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Sun 26 Nov 2006 04:00 AM

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Islamic banking gets a boost with Alnoor Bank

The Dubai government is preparing to launch a new Islamic bank, with a total capital of US$1bn, and which will focus on both the domestic and international markets.

Alnoor Bank will start operations overseas as soon as it launches, capitalising on the growing global demand for Shari’ahcompliant financial services, according to UAE’s Al Khaleej newspaper.

The bank will employ both local experts in Islamic banking and suitably qualified expatriates for its international operation.

There are now 280 Islamic financial organisations worldwide, managing investments worth a total of US$450bn.

Alnoor – which means ‘light’ in Arabic – will be the UAE’s fifth Islamic bank, alongside Dubai Islamic Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Sharjah Islamic Bank and Emirates Islamic Bank. The four banks have total assets of around US$27bn, according to Al Khaleej.

“The banking sector in the UAE is particularly strong," according to Michael Tomalin, CEO of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

“In a round table discussion held earlier this week by the Oxford Business Group, Tomalin said that banks in the UAE capital could see an increase of up to 20% in earnings next year.

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