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Friday, 14 March 2014

Malaysia: Islamic banking growing at fast pace

KUALA LUMPUR: The Islamic banking industry in Malaysia is expected to achieve a market share of more than 25% of total banking assets in 2014, before it reaches 40% of the entire banking sector by 2020, Standard Chartered Saadiq Bhd (StanChart Saadiq) CEO Wasim Saifi said, adding that market demand and support from the government will drive the industry forward.

"As the (Islamic banking) industry grows further, you will see more and more people beginning to use Islamic banking services, while the government-linked companies and large corporations will also see the value of Islamic finance," Wasim told a press conference after launching the Saadiq-branded window at Standard Chartered Bank's main branch here yesterday.
Market demand could come from the corporate sector, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as well as the retail customers, he said, while the industry will see growth across all market segments, including sukuk, personal finance, mortgages and corporate finance.
"Retail customers will be very important to the growth, but as the industry grows bigger and the product range wider, the corporate and SMEs will start using the Islamic banking service," said Wasim.
As for StanChart Saadiq, the Islamic banking subsidiary of Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Bhd, it is tackling both retail customers as well as corporate clients, he said.
"For us, the bigger contribution still comes from retail customers, but the contribution of corporate clients is expected to grow substantially," he added.
Wasim said the Islamic banking industry in Malaysia is expected to grow by 18% annually from 2018. Thus far it has grown twice as fast as its conventional counterpart with a compounded annual revenue growth of 22%.
StanChart Saadiq has recorded a growth rate of 10% to 20% over the last two to three years, said Wasim, who is also the global head of Islamic consumer banking for Standard Chartered Group.
To date, the international banking group has set up Islamic banking units in seven countries, namely Kenya, the UAE, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Indonesia, Pakistan and Malaysia. The local business now contributes some 25% of the total Islamic banking assets under the group, Wasim said, adding that the banking group is exploring new market opportunities in the African region.
Currently, syariah-compliant solutions are offered at 10 StanChart Saadiq branches. Islamic banking windows have been introduced at eight StanChart branches in the Klang Valley and other parts of the country with plans to cover all 33 conventional branches over the next two years.
"This latest move to leverage our existing infrastructure is aimed at increasing our Islamic banking penetration especially in high traffic areas where the conventional branches are located. It complements our Saadiq branches very well as our main delivery channel," said Wasim.
Meanwhile, Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia country head of consumer banking Sonia Wedrychowicz-Horbatowska said the introduction of Islamic banking windows fits with the bank's overall consumer banking strategy in its aspiration to be the main bank for customers by enhancing their banking experiences.
"As it is, various innovations that we introduced in conventional banking have also been replicated in our syariah-compliant offerings," she said.
(The Sun Daily / 12 March 2014)
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