Morocco approves first set of Islamic banks

Jan 05, 2017

This is in response to growing demand for Islamic banking and products

Morocco has joined
Islamic banking nations with the approval of five Islamic banks. Morocco's Central Bank authorized the commencement of five Islamic banks in the country as market demand for Islamic banking increases. The authorization which was announced on Monday, covers the approval of five of seven pending Islamic banking requests. The approved banks include three leading national banks (Attijariwafa Bank, BMCE of Africa and Banque Centrale Populaire) and two smaller lenders (Credit Agricole (CAM) and Credit Immobilier et Hotelier), respectively. The three leading banks hold increasing assets around French-speaking Africa while four of the five Islamic banks will be partnerships between Moroccan banks and Islamic financial institutions in the Gulf. In addition, three French banks (Societe Generale, Credit du Maroc and BMCI) were also authorized to sell Islamic products. This approval is a fulfilment of the promise of Morocco's Islamic party since 2011 which was prolonged due to concerns about Islamic movements. However, lack of liquidity and foreign investors in the nation's financial market which Islamic finance could attract, propelled the approval. Last month, Morocco's Finance Minister
revealed that the nation will issue her debut sukuk in first half of 2017. Morocco's Central Bank has also set up a central Sharia board to oversee the Islamic banking industry.