Author: Anita Hawser

By Anita Hawser

Gulf Cooperation Council

Al Rajhi Bank

Considered to be the Saudi Arabian kingdom’s biggest Islamic lender, Al Rajhi Bank matched that credential with one of the best performances among Saudi banks in terms of net profitability. In 2011 net profit increased 9% to 7.4 billion riyals ($2 billion) on the back of growth in banking, investments and financing. Customer accounts also increased by more than 20% on 2010 levels to 173 billion riyals in 2011, solidifying the bank’s market share. Ratings agency Capital Intelligence also assigned the bank an AA- rating. Al Rajhi is headquartered in Riyadh and boasts the kingdom’s largest branch and ATM network

Sulaiman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Rajhi, chairman / www.alrajhibank.com.sa


Non-GCC Middle East/Africa

Al Baraka Bank

With operations in Libya, Tunisia, the Sudan, Algeria, Lebanon and Egypt, the international banking group has an expansive footprint across the Middle East/North African region. In some of these markets it has pioneered the development of Islamic financial services, and despite a difficult operating environment in these markets in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings, Al Baraka Egypt saw its net operating income increase by more than 50%. In the Egyptian market the bank has a five-year plan to expand its presence with the opening of more branches. Its operations in this part of the world are able to draw upon the financial strength of the Al Baraka Banking Group.

Adnan Ahmed Yousif, president & CEO, Al Baraka Banking Group / www.albaraka.com


Asia

Maybank Islamic Berhad

Maybank is the region’s largest Islamic banking provider and the largest Islamic bank in Malaysia, which is the major hub for Islamic finance in the region. As at September 2011 its assets stood at $19.7 billion. Its investment bank was involved in a number of landmark Islamic finance transactions, including the pioneering Wakala Global Sukuk, which saw Maybank act as joint Malaysian adviser, joint lead manager and bookrunner. The bank is also looking to grow its Islamic banking business outside its core market of Malaysia. In Indonesia, where Islamic finance has been slower to take off, it will convert PT Bank Maybank Indocorp into an Islamic bank called PT Bank Maybank Syariah Indonesia. It is also developing its Islamic banking business in Pakistan.

Muzaffar Hisham, CEO / maybankislamic.com.my

Europe

Bank of London and the Middle East

BLME is reportedly the largest Islamic bank in Europe, with consolidated assets of £807 million ($1.3 billion) as of the end of 2011. Despite having to contend with a considerable credit exposure that led to a net operating loss after tax in 2011, the bank reported that a number of business lines continued to perform strongly, including its leasing and property finance, as well as capital markets and wealth management. The 10% growth in net operating profit before the impairment change took place against a difficult operating environment globally and in the eurozone. The bank continues to forge strong links with investors and partners in the GCC countries. This year it plans to focus resources on growing customer financing, as well as building on progress made in capital markets and wealth management.

Humphrey Percy, CEO / www.blme.com


alt Best Islamic Financial Firms 2012