Author: Laurence Neville

ISLAMIC FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS AWARDS 2010


Islamic financial institutions were not immune to the turmoil of the past two years, but their strict ethical code helped them prosper in many areas where others foundered.

By Laurence Neville

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The world of Islamic finance has not been immune from the travails of the international financial system. One of the biggest headlines of the past year was the near collapse of real estate firm Dubai World and its rescue by neighboring emirate Abu Dhabi. The event vividly demonstrated that Islamic finance was just as susceptible to excessive leverage, speculative real estate development and lack of financial transparency as conventional financial markets.


Nevertheless, by general consensus Islamic finance had a good financial crisis. The global market for Islamic financial services in 2009, as measured by shariah-compliant assets, is estimated to have been broadly flat on 2008's level of $951 billion, according to not-for-profit industry group International Financial Services London (IFSL). However, that compares to a conventional financial system that saw assets fall sharply.


Moreover, the global Islamic bond or sukuk market bounced back strongly in 2009. Issuance hit $20 billion last year—still some way off the $34 billion raised in 2007 but 30% higher than the $15 billion raised in 2008, according to IFSL figures. Duncan McKenzie, IFSL's director of economics, notes that the financing problems at Dubai World have created uncertainty and "brought concerns about settlement of sukuk defaults into focus."


However, McKenzie adds, "Quality issuers of sukuk are continuing to attract demand from both Islamic and non-traditional investors." The scores of Islamic and non-Islamic investors that flocked to Indonesia's pioneering $650 million sukuk ijarah (lease finance deal) in April 2009 are a testament to the perceived long-term viability of the market. Other aspects of Islamic investment banking have also enjoyed a boost recently. The launch on March 1, 2010, of the ISDA/IIFM (International Swaps and Derivatives Association/International Islamic Financial Market) tahawwut (hedging) master agreement is expected to significantly accelerate the growth and development of the Islamic derivatives market.


In the broader banking world, Islamic banking continues to expand its reach. Germany's first Islamic Bank, a unit of Kuwait Finance House's Turkish operation, is set to open shortly in Mannheim. Given the 4 million Muslims that live in Germany, there is clearly significant potential for the market. Similarly, France, which also has 4 million Muslims, will get its first shariah-compliant bank when a joint venture between France's Banque Populaire and Caisse d'Epargne Group and Qatar Islamic Bank begins operations before the end of the year.


The third annual Global Finance Best Islamic Financial Institutions Awards honor the leading institutions in the regions, countries and product areas in which Islamic banking has an established or growing presence. The awards are based on extensive consultations with bankers, analysts and industry experts but ultimately are the decision of Global Finance's editors. The criteria incorporate a range of factors, including growth in assets, profitability, geographic reach, strategic relationships, new business development, innovation in products and the banks' financial stability.

OVERALL AWARDS

Best Sukuk Bank

CIMB Islamic
CIMB Islamic is the undisputed leader in Islamic bonds, with a global market share of almost one-fifth, resulting from 32 bond issues it managed, double the total of second-place HSBC, according to information provider Dealogic. It is CIMB Islamic's deal count that holds the key to its success: Its depth of experience in sukuk is equaled by its breadth. While most banks in the business continue to focus primarily on their home markets, CIMB Islamic was a manager on issues such as Saudi Arabia's Islamic Development Bank as well as major transactions from Malaysian issuers such as Petronas and Cagamas. Badlisyah Abdul Ghani, executive director and CEO of CIMB Islamic, says that CIMB Islamic's success is based on anticipation of its clients' needs. "If our clients are happy with our products and services, that means we have done what is required of us," he says. "It is this culture that makes CIMB Islamic relevant in today's competitive market and has helped us excel in the markets we serve."

