Emirates to raise $517 mln Islamic loan – paper

The Dubai government-owned airline has asked Dubai Islamic Bank, Ajman Bank and Al Hilal Bank to arrange the financing deal for a Boeing 777-300 and an Airbus A380 superjumbo, the paper said quoting unnamed banking sources.

Emirates was not immediately available for comment.

The rapidly expanding Gulf Arab carrier said in November that it was eyeing the more resilient Islamic finance market to fund aircraft deliveries, as international banks back out of plane deals because of the euro zone debt crisis.

Emirates placed a blockbuster order for 50 Boeing 777 jetliners at the Dubai Air Show last year and became one of the largest customer of the Airbus A30 superjumbos.

The facility will be a 12-year loan and the banks have started the preparation of loan transfers since January, the report said. ($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirhams)

(Reporting by Martina Fuchs, Writing by Praveen Menon; Editing by Dinesh Nair)

Islamic finance industry set for ‘a big leap’ in Oman

MUSCAT: Oman’s First Islamic Finance and Banking Conference opened yesterday with a call to stake holders to take effective steps in promoting Islamic finance in their countries.

Speaking as the chief guest, Darwish bin Ismail bin Ali Al Balushi, minister responsible for financial affairs, said, “with an annual growth of 20 per cent and total assets worth a trillion US dollars the Islamic finance industry is poised for a leap in the coming years and time is opportune to lend it a push.

He said that a study conducted in Oman revealed that 85 per cent of people favoured buying Islamic products and 70 per cent would opt for deposits in Islamic savings account whenever they are made available. This suggests the volume of interest shown by people in Oman in pursuing Islamic finance.”

The conference is organised by Al Iktissad Wal Amal Group (Lebanon) in association with the Central Bank of Oman.Delivering a key-note address, Dr Ahmed Mohamed Ali, president of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), said that the conference provides a good opportunity for business leaders and decision-makers from different countries to interact and offer effective solutions to some challenges facing the Islamic finance industry.

He pointed out that major international agencies — Standard & Poor’s, Fitch Ratings and Moody’s — have given IDB the highest ‘AAA’ credit rating. He said that the IDB had provided total finances of more than $800 billion towards short-term and long-term projects in member countries since its establishment in 1975.

Dr Ahmed said, “The Islamic Corporation for Insurance of Investments and Export Credits (ICIEC) was formed with the objective to enlarge the scope of trade transactions and investment flows among the member countries of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC);

Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) was established to complement IDB through the development and promotion of the private sector, as a vehicle for economic growth and development in member countries while the Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI).

IRTI was established to help the Bank in discharging its functions in the fields of research and training assigned to it by its Articles of Agreement.” Mohammed Jamil Berro, chief executive officer, Al Hilal Bank, focused on Islamic banking growth by international expansion.

He said, “Al Hilal Bank has 28 branches in the UAE and its revenue crossed Dh1.73 million.” The bank has around 50,000 customers. With 10 per cent Muslim GDP and only one per cent global Islamic assets penetration, the global Islamic finance presents significant growth opportunities.”

Abdel Kader Askalan, CEO, Oman Arab Bank, said, “A central authority on Islamic Finance has to be established under OIC (Organisation of Islamic Countries) to develop regulatory legislation. Islamic finance has achieved remarkable growth in the past few years in the GCC region with 450 institutions worldwide of which 40 per cent are based in the Arab region.”

“GCC alone takes two-third of the world assets worth $ 700 billion. Islamic finace should be ready to face requirements of globalisations.”


Al Hilal Bank using digital pen solution

Al Hilal Bank has deployed new digital pen technology, to help cut document processing costs, improve authentication and speed up workflow.

The Abu Dhabi-headquartered Islamic bank is using the pen technology to digitize documents and record data using handwriting, then back up digital copies of the documents online.

The system, which was provided by BSTechnologies,is being used by Al Hilal’s direct sales team, and staff in Credit Finance, Finance Operations, and Sales Coordination. The device includes a camera and a GPS that digitize written documents to Al Hilal’s systems.

Al Hilal personnel simply write on a specially-printed copy of a particular document with the digital pen, which automatically records the handwriting in its memory. The recorded ink is then downloaded and matched with the image of the original document.

It also creates a new, exact copy of the handwritten document in PDF format, just as if it had been scanned or photocopied. The digital copy can then be easily saved, sent, archived, copied, deleted or retrieved depending on the bank’s requirements.

“Our digital pen -based system reflects our commitment to using technology to increase services and convenience for our customers.

Al Hilal Bank intends to adopt more digital systems offered by industry leaders such as BSTechnologies in line with our efforts to tap modern tools for the convenience of our mutual customers. We shall continue to redefine and raise the standards of modern, Shariah-compliant banking,” said Mohamed Zaqout, Head of Personal Banking, Al Hilal Bank.

“We are thrilled to bring to Al Hilal Bank a cutting-edge technology that reduces client waiting time, improves the management of business workflow queues, and drives down the costs involved in forms processing.

The technology is so simple and natural so it can be instantly and effortlessly used by young and old alike. Knowing how to write with a pen on a paper is enough to be able to use this technology,” added Abdullah Al Kaabi, CEO, BSTechnologies.


Al Hilal Islamic Bank conducts media seminars in Kazakhstan

WAM Abu Dhabi, Feb 8th, 2011 (WAM) — Al Hilal Islamic Bank, the first commercial Islamic bank in Kazakhstan, recently conducted a series of seminars and business lectures for media representatives in the key cities of Almaty and Astana in a move to enhance public awareness on basic principles of Islamic finance.
Held under the theme �Fundamentals of Islamic Finance,’ the sessions also introduced relevant taxation guidelines under Kazakh law and encouraged reforms in domestic banking policies to expedite the growth of the country’s young Islamic finance sector.
A subsidiary of Al Hilal Bank, a progressive UAE-based Islamic bank fully owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, Al Hilal Islamic Bank JSC was established in March of 2010 shortly after a new law governing Islamic finance was introduced in Kazakhstan.

Currently serving the Almaty and Astana markets, the bank’s activities are based on Shari’ah principles although its products and services are available to all irrespective of religion and ethnicity. An agreement previously signed between the governments of Kazakhstan and UAE to cooperate on the development of the local Islamic finance sector ensures sustained growth for Al Hilal Islamic Bank.
“Kazakhstan has all the right elements in place in terms of legislation and infrastructure to keep pace with regional developments in Islamic banking. Al Hilal Islamic Bank’s goal is to exemplify the Islamic finance industry’s commitment to trust, honesty and an untarnished reputation that we will bring to our conventional banking offerings as well. We will also advocate key amendments to regulations governing Kazakhstan’s banking services and raise awareness on the potentials and importance of Islamic finance among regulators, government officials, mass media and the general public”, said Ahmed Ateeq Al Mazrouei, Chairman of Al Hilal Bank.