Birmingham-based Islamic Bank of Britain plc (IBB), last week hosted Indonesia’s highest-ranking judges at its headquarters in Edgbaston, Birmingham. A total of 13 judges from Indonesia’s Supreme Court, High Court and Religious High Court visited the Bank to learn more about Islamic finance as part of a course they were attending at the Markfield Institute of Higher Education (MIHE) based in Markfield, Leicestershire.
The judges, who were studying Islamic Financial Systems, Law & Arbitration for three days at MIHE, were given a tour of the Bank’s offices. This was followed by presentations from senior IBB executives on how Islamic banking differs from conventional banking and its position within the British legal framework.
Commenting on the visit, Sultan Choudhury, managing director, Islamic Bank of Britain said, “IBB has a long-standing reputation as a leader in the international Islamic finance sector and we are often asked to showcase our achievements and expertise. The delegation of high-ranking Indonesian judges found their visit to the Bank very informative, providing both parties with a forum to share knowledge and ideas.”
As the UK’s only wholly Sharia compliant retail bank IBB is considered a pioneer of British retail Islamic banking. Since its inception in 2004, the Bank has attracted over 50, 000 customers and currently provides the largest range of Sharia compliant retail financial products in the UK. These include the Home Purchase Plan (HPP) and Buy to Let Purchase Plan (BTLPP), savings accounts, personal and business banking.
Indonesia is also preparing itself for a boom in Islamic banking. It is the world’s most populous Muslim nation, with almost 90% of the 250 million population practising the faith. This presents a vast opportunity for the Indonesian Islamic finance industry. According to industry figures, whilst Islamic banking currently only represents 4% of Indonesia’s banking system Islamic banking assets grew by 50%, to US$17 billion, over the last year. Growth is expected to continue through the combined efforts of the Indonesian government and financial institutions seeking to realise the potential of this booming sector.