Badlisyah Abdul Ghani, executive director and CEO
www.cimbislamic.com

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Best Islamic Retail Bank
Jordan Islamic Retail Bank

Established in Amman in 1978, Jordan Islamic Bank (JIB) claims to be one of the world's largest Islamic retail banks. Its reputation in retail banking has grown consistently throughout its existence. The bank increased its profits in the 2009 financial year despite the turbulent environment. Indeed, the bank was able to bolster its capital base during the year and achieved the highest rate of return on average equity—16.5%—of banks operating in Jordan. It also grew customer deposits during the year to further strengthen its foundations. Much of JIB's strength comes from its ethical focus—it operates numerous projects to help citizens to reduce poverty—and its broader focus on garnering the trust and confidence of its customers, according to CEO and general manager Musa Shihadeh. To that end, JIB has long concentrated on maintaining strong liquidity, opening new branches and offering the latest innovative products and new technology to better serve its customers.

Musa Shihadeh, CEO and general manager
www.jordanislamicbank.com


Best Islamic Investment Bank
Standard Chartered Saadiq
Standard Chartered Bank, through its Islamic banking operation, Standard Chartered Saadiq, has continued to play a leading role in major Islamic markets, with numerous notable achievements in the past year. It executed the first successful syndicated financing for a quasi-sovereign Dubai entity since the beginning of the credit crisis, with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority. It was also joint bookrunner on the landmark Republic of Indonesia's $650 million issue and joint mandated lead arranger for the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) sukuk program—the first by a non-Muslim-majority country. Saadiq's CEO, Afaq Khan, says that Global Finance's award recognizes the bank's efforts to strengthen the development of the Islamic finance sector. "We have taken a proactive role in the development of the industry platform across markets, working together with regulatory and industry bodies," he says. "We offer a comprehensive suite of product solutions to our customers. In this regard, our longevity in our markets is a key asset for us as we understand the clients' needs and are able to assist them with their evolving requirements when dealing with the financial system."

Afaq Khan, CEO
www.standardchartered.com

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Best Takaful Provider
Takaful Ikhlas
A wholly owned subsidiary of Malaysia-listed MNRB Holdings, Takaful Ikhlas has grown rapidly in its eight years of operation: More than 2 million individuals and corporations have become its certificate holders under the takaful system, which stresses joint responsibility, while it has 7,892 agents selling its family and general takaful policies. For the financial year to the end of March 2009, Takaful Ikhlas's gross income showed tremendous growth and surpassed internal expectations. Moreover, profit before tax and zakat (charitable provisions) increased 34.7% from the preceding year.

Datuk Haji Syed Moheeb bin Syed Kamarulzaman, president and CEO
www.takaful-ikhlas.com.my


Best Asset Management Company

CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management
With $1.3 billion in assets under management as of June 30, 2009, Kuala Lumpur-headquartered CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management is a partnership between Principal Global Investors and CIMB Group. The company is an offshoot of CIMB-Principal Asset Management, which was founded in 1995 and has a strong track record of managing Islamic institutional mandates since 2000. CIMB-Principal Islamic's objective is to provide Islamic investment solutions, optimally customized to meet institutional global investors' needs and objectives. The firm also manages sub-advised collective investment trust funds. It aspires to be the most valued global Islamic asset management house managing institutional mandates and is able to leverage CIMB Islamic's franchise and excellent international track record in Islamic capital markets.

Datuk Noripah binti Hj Kamso, CEO
www.cimb-principal.com.my

Best Shariah-Compliant Index Provider
Dow Jones Islamic Market Indexes
The Dow Jones Islamic Market (DJIM) Index family includes thousands of broad-market, blue-chip, fixed-income and strategy and thematic indexes that have passed rules-based screens for shariah compliance. The indexes are the most visible and widely used set of shariah-compliant benchmarks in the world. To determine their eligibility for the indexes, stocks are screened to ensure that they meet the standards set out in the published methodology. Companies must meet shariah requirements for acceptable products, business activities, debt levels and interest income and expenses. The screening methodology is subject to input from an independent shariah supervisory board. By screening stocks for consistency with shariah law, the indexes help to reduce research costs and compliance concerns Muslim investors would otherwise face in constructing Islamic investment portfolios. There are currently more than 150 licensees with more than $7 billion in assets benchmarked to the Dow Jones Islamic Market Indexes.

