Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Competition in the Islamic banking business is set to intensify with a second Sharia compliant bank opening its doors to Kenyans Tuesday.

First Community Bank, a stand-alone Islamic bank licensed by the Central Bank of Kenya a year ago, joins another Sharia compliant institution—Gulf African Bank, which started operating in January.

“We welcome both Muslim and non-Muslim clients to our services driven by ethics,” Nathif Adam, the bank’s CEO, told the Nation.

Based on fixed profit lending, Islamic banking does not approve of, among others, levying of interest on its services.

Mr Adam said the bank, with an approved Sh1 billion capital base and licensed a year ago, seeks to expand from the initial three branches to 17 in the next three years.

The institution, which has a 51 per cent Kenyan shareholding, joins a market that already has attracted mainstream banks like Barclays, Kenya Commercial Bank, I&M and Dubai Bank that have Shariah compliant products. It offers current, saving and investment deposit accounts as well as asset and services financing.