Ten Islamic banks looking to enter the Moroccan market this year
The Moroccan Central Bank said it has received ten applications for approval.The Moroccan Central Bank announced last week it had received ten applications for approval from
" As of June 29, 2016, ten applications were filed between Moroccan banks and foreign financial groups ," said Lhassane Benhalima , director of banking supervision at Bank Al Maghrib , quoted by the Ecofin agency.
"For Moroccan banks , this is the Credit Agricole, Attijariwafabank, Banque Centrale Populaire ( BCP ), the Credit Immobilier et Hotelier (CIH) and BMCE," he added.
Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP) will create a subsidiary dedicated to Islamic finance, called Banque participative du Maroc, which 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.
Meanwhile, 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.
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 potential for Islamic finance is important in Morocco, with over 98 per cent of the population declaring themselves Muslims.