Islamic bank eyes Scottish market

26 September 2006

The Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) has unveiled plans to open its first Scottish bank in the city of Glasgow.

Banking products that adhere to strict Muslim law are proving immensely popular worldwide and a number of UK high street banks, such as Lloyds TSB, have recently expanded the range of products they offer to customers.

The bank, which has been voted the best provider of Islamic finance in Europe, recently launched a new direct savings account that complies with Islamic Sharia law and also has a new internet and telephone banking service.

Scotland is home to an estimated 50,000 Muslims, with the highest concentration in Glasgow, and Ashraf Piranie, IBB finance director told the Sunday Herald that the city was a prime target for the bank to open a new branch office next year, though Dundee was also being considered.

The bank is now preparing a series of new banking products, such as Sharia-compliant overdrafts, in conjunction with Muslim scholars. Sharia law bans the charging or earning of interest, or Riba, by Muslims and investment in certain sectors is forbidden.

Launched in 2004, the IBB is based in Birmingham and is the only dedicated Islamic retail bank in Britain, though it is open to customers of all backgrounds and religions. The IBB is also planning to expand its operations in France and Germany over the next few years.

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