MANILA, Philippines – Maybank’s subsidiary in the Philippines said an acquisition of the country’s lone Islamic bank, Al-Amanah, is not part of its expansion in the country.
Al-Amanah Islamic Investment Bank of the Philippines is the country’s only Islamic bank. Founded in 1974 and a subsidiary of the Development Bank of the Philippines, it provides medium- and long-term credit facilities mainly for clients coming from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
One of its distinct financing services include its Pilgrimage Savings Plan for Muslim Filipinos saving for their pilgrimage to Mecca.
Islamic banks such as Al-Amanah are operated under the Shariah law. Unlike other conventional banks, they do not collect interest and are not permitted to transact investments involving alcohol, gambling, and pork as they run against the Shariah.
In 2012, Al-Amanah said it was looking for a strategic partner to run its operations as it reported a net loss of P30.6 million ($681,590.38*).
In 2013, it booked another loss of P49.73 million ($1.11 million).
“We’re not looking at Al-Amanah bank. (But) it’s not that it’s not worth looking [into],” Maybank Philippines Inc. president and CEO Herminio M. Famatigan, Jr. told reporters on Monday, November 10.
For Maybank Philippines, Famatigan cites another reason why it has not focused on acquiring a stake in the Islamic bank: its parent company, Maybank, has an existing interest in Islamic banking through its subsidiaries Maybank Islamic Berhad and PT Bank Maybank Syariah Indonesia.
Apart from Maybank, foreign banks including Malaysia’s CIMB Group Holdings Berhad was reported to be interested in acquiring Al-Amanah but eventually denied it.
The Philippines subsidiary of Malaysia’s largest financial group is instead bent on expanding its retail business, with its loan portfolio now hovering at 44% of the bank’s growth drivers.
“We really want to grow our own retail business,” Famatigan said.
In October, Maybank Philippines turned its Resorts World branch into a 24-hour bank, making it the first and only bank branch serving clients beyond the usual banking hours.
The branch services inter-branch transactions between 8 am and 10 pm. From 10 pm to 8 am, its services will only be exclusive to the branch’s account holders.
By end-2014, Maybank Philppines aims to expand to 30 branches spread in the key cities of Metro Manila, Cebu, Davao, and Iloilo. – Rappler.com
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