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Sunday, 16 September 2007

Hong Leong Islamic sees double-digit growth

KUALA LUMPUR: Hong Leong Islamic Bank Bhd (HL Islamic) is targeting double-digit growth on its Islamic banking business this year as it strives to become more competitve with a comprehensive Islamic banking product portfolio, its managing director Khalid Bhaimia said. He said the bank’s Islamic banking business was growing between 18% and 20% annually. Currently, it has total Islamic assets of RM7 billion against RM6.43 billion in June last year while its capital adequacy ratio was at a healthy 14% compared with the minimum requirement of 8% by Bank Negara Malaysia. Commenting on its comprehensive Islamic banking product portfolio, Bhaimia said: “We (the Hong Leong Group) offer conventional and Islamic takaful products, and have the distribution capabilities with our network of 186 branches.” Bhaimia, who was appointed to head HL Islamic Bank in June, said the potential was bright for Malaysia-based Islamic banks to reach global markets.
“Malaysia is definitely ready (for the international market). Khazanah Nasional Bhd went abroad to do transactions although it didn’t really need to,” he said, adding that this development was certain to happen with the strong government push for Islamic finance. Speaking at a media roundtable discussion yesterday, he said it would be unlikely to see the consolidation among Islamic financial institutions in Malaysia in the near future. Bhaimia said: “It (the consolidation) will happen when the market drives it. Today, it cannot happen because most Islamic banks are subsidiaries of conventional banks. The three foreign banks just came in, so there will be no consolidation yet.” - (TE, 14 Sep 07)
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