World’s Best Islamic Financial Institutions 2013: Regional Winners

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Al Rajhi Bank
Non-GCC Middle East/Africa Al Baraka Bank
Asia Maybank Islamic Berhad
Europe Bank of London and the Middle East


Al Rajhi Bank

According to Fitch Ratings, Al Rajhi Bank is the largest Islamic bank globally and boasts the largest branch network in Saudi Arabia. In December last year, Fitch Ratings affirmed the bank’s ‘a’ viability rating, based on its strong profitability (a return on average equity of 23.7% in the first nine months of 2012), healthy asset quality and substantial retail deposit base. Al Rajhi achieved a net profit of 7.9 billion Saudi riyals ($2.1 billion) in 2012, an increase of 7% on 2011 levels. Customer deposits increased by 24% to reach 221 billion riyals. In addition to its extensive network (more than 460 branches) in the Saudi kingdom, Al Rajhi maintains 24 branches in Malaysia, a branch in Kuwait and three branches in Jordan.

Suliman Azzabin, CEO


Al Baraka Bank

Al Baraka operates in economically and politically challenged markets such as Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Syria. In Egypt, despite worsening economic conditions, the bank saw 10% asset growth. Despite a decline in its murabaha (mark up, or cost-plus financing) business volumes in Tunisia, assets increased by 4% as a result of a 50% expansion in mudaraba and Ijarah Muntahia Bittamleek, a lease whereby the bank buys and leases out equipment for an agreed rental fee. The surprise element came in the form of Al Baraka Bank Syria’s performance, with asset growth of a whopping 84% in Syrian pounds. Despite its proximity to troubled Syria, the bank’s Lebanon operations also saw a significant expansion in assets.

Adnan Ahmed Yousif, board member, president and CEO


Maybank Islamic Berhad

Considered to be the largest Islamic provider in the region and the largest Islamic bank in Malaysia in terms of total assets and market share, Maybank Islamic Berhad ended 2012 with a profit before zakat (wealth tax) and tax of 1.2 billion Malaysian ringgits ($396 million). Total assets rose by 15.9 billion ringgits to 91.4 billion ringgits on the back of substantial growth in financing assets and cash and short-term funds. The bank’s Islamic business is aligned with the Maybank Group’s performance where growth momentum is expected to continue in 2013 in its three core markets: Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

En Muzaffar Hisham, CEO


Bank of London and the Middle East

Bank of London and the Middle East is reportedly the largest Islamic bank in Europe. Its consolidated total assets exceeded £1 billion ($1.6 billion) for the first time in the 12 months to December 31. Last year also saw a return to profitability for the bank, with total operating income increasing by 22% to £52.5 million and group operating profit before tax of £5.5 million. Since its inception in July 2007, the bank says, it has provided more than £500 million worth of lease finance, £250 million worth of property finance and £250 million in financing to SMEs.

Humphrey Percy, CEO

alt World’s Best Islamic Financial Institutions 2013: