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Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Malaysia: Maybank To Strengthen Islamic Banking Domestically

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 (Bernama) -- Maybank Bhd will focus on strengthening its Islamic banking domestically first before looking abroad, said its president and chief executive officer, Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar Monday.

"It (however) depends on how we progress," he told reporters after launching Maybank Islamic's first gold and platinum series Islamic credit cards - Ikhwan -- here Monday.

He was asked whether Maybank could expand its Islamic banking operation through its 20 percent stake in Pakistan's MCB Bank Ltd and 96.83 percent in Indonesia's PT Bank Maybank Indocorp.

"To have Islamic banking operation there, you are required to have separate banking license in Pakistan and Indonesia. They are both conventional banks," he added.

Maybank said it would continue to maintain its leadership in Islamic banking domestically as today it commands a 27 percent market share in asset, 23 percent in financing and 18.2 percent in deposits as at June 2008.

"We hope we will be able to maintain while at the same time working together with other players to increase total size of the Islamic banking assets. That would be good for us," he said.

Islamic banking total assets currently stand at about RM100 billion.

To date Maybank Islamic, the Islamic banking subsidiary of Maybank has introduced 15 new products since commencing operations as a full-fledged Islamic bank in January.

Abdul Wahid said Maybank Islamic planned to introduce 13 innovative products in the current financial year ending June 30, 2009, by leveraging on wide reach of the conventional distribution networks.

On the new gold and platinum series Islamic credit cards, Abdul Wahid said the bank was targeting to issue 100,000 cards in the first year.

"It will boost our credit card base which currently stands at 5.6 million debit cards and over 1.6 million credit cards," he said.

The cards will carry either the international cards franchise of American Express or VISA International.

The Ikhwan Card series is offered in Platinum or Gold, each with its distinctive feature of exclusivity and class but sharing a common Islamic character.

The cards operate based on the Syariah principle of Bay Al Inah that governs the fixed credit facility and repayment period.

Its unique proposition is that there is no compounding interest and [it sets] a maximum ceiling amount that can be charged to a customer for late repayments.

To underscore the Islamic elements of Ikhwan, the card incorporates five values, that is, Savings (Al-Tawfir), Sharing (Musharakah), Protection (Takaful), Charity (Sadaqah) and Travelling (Ziarah).

Ikhwan will also enjoy the many privileges available to the cardholders such as payment convenience via Maybank2u.com to over 500 corporations, instant redemption of TreatsPoints, Travel Treats and partnership with Malaysia Airlines Enrich Frequent Flyer Program, among others.

For the first year, there is no annual fee and for subsequent years, the cardholder is only required to perform only 12 transactions per year on the card to have the annual fee waived.

The income application requirement for an Ikhwan Gold is RM30,000 per year while for the Ikhwan Platinum, it is RM120,000 per year.

-- BERNAMA

Related link on Islamic finance: www.globalpro.com.my

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