Dubai: The United Arab Emirates can be the long host of Islamic banking sector as the sector has a bright future in the gulf state due to its major role in financing infrastructure projects, residential properties and corporate expansion.
According to a top official of Noor Islamic Bank, Islamic banking sector is likely to prosper hugely in the UAE.
Group CEO of Noor Investment Group and CEO of Noor Islamic Bank, Hussain Al Qemzi, said, “Islamic financial instruments have the potential to become a key funding source for the nation’s infrastructure needs.”
Noor Islamic Bank is a full-service bank delivering the broadest range of products for its customers, with an emphasis on unique and personalized services. It has branches in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, and has a representative office in Tunisia. The bank’s mission is to be ranked among the top 100 most innovative companies in the world by 2020.
“I believe prospects for Islamic banking in the UAE are bright. The UAE Islamic banks account for around one-fifth of all banking assets in the country and 30 per cent of the global Islamic banking industry,” Al Qemzi said.
He said that the UAE Islamic banks play a major role in financing infrastructure projects, residential properties and corporate expansion.
He said, “This will continue as the country’s economy maintains its steady growth, thanks to the influx of petrodollars, resulting from high oil prices.”
“Infrastructure financing, in particular, represents a tremendous opportunity for Islamic finance. At a time when the conventional banks are offering fewer and shorter loans, the UAE government and companies are increasingly turning to other options for finance,” he added.
Al Qemzi, a seasoned banker with over 28 years of experience working with the leading financial institutions in the UAE, is an insightful leader with proven experience of incubating, leading and managing strategic ventures and business transformation initiatives. During his tenure as CEO, Noor Islamic Bank has received 19 prestigious industry awards. Al Qemzi was also awarded the prestigious 2010 ‘CEO of the Year Award’ in the Islamic banking category at the CEO Middle East Awards.
Al Qemzi said, “I am optimistic for the future. While uncertainties about the health of the global economy remain, the UAE banks are in a much better position today, than they were in 2008. The UAE banks are benefitting from improving liquidity, with higher deposits helping to push down the loan-to-deposit ratio below the 100 per cent for the first time since mid-2011.”
“Profits are holding up, assets are building, but challenges remain around credit growth and provisioning for legacy issues linked to over-exposure to corporate and government entities,” he added.
To a question about the bank’s profit and revenue growth in 2012, he said, “This year will be our first full year of sustained profitability, in line with our five year forecast when we launched in 2008.”
In reply to a question regarding the opening of more branches, he said that Noor Islamic Bank is present in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. He answered, “There are no plans to open more branches at this time. Instead, we will focus on developing our online and mobile banking products and services, the latest of which, ‘A Bank in Your Hand’ we will be launching at Gitex Technology Week, later this month.”
“We are keen to build relationships and cooperate with other banks on cross border deals. We believe this route offers us greater growth opportunities than establishing a physical presence in markets outside the UAE,” Al Qemzi concluded.