Morocco: Banque populaire sets up Islamic bank
The new subsidiary will be named Banque participative du Maroc.Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP) will create a subsidiary dedicated to Islamic finance, the bank told newspaper L'Economiste.
Banque participative du Maroc will be 80 per cent owned by BCP and 20 per cent owned by Guidance financial group, a subsidiary of Qatari sovereign wealth fund Barwa.
"First, we want the [Islamic] bank to create its own network, even if it is not very wide. At least sixty branches should be established in the next four or five years. In the second phase, we will start using conventional banking networks," said Laidi El Wardi, general manager for retail banking at the BCP.
Other banks have already announced their intention to enter the Moroccan market. Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) has signed an agreement with Moroccan lender Crédit Immobilier et Hôtelier (CIH Bank) to set up an Islamic bank in Morocco.
QIIB will take a 40 per cent stake in the new bank, which is expected to launch in 2016, pending regulatory approvals.
These launches were made possible by the adoption in 2014 by the Moroccan parliament of a draft law regulating Islamic finance in the country.
The state now allows Islamic finance institutions to be fully established in Morocco, provided they are subsidiaries of domestic or foreign banks.
The potential for Islamic finance is important in Morocco, with over 98 per cent of the population declaring themselves Muslims.