Michael Petronella, president
www.djindexes.com

Best Islamic Project Finance Provider
Qatar Islamic Bank
Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) added to its customer base in a wide variety of sectors such as energy, maritime shipping and various investment activities in the past year. Much of this activity was associated with a new strategy to increase its strength in project financing. With Islamic project finance growing rapidly—research group MEED estimates its value could reach $30 billion by 2012, or 30% of all deals in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)—it is a core part of QIB's five-year strategic plan to 2012. The bank is committed to increasing its participation in large-scale construction, oil and gas, and civil projects in the Qatar economy, which is the fastest-expanding economy in the GCC. To further enhance its capabilities, in the past year QIB has signed a memorandum of understanding with French banking group Banque Populaire des Caisses d'Epargne to promote cooperation on, among other areas, project finance.

Salah Jaidah, CEO
www.qib.com.qa

Best Islamic Commodities Provider
DDCAP
DDCAP is a joint venture between property and financial services group Dawnay Day Group and ICAP Private Group. DDCAP is focused on the Islamic financial sector and has responsibility for its shareholders' strategic business initiatives in the Islamic marketplace, as well as representing Dawnay Day in the expansion and development of its Middle Eastern business in both the conventional and Islamic financial systems. DDCAP's wholly owned subsidiaries include DD&Co;, which provides commodity- and asset-based facilitation services to Islamic financial sector participants and acts as a counterparty for Islamic transactional requirements. DDCAP's recent innovations include a structured trade finance fund, which provides an alternative to traditional asset classes for investors and is focused on commodities. The shariah-compliant fund is open-ended and domiciled in the Cayman Islands and will support the activities of the traditional trade finance banks and other trade finance funds, as well as originating its own business.

Stella Cox, managing director
www.ipgl.co.uk/ddcap-ltd


Best Islamic Real Estate Finance Provider
Kuwait Finance House
The real estate sector has been at the heart of many problems in both conventional financial markets and their Islamic equivalents. Despite this, Islamic real estate finance and investment opportunities continue to look attractive in the long term, and the sector is expanding outside its traditional investment markets of the United Kingdom, the United States and the GCC to new markets such as China, Malaysia, Australia and Singapore. Kuwait Finance House (KFH) provides real estate financing to clients trading and investing in real estate in Kuwait and internationally. In addition, the bank develops properties and manages real estate portfolios. Unsurprisingly, KFH led the return of Islamic banks and investors to the US real estate market in August 2009. It signed a $450 million joint venture agreement with UDR, a US-based real estate investment company, to acquire various top-class, high-value residential portfolios in selected US metropolitan areas. The strategy mirrored that of KFH's activity in Shenzhen, China, where it has a $500 million real estate fund with a local partner.

Mohammed Sulaiman Al-Omar, CEO
www.kfh.com

Best Islamic Fund Manager
Falcom Asset Management
Falcom Asset Management is at the heart of the changing patterns of investment in the GCC as countries in the region seek to diversify their revenue sources and the main engine of growth shifts from the public to the private sector. Its global capability, investment discipline, research focus and excellent client service have delivered consistently strong investment performance: Falcom Saudi Equity Fund outperformed the benchmark in the second quarter of 2009, recording a return of 31.53% compared to the Tadawul All-Share Index's 18.98%, for example. As a result of its strong performance, Falcom Asset Management, which has eight investment centers in Saudi Arabia and recently started operations in Oman, has achieved a rapid growth in assets under management to more than $267 million. The asset manager also has a solid track record of innovation: Its online portal Falcomwatch.com is used by more than 500,000 visitors every month, it was the first provider to launch a sukuk fund in Saudi Arabia, and it offers the first online trading platform that enables investments in Islamic mutual funds.

