CIMB Singapore aims to approve S$100 mln Islamic loans for SMEs

KUALA LUMPUR: CIMB Bank, which started its Islamic commercial banking operations in Singapore last year, aims to approve S$100 million this year for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the republic.

“We are targeting about S$100 million for SME financing this year.

“At the moment, we already have about S$30 million on our balance sheet with a healthy pipeline for the full year.

“The take-up rate of Islamic financing for SMEs has been encouraging although it is very early days for the industry in Singapore,” said Badlisyah Abdul Ghani, CIMB Group’s head of group of the  Islamic banking division.

He said the bank’s Islamic commercial banking operation has been growing in Singapore although the Muslim community makes up less than half of the population.

“It is not about whether you are Muslim or non-Muslim. It’s all about value proposition.

“When customers see there is good value in our Islamic finance products, they’ll take up these products,” he told Bernama in an interview.

The bank plans to roll out its Islamic retail offerings soon as it has put in place a new core banking system that caters to its operations.

“We are looking at bringing to the market sometime in the third quarter, our pioneering Islamic retail deposit products as well as our award-winning Islamic structured products first before looking at any retail financing products,” Badlisyah said.

In Indonesia, CIMB has rolled out close to 60 Islamic financial products over the last two years, which included products that were re-launched.

“When we first started, we have only about 11 products in CIMB Niaga Syariah.

“We have now included Islamic trade finance, Islamic commercial banking, corporate banking offerings and many more.

“As for retail offerings, we undertook a segmentisation exercise so that we can target different consumer segments.

“Our ArRahnu business launched last year has had good traction and we now have about 100 outlets across Indonesia,” he said.

Badlisyah said this year, the bank’s Islamic banking business in Indonesia would focus on building up the portfolio as it has all the relevant products in place for all types of consumers.

He also said that CIMB Niaga Syariah, the Islamic finance window under PT Bank CIMB Niaga Tbk, had staged another record year for its financial year ended Dec 31, 2011.

“The bank posted 70 per cent growth both in deposit and financing assets on year-on-year basis and is looking to do better in 2012,” he said.

CIMB Niaga Syariah is now the fifth largest Islamic financial institution and the largest of all Islamic windows, in terms of assets in Indonesia. There are 34 Islamic players in the market comprising stand-alone Islamic banks and Islamic windows. — Bernama