Elaf Bank, a closely held Islamic investment bank in Bahrain, has applied for a banking license in Malaysia, chief executive officer Jamil AK Jaroudi said.
In an interview in Kuala Lumpur, Jamil said: “If they give approval tomorrow, we will open tomorrow. We are ready. We have a strategic vision that we would like to bridge the two main Islamic hubs, Bahrain and Malaysia.”
The Southeast Asian nation plans to issue two more Islamic bank licenses, including one of a new lender that will be jointly established by institutions from Asia and the Middle East, central bank governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz said yesterday.
Bank Negara Malaysia already issued conventional licenses to five foreign banks in June, including National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Indonesia’s PT Bank Mandiri.
The bank would use Malaysia as regional hub, covering Singapore, Indonesia and Australia, Jamil said.
It would try to use this as an opportunity to converge differing interpretations of Islamic finance between Malaysia and the Middle East by getting Shariah boards to work closely, he said.
Elaf currently has mandates to advise on about $1.4 billion of deals in Southeast Asia, said Jamil.