Adeeb Al Sowailim, CEO
www.falcom.com.sa

Most Improved Islamic Finance Provider
Samba Financial Group
Since its creation in 1955 in Saudi Arabia, Samba Financial Group has become a leading financial institution in the region, offering the full spectrum of banking services, including corporate, investment, consumer and private banking, as well as brokerage and asset management. Samba has been increasing its presence throughout the region: International operations, which started with a branch in London, now include a presence in the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan. More recently, Samba, which began offering Islamic banking in 1997, has acquired a license to operate in Qatar. During 2009 Samba Islamic Banking continued its upward trajectory in all areas of its business activity, and its wider credentials were reinforced through innovative product launches and lead roles in major Islamic financing, including Saudi Electricity Company's $1.67 billion sukuk, the second-largest Islamic bond of 2009.

Eisa Al Eisa, chairman
www.samba.com

Islamic Finance Deal of the Year
Tourism Development and Investment Company, Abu Dhabi
The Tourism Development and Investment Company's (TDIC) $1 billion sukuk ijarah in October 2009 was the fifth-largest Islamic bond to come to market last year—and the largest at the time it was sold. The $1 billion issue from TDIC, which is owned by the Abu Dhabi government, generated a massive $6.7 billion of demand, allowing the deal to price at a similar level to a conventional bond—a rarity for sukuk, which often come at a premium. Standard Chartered, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and HSBC were lead managers and bookrunners for TDIC, with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, First Energy Bank, Islamic Development Bank and Qatar Islamic Bank as co-managers. Perhaps the most important achievement of the deal was to convince non-Islamic investors of the stability of GCC issuers following a series of defaults. Around 20% of the issue was sold to European investors and a further 20% to Asian accounts.

Lee Tabler, CEO
www.tdic.ae


REGIONAL AWARDS

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
Kuwait Finance House
Kuwait Finance House (KFH) puts its strength during the global financial crisis down to a prudent strategy and an unwillingness to be tempted by what it perceives as abnormal returns. In practical terms, KFH's response to the crisis has been to realign the components of its investment portfolio by maintaining its geographic diversification policy, monitoring the performance of its subsidiaries, increasing allocations to risk-limited and fixed-income investment instruments, increasing liquidity ratios, maximizing revenues, rationalizing expenditures and promoting KFH's financial, economic and social roles. The approach worked: In 2009 total assets increased 7% on 2008 while clients' account balances rose 10% from a year earlier.

Mohammed Sulaiman Al-Omar, CEO
www.kfh.com


Non-GCC Middle East/Africa
Absa Islamic Banking
Absa launched a full Islamic banking service for South Africa's Muslim community only in March 2006, but by drawing on its broader infrastructure—and that of parent Barclays—it has been able to create a broad portfolio of offerings in a short time. "Absa Islamic Banking has achieved success in its market within a few years from launch due to a range of positive factors," says Amman Muhammad, managing director. "These include the strength of the Barclays and Absa brands, the convenience of the largest branch and ATM footprint in South Africa, in addition to Internet and cell phone access, an exceptional shariah supervisory board of local and international scholars and a passionate, committed team. We are now using the lessons learned locally to support the expansion of our product offering into other African countries."

Maria Ramos, group CEO Amman Muhammad, managing director
www.absa.co.za

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Asia
CIMB Islamic
CIMB Islamic is the heavyweight of global Islamic banking and dominates Asia. Income from Islamic banking operations almost doubled from 2008 to 2009. Moreover, the bank enjoyed a significant increase in assets, which grew at a compound annual growth rate of 274% between the 2005 financial year and the third quarter of the 2009 financial year. Indeed, the recent strength of CIMB Islamic has led Malaysian Rating Corp Berhad (MARC) to flag a potential upgrade. The rating agency said that CIMB Islamic benefits from cost efficiencies derived from the high level of operational integration between CIMB Islamic and other CIMB entities.

