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Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Malaysia: OCBC Expects Islamic Banking Assets To Grow By 20 Pct With Launch Of New Islamic Unit

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 (Bernama) -- OCBC Bank (Malaysia)Bhd expects to grow its Islamic outstanding financing by 20 percent in 2008, with the launch of its new Islamic banking unit that will commence operations on Dec 1.

Known as OCBC Al-Amin, the unit is licensed to offer a full range of shariah-compliant universal banking services including hire-purchase and shariah-compliant finance activities.

The bank's Islamic assets grew by 16 percent to RM3.7 billion and outstanding financing by 12 percent to RM1.9 billion as of Dec 31, 2007.

Overall, the Islamic operations contributed about 13 percent to the total bank's revenue.

"We expect to see a growth rate of 20 percent in terms of financing. This is mainly from the product stream such as equipment financing which is a key driver for the economy right now and we look forward to improving it further next year," the head of business development and marketing, Islamic banking division of OCBC Bank (Malaysia), Yasmin Junus told a media briefing here today.

The bank on Tuesday launched the logo of its Islamic subsidiary, OCBC Al-Amin. The word Al-Amin means "trustworthy" in Arabic.

The first branch will commence operations by next month at Jaya One in Petaling Jaya.Four more will be opened by next year. Three of the five branches would be located in the Klang Valley.

All Islamic banking products and services offered via OCBC Al-Amin would also continue to be available as well at OCBC Bank's 29 conventional branches nationwide. Meanwhile, OCBC Bank's director and chief executive officer, Jeffrey Chew Sun Teong said that the bank also planned to expand its Islamic operations in Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia, believed to be the fastest growing Asian Islamic finance markets.

Chew said the bank would use Malaysia as a hub to capture the demand for shariah-based products in the three countries.

He said that demand in Singapore and Brunei would be driven by the Islamic treasury products while Indonesia's big Muslim population offered a wider consumer market.

OCBC Bank (Malaysia) is a unit of Singapore's third largest lender. It has over 30 Islamic banking products including financing programmes that range from its popular consumer-focused Cash Financing-i to complex Islamic investment banking offerings.
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