Behnam Gurbanzade, the trend director of the Department of Islamic Banking at the International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA), recently announced that the bank plans to increase its total investments over the previous year as a result of the increasing demand for investments in accordance with Sharia law.
Gurbanzade said total funds raised by the IBA's Islamic financial institutions amounted to $218.7 million dollars, according to an IBA press release.
"There are obstacles to attracting more investments and it is all the result of the absence of the country's legal framework in the field of Islamic banking," Gurbanzade said. "Without an appropriate legal framework to send a constant stream of heavy investment in the right direction [the bank has] to constantly [be] structured in new products and services, which ultimately increases bank charges and is reflected in the cost of investment."
IBA's share of Islamic banking in its total loan portfolio as of July 1 is $7.2 billion, or three percent, and the bank has big plans to expand its range of Islamic products.
"In particular, the bank is going to release...a new Islamic plastic card--'Murabaha,'" Gurbanzade said. "The business cardholder can make purchases in retail stores serviced by the IBA. Cardholders will have the opportunity to receive discounts and interest-free credit lines. This is the third product Islamic ruler in plastic bank cards after cards 'Twisted' and 'Jasmine.'"
Other products and services are being developed in the mortgage finance and lending businesses.
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