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Saturday, May 18, 2024

2 foreign firms eye Islamic bank operations in PH

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THE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said Wednesday it is seeing a growing interest in Islamic banking, with at least two institutions planning to set up operations in the country.

BSP assistant governor Arifa Ala said in a news briefing they are in talks with Maybank Philippines Inc., which is interested in opening a dedicated Islamic banking window.

“They have not submitted an application as of today, but we’ve heard information that they may submit it within this month. We’ve been discussing it with them,” she said.

Ala said another foreign bank is looking to set up Islamic banking operations in the country.

“Islamic banking and finance is for all Filipinos, whether Muslims or non-Muslims,” Ala said.

Two Islamic banks are already operating in the county including CARD Bank Inc. and Amanah Islamic Bank.

Amanah Islamic Bank, a universal bank that became a subsidiary of Development Bank of the Philippines in 2008, is the first Islamic bank in the country established under Presidential Decree 264. It is “authorized to perform and provide Islamic banking, financing and investment services pursuant to R.A. 6848, otherwise known as the Charter of the Al-Amanah Islamic Bank of the Philippines of 1990.”

CARD Bank is a microfinance-oriented rural bank established on Sept. 1, 1997 in San Pablo City, Laguna, with 54 branches and 329 micro-banking offices (MBO) nationwide and serving more than 900,000 clients across the country.

Ala said 29 percent of cities and municipalities in the Philippines remained unbanked, with BARMM as the most unbanked region, followed by Eastern Visayas.

The BSP is aggressively promoting Islamic banking to bring more people into the system.

“What we want to do is to create an inclusive banking system to complement the banking system that we already have,” BSP Governor Eli Remolona Jr. said.

Remolona said the BSP is targeting to have 70 percent of the population included in the financial system.

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