Badlisyah Abdul Ghani, executive director and CEO
www.cimbislamic.com


Europe
European Islamic Investment Bank
Like many of its peers, European Islamic Investment Bank had a tough 2009, with increased provisioning levels, exposure to the real estate sector and low real returns on money market activities. EIIB recognized early in the crisis how challenging the situation was and took action. As a result, the bank remained highly liquid, with a net cash excess (calculated as a percentage of deposits) of 361% compared to the Financial Services Authority minimum of negative 5%. While the overall loss of £22.2 million for 2009 is disappointing, EIIB's Islamic capital markets unit experienced a significant recovery while its nascent private equity business is capitalizing on a surge of potential investment opportunities.

Subhi Benkhadra, CEO
www.eiib.co.uk

COUNTRY AWARDS

Algeria
Al Salam Bank–Algeria
Saudi Arabia's Al Salam Bank finally launched in Algeria in October 2008 with $100 million of capital from the Al-Salam Group and numerous other investors, including Emaar Properties and Amlak Finance. Al Salam Bank is already one of the largest banks operating in North Africa, and its Algerian operation seeks to be one of the most important banks operating in the Algerian market through the provision of innovative banking services.

Hussain Hamed Hassan, chairman
www.alsalamalgeria.com

Bahrain
Bahrain Islamic Bank
Bahrain Islamic Bank (BisB) was able to post a satisfactory performance for 2009 following a year of unparalleled turbulence, which included the default of two major corporates in Saudi Arabia and the debt moratorium in Dubai. Despite the difficult environment, BisB achieved a strong underlying financial performance, with its financial position increased by 4.3%. The bank also introduced new products, expanded its ATM network and participated in a $2.1 billion private equity investment for a major new power and water project in Bahrain.

Mohammed Ebrahim Mohammed, CEO
www.bisb.com

Bangladesh
Islami Bank Bangladesh
Islami Bank Bangladesh (IBBL) was established in 1983 and now offers a full range of savings and financing products. In December 2009 the bank opened the first of a planned 100 ATMs. The bank performed strongly during the financial crisis, and in the year ended December 2009 total assets were 21% higher than a year earlier. Profit after tax and provisions grew a remarkable 27% on 2008, helping to reinforce local rating agency Crisl's positive view of IBBL's fundamentals.

M. Fariduddin Ahmad, managing director
www.islamibankbd.com


Brunei
Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam
Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) has 14 branches located strategically in all four districts of Brunei as well as the largest ATM network in the country. BIBD operates two subsidiaries—Takaful BIBD, which provides insurance, and BIBD At-Tamwil Berhad, which provides hire purchase financing for vehicles and consumer products.

Yang Berhormat Pehin Dato Haji Mohammad, chairman
www.bibd.com.bn


Egypt

Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt
With three Islamic banks now operating in Egypt—National Bank for Development recently joined Faisal Islamic Bank and the Egyptian Saudi Finance Bank—competition has increased. However, Faisal Islamic Bank, which opened in 1979 as the first Egyptian Islamic bank, is the market leader. In 2009 net profit increased an impressive 45% thanks to a conservative strategy that saw it sidestep much of the financial turmoil of the past year.

Prince Mohammed Al-Faisal Al-Saud, chairman
www.faisalbank.com.eg


Indonesia
Bank Muamalat Indonesia
Bank Muamalat Indonesia has around 270 offices and branches in Indonesia and is one of three Islamic banks in the country. It has roughly a third of the total assets of the shariah-compliant market, which constitutes a tiny part of overall banking assets in the country. Nevertheless, with 222 million Muslims living in Indonesia, the potential market is vast.

Riawan Amin, president director
www.muamalatbank.com

Jordan
Jordan Islamic Bank
Jordan Islamic Bank's solidity has been the source of its strength in the past year, with a capital adequacy ratio at the end of 2009 of 14.47% according to the Jordanian Central Bank measure and around 33% according to IFSB standards. The bank's resilience has positioned it well to maintain its leadership in Jordan—demonstrated by a growth in assets of 18.1%, financing of 13.1% and deposits of 21.3% in 2009—and its ambitions for the coming year reflect this. Musa Shihadeh, CEO and general manager, says JIB will continue to focus on "increasing its market share and profit and supporting the national economy and developing society."

