Pakistan will play an important role as an engine of growth in Asia along with China, India and UAE, said ABN Amro CEO for Asia Mr Jeroen Drost after launching its first dedicated Islamic Banking branch in Pakistan on Thursday. The branch is located in KM Centre in the DHA, Karachi.
Pakistan was chosen by ABN Amro as the first country in which to launch Islamic Banking in both the commercial and consumer segments and there are plans to roll-out the service in UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, he said.
“There is a clear and growing demand for Islamic banking, especially from commercial and retail clients in indigenous Muslim countries and also from Muslim minorities in non-Muslim countries,” Mr Drost told Dawn.
Globally, the Islamic financial services industry today has at an estimated size of $380 billion.
“It is growing approximately at 15 per cent per annum globally, in some places more than 25 per cent per annum, driven by strong customer demand. It consists of more than 285 financial institutions around the world.”
“Large multinational banks are creating Islamic banking windows in Muslim and non-Muslim countries alike,” he said adding that in some years it will become a large percentage of the banking system.
“We intend to add two more exclusive Islamic Banking branches to the network and Islamic Banking windows in six to eight branches by the end of 2007,” the ABN Amro CEO said
In reply to a question, Drost said legal amalgamation of Prime Bank will be completed by August 1, 2007.
“With 83-branch network we feel we now have the distribution to offer better service to all our customers through a comprehensive suite of products,” he said.
ABN Amro considers Pakistan as a key market for growth in Asia and talented employees are crucial to our future success. We do not plan large scale redundancies although some minor realignment at both Prime Bank and ABN Amro are expected, he said.
“We are extremely pleased to announce the launch of our new premises, dedicated specifically to providing Islamic Banking services,” said Naved Khan, ABN Amro’s country executive in Pakistan. “We look forward to servicing our customers and providing them with a comprehensive suite of Shariah compliant financial products and services,” he added.