part of our Vision.

The outcome therefore is that our Vision has now been restated as a corporate ethos:

‘We believe society needs a fair and equitable financial system: one which rewards effort and contributes to the development of the community’

Flowing from this restatement of our values and as a natural consequence of it, our Mission is restated thus:

‘To meet the financial needs of communities across the world by conducting business ethically in accordance with our beliefs, practicing the highest professional standards and sharing the mutual benefits with the customers, staff and shareholders who participate in our business success’

This does not mean that our original Vision, of becoming the leading worldwide Islamic banking group offering the full range of banking products in accordance with the Shari’a, no longer applies. It means that in prioritizing our values and raising them above the mere attainment of corporate size and product range and delivery, we believe that we will expand naturally and as a matter of course, as we build the kind of relationships with our customers which are based on true partnership with them.