Musa Shihadeh, CEO and general manager
www.jordanislamicbank.com


Kazakhstan
Al Hilal Islamic Bank
As the first Islamic bank in Kazakhstan, Al Hilal Islamic Bank, which is owned by Abu Dhabi's state-controlled investment council, is the default winner. However, that does not diminish Al Hilal Islamic Bank's achievement: Kazakhstan has a population of 16 million, the vast majority of which are Muslim, and enormous mineral wealth. The opportunities for Islamic finance are potentially substantial.

Mohamed Jamil Berro, CEO
www.alhilalbank.ae


Kuwait
Kuwait Finance House
While Kuwait Finance House (KFH) has dramatically expanded its international operations in recent years and now has 186 branches around the world, Kuwait remains the core of the business. Throughout 2009 KFH continued to dominate financing and deposits in the country. Despite this, the bank strives to find new ways to meet the needs and requirements of clients. It deliberately targets all segments of Kuwaiti society by expanding its branch network, for example: The number of local branches rose to 50 in 2009 while the number of ladies' sections rose to 36.

Mohammed Sulaiman Al-Omar, CEO
www.kfh.com


Lebanon
Arab Finance House
Founded in 2003 by Qatar Islamic Bank, Arab Finance House (AFH)—which includes retail banking, corporate and SME banking and private and investment banking—is the largest Islamic bank in Lebanon. Qatar Islamic Bank no longer breaks out figures for AFH in its results but has said that the Lebanon operation played a role in Qatar Islamic Bank's strong performance in 2009.

Mohamad Abdul Latif Al Manaa, chairman and general manager
www.afh.com.lb


Malaysia
CIMB Islamic
A global and regional powerhouse in Islamic banking, CIMB Islamic dominates its domestic market of Malaysia, offering investment banking, asset management and consumer banking. With more than 100 Islamic investment bankers and specialists, CIMB has the expertise and experience to provide insights into all aspects of Islamic financing. In December 2009 CIMB Islamic became the first institution to list a local currency sukuk on the Bursa Malaysia stock exchange, demonstrating the bank's commitment to developing Malaysia as an international Islamic financial center as well as CIMB Islamic's position as a global leader in Islamic finance.

Badlisyah Abdul Ghani, executive director and CEO
www.cimbislamic.com

Pakistan
Meezan Bank
Meezan Bank became Pakistan's first Islamic bank in 2002 and is now the largest in Pakistan, with a network of 201 branches in 54 cities offering a complete range of Islamic products and services, including car leasing and home mortgages. The bank's retail banking network is supported by 150 ATMs, Internet banking and a 24-hour call center, and the bank recently launched its Visa debit card. Since its conversion to Islamic banking, Meezan Bank's growth has been phenomenal, and 2009 did not disappoint: It recorded an increase in profit before tax of 75%, setting a new record.

Irfan Siddiqui, president and CEO
www.meezanbank.com

Qatar
Qatar Islamic Bank
For the financial year 2009, Qatar Islamic Bank's (QIB) financing income rose 37.5% on the previous year while its domestic financing portfolio grew 33%. While part of the bank's success is attributable to its expansion into new sectors and markets, QIB has significantly increased its internal efficiency by clarifying job functions and improving performance appraisal management systems. Similarly, the bank's use of information technology has improved, with an upgraded data network to ensure high security in linking branches and offering electronic banking services.

Salah Jaidah, CEO
www.qib.com.qa


Saudi Arabia
Falcom
Falcom's guiding motto is to be conservative yet innovative, and this approach has helped it grow consistently. The investment bank operates in corporate finance, brokerage and asset management and has a full-fledged treasury operation and the biggest buy- and sell-side research teams in Saudi Arabia. Among Falcom's recent achievements are its launch of the first sukuk funds in Saudi Arabia and the building of a market share of more than 50% of the new players' market for online brokerage.

