Azerbaijan’s biggest bank to start providing Islamic products

Azerbaijan, Baku, November 28 / Trend, I. Khalilova /

A consortium of Salans, KPMG, Pinsent Masons, and Dar al Shariah plans to submit a primary report on the provision of Islamic banking products and services for consideration to the Board of the International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA) next week, Behnam Gurbanzadeh, head of the group responsible for Islamic banking launch in the IBA, told Trend on Monday.

"We will practically at the end of the project's first phase of the start-up of operation of a specialised structure and launch of Islamic products and services and want to submit our report to the IBA management. As a result of these studies, we already know what exact products can be offered without changing the existing legal provisions of the country," Mr Gurbanzadeh said.

Proceeding from this report, the IBA management, together with the Observation Council, will make a decision on establishing a specialised structure.

"We want to complete the work under the project first before the end of the year, then submit all documents to the bank's management and receive a positive reply before starting to build up this portfolio next year," Mr Gurbanzadeh reported.

He continued to say that owing to Islamic banking primary products and services, there will be an assortment of investments consisting largely of deposits drawn from public and corporate clients and international financial flows.

The IBA started providing Islamic banking services in 2003. It acted due to the loans borrowed from the Islamic Bank for Development (IBD) and has so far invested up to $10 million.

"Analysis of the history of IBA services in this direction confirms that the Azerbaijani economy needs Islamic financing and that even people, who remain far from Islam, enjoy such services. Thus, if we begin to operate in the first quarter of 2012 we will be able to borrow up to $10 million to $15 million before the end of next year," Mr urbanzadeh said.

According to preliminary data, the public may deposit up to $2 million-$3 million in the new structure before the end of next year.

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