KUALA LUMPUR, (Bernama) — More awareness on Islamic banking should be done in an effort to attract more countries and corporates to establish Islamic banks, thus growing the industry size, said Al-Hilal Bank Chief Executive Officer, Prasad Abraham.
He said countries, especially non-Muslim countries, needed to know the benefits of Islamic banking so that they could adopt Shariah-compliant banking.
Prasad said Al-Hilal, a bank wholly-owned by the Abu Dhabi government, had managed to establish a presence in Kazakhstan as a result of increased awareness on Islamic banking in that region.
“Although we have to gradually persuade them to take the contract and explaining every details, we managed to get repeat businesses from our clients as they were very satisfied with the concept of the Islamic banking,” he said on the sidelines of the three-day Global Islamic Finance Forum, here Wednesday.
He said personal attitude and real interest in the industry were vital for a new country to tap into the industry.
He added that Kazahkstan was selected to be Al-Hilal’s first international expansion due to some political connection between the two countries.
“We have created an awareness by conducting a series of lectures to different sectors of societies including students, universities, lecturers, regulators and also the imam of the countries, he said.
Kazakhstan President, Nursultan Nazarbayev was reported as saying that he would like to see the country become an Islamic financial centre by 2020.
“In line with this, there is a special task force that is created, attempting to modify the law and make it more friendly.
“We have to get different departments organised, but that is progressing satisfactory,” Prasad added.
Almaty-based Al Hilal is now considering to increase its geographical presence as part of its 2015 business plan.
Launched in 2010, Al Hilal is on target to achieve asset growth of 70 per cent this year, with similar growth expected for 2015.
The bank posted a 46 per cent increase in assets in 2013, reaching 16.7 billion tenge (US$92 million), according to its financial statements.
Originally published on www.bernama.com.my