Adeeb Al Sowailim, CEO
www.falcom.com.sa

Singapore
Islamic Bank of Asia
Backed by DBS Bank—one of the largest financial services groups in Asia—and prominent investors from the GCC, Islamic Bank of Asia (IB Asia) combines DBS's strong banking capabilities in Asia and its GCC investors' knowledge of Islamic finance and Middle Eastern contacts to deliver shariah-compliant wholesale banking services, wealth management and capital market instruments. Among IB Asia's achievements in 2009 were a lead arranger role for the Monetary Authority of Singapore's first sukuk and the launch of its first shariah-compliant liquidity product.

Vince Cook, CEO
www.islamicbankasia.com


South Africa
Absa Islamic Banking
South Africa is relatively well served by Islamic banking, with Albaraka Bank, part of the Bahrain banking group, operating since 1999 and First National Bank beginning Islamic finance activities in 2004. Despite being the most recent market entrant to Islamic banking, Absa Islamic Banking has rapidly become a leading player thanks to its scale and wide range of product offerings. Consumer products include credit cards, savings accounts and vehicle and home loans as well as takaful car, household and business cover. Absa also offers services such as savings and checking accounts and commercial property finance to businesses.

Maria Ramos, group CEO
www.absa.co.za

Sudan
Al Salam Bank
The Sudanese subsidiary of Al Salam Bank of Bahrain launched in 2005 and has grown rapidly in one of the few countries where the entire banking system is Islamic. Al Salam Bank enjoyed strong growth in 2009 despite the difficult international environment and high inflation domestically. In 2009 total assets grew 8% and deposits grew 12%, giving the bank a healthy 34% net cash excess. Encouragingly, bank funding increased by 6%, with financing directed toward sectors such as telecommunications, oil and real estate.

Hussein Mohamed Salim Almeeza, vice chairman and managing director
www.alsalambank.net

Turkey
Türkiye Finans Katilim Bankasi
Türkiye Finans Katilim Bankasi (TFKB), which since 2008 has been 65% owned by Saudi Arabia's largest bank, National Commercial Bank, has more than 500,000 individual customers and 20,000 corporate customers across the country, which it serves from 181 branches. In response to the financial crisis, TFKB tightened up its collateral and security structures. This cautious approach was not at the expense of growth: Total assets in the year ended December 2009 were 24% higher than 2008.

Yunus Nacar, CEO
www.turkiyefinans.com.tr


United Arab Emirates

Dubai Islamic Bank
Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), which has just celebrated 35 years of operations, is the world's oldest full-fledged Islamic bank and continues to pioneer new markets and products. DIB was a manager for the largest Islamic bond issued in 2009—the government of Dubai's $1.93 billion sukuk—and was also sole bookrunner for Saudi Binladin Group's well-received multi-purpose financing loan in February 2009. "At a time when the global economy is entering a period of recovery, we will maintain our focus on meeting the needs of our more than 900,000 customers across the UAE," says Abdulla Al Hamli, CEO.

Abdulla Al Hamli, CEO

www.dib.ae

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United Kingdom
Bank of London and the Middle East
Bank of London and the Middle East (BLME) is the largest Islamic bank in Europe, with activities in private banking, asset management and corporate banking. BLME's profit was hit by credit impairment charges and provisions in 2009. However, BLME continued to show healthy growth in its customer businesses and, in keeping with its stated strategy, established wealth management and corporate advisory activities.

Humphrey Percy, CEO
www.blme.com

United States
Devon Bank
Privately owned Devon Bank is an independent community bank that was established in 1945 and has 16 locations, including four full-service offices and 12 senior residence facilities. The bank prides itself on its multicultural approach, with 16 languages spoken. It offers a wide range of commercial and personal banking products, including commercial, automobile, real estate and mortgage loans as well as trust and international services. It is in this context that Chicago-based Devon Bank began to offer Islamic banking to both retail and commercial customers in 2003. Now Islamic retail mortgage lending dominates Devon Bank's mortgage book, and the bank offers Islamic banking in 38 states and plans to expand to all 50.

Richard Loundy, chairman
www.devonbank.com