Bahrain has no plans to shut Islamic units of commercial banks

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ISLAMIC BANKS: Bahrain has the largest number of Islamic banks in the Middle East (ITP Images)

ISLAMIC BANKS: Bahrain has the largest number of Islamic banks in the Middle East (ITP Images)

Bahrain, the Middle Eastern country with the largest number of Islamic banks, has no plans to shut the Islamic units of commercial banks, said Abdul Rahman Al Baker, executive director of financial institutions supervision at the Central Bank of Bahrain.

“We are allowing Islamic lenders for a long time,” he said in said in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. “Conventional banks add value to Islamic banking.”

Qatar’s central bank told lenders on February 1 that non-Shariah compliant banks would have to close their Islamic lending branches by year-end and stop taking deposits in those units immediately.

Deposits and loans at Bahrain’s banks are “very healthy” and will grow at single-digit rates this year, and some investment banks have started restructuring, Al Baker said.

“Several of the banks started to restructure their investments, started to cherry-pick and revisit their investment model,” he said.

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