Islamic Finance

Islamic finance wrap: AEON Bank receives nod to launch digital banking ops 

Here's a roundup of key developments across the Islamic finance ecosystem during the month of January

Editor's note: Digital has been the buzzword for some time now and the momentum refuses to dissipate, giving lenders across the world valid reason to cash in.

UAE's Emirates Islamic launched a Shariah-compliant trading platform via its app, AEON Bank became the first Malaysian Islamic digital lender to launch digital banking ops, while the Islamic Development Bank Institute initiated the development of a digital marketplace. 


Company News

Emirates Islamic launches digital wealth offering, equity trading on mobile app
Emirates Islamic has introduced a Shariah-compliant digital wealth and equity trading platform accessible through its EI+ mobile banking app.

This platform enables customers to efficiently manage their investments by engaging in Shariah-compliant equities trading in both local and international markets. (Ibis Intelligence)

Malaysia’s AEON Bank receives nod to launch digital banking operations 
AEON Bank Berhad has secured an approval from Bank Negara Malaysia and the Minister of Finance to commence its digital banking operations in Malaysia.

Formerly known as ACS Digital Berhad, the lender secured the bid for a digital banking license, making AEON Bank the first Islamic digital bank in Malaysia to gain approval under the new digital banking framework. (Fintech News)

Saudi Arabia
IsDB Institute begins developing digital marketplace
The Islamic Development Bank Institute (IsDBI) has initiated the development of the Islamic Finance Knowledge Pavilion Marketplace.

This digital marketplace will serve as a platform for validated solution providers, including institutions, consultants, and experts in Islamic finance and economic development. (Arab News)

First Islamic microfinance branch launched
Meezan Bank and SAFCO Microfinance Company Private Limited (SMCL) have inaugurated Pakistan's first Islamic microfinance branch in Hyderabad.

Branded as 'Yaqeen,' the branch will provide Shariah-compliant microfinance services to low-income and marginalized segments of society. This initiative aims to promote financial inclusion and social welfare in alignment with Islamic principles. (The News)

ahli Islamic launches Al Majd segment for upper mass customers
ahli Islamic, the Islamic banking window of ahlibank, has introduced its Al Majd segment targeting upper mass customers.

This specialized service segment offers a range of Sharia-compliant benefits, and as part of an exclusive launch offer, customers receive a one-time Hiba in the form of a 10% cashback on salaries. (Muscat Daily)

Saudi Arabia
Thara collaborates with Shariyah Review Bureau to ensure compliance
Saudi fintech Thara has achieved Shariah certification from Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB) for its crowdfunding financial services focusing on real estate development projects.

Thara's platform connects individual and institutional investors, providing them with investment opportunities in the real estate sector through Murabaha financing. (Zawya)

Saudi's Sidra Capital launches Singapore-based company for cross-border investments
Saudi-based Shari’ah-compliant asset management firm Sidra Capital has launched its first Singapore-domiciled variable capital company, Sidra Asian Opportunities Investment I VCC (VCC).

Launched in November 2023, the VCC's investment strategy revolves around enabling cross-border commodity supply chains through fully funded irrevocable Letters of Credit (LC). (Yahoo Finance)


Trade Developments

Ahli Islamic signs landmark MoU with AAOIFI
Ahli Islamic has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI), to strengthen collaboration in capacity building.

The agreement aims to support the growth of the Islamic finance sector in Oman. The MoU was signed during the AAOIFI-IsDB 18th Annual Islamic Banking and Finance Conference. (Pakistan Observer)


Trade Developments

Kurdistan International Islamic Bank adopts Azentio's iMAL software
Kuwait International Bank (KIB) has implemented the iMALTM solution, providing full compliance with the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) standards.

The comprehensive solution covers various aspects of Islamic finance, including investments, deposits, treasury, and capital markets. It equips KIB to introduce new Sharia-compliant products rapidly. (The Paypers)


ESG Developments

QIIB sets out a sustainable finance framework.
Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) unveils its first sustainable finance framework, detailing principles for long and short-term environmental, social, and sustainability objectives.

The Doha-based bank aims to issue green, social, or sustainability-labelled sukuk and other financing products, adhering to the International Capital Market Association's green, social, and sustainability bond guidelines. (The Asset)

Bank Islam introduces Ihsan Sustainability Investment Account to deliver positive impact through social finance.
Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd launches the Ihsan Sustainability Investment Account (ISIA), aiming to generate positive social and environmental impact through social finance.

The ISIA is tailored for clients seeking stable short-term investments, providing a secure option amid uncertainties related to equities and fixed-income investments. (Malay Mail)