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3 Islamic Banks making waves in Europe

By Joy Dumasia

April 14, 2022

  • Al Rayan Bank
  • BLME
  • Europe

Islamic Finance is a term that includes a wide range of financial products and services. In many ways, its products resemble conventional products. This is not surprising because their primary objectives are to facilitate investment by someone who has money, used by someone who needs money. Islamic Finance is often called Sharia-compliant finance, and this highlights the main difference between conventional and Islamic Finance. While both types of Finance must obey the country’s laws in which they are offered, Islamic Finance is designed to also be compatible with the laws of Islam.

Islamic Finance has become systemically more important in the UK than in continental Europe. The English legal system works well with sharia, and the two jurisdictions complement each other. In addition, the UK government has, in a series of Finance Acts since 2003, removed tax barriers that made Islamic products less tax-efficient than their conventional counterparts. The development of the reforms in the UK introduced change aimed at providing a level playing field for tax and regulations, and the policies broadened the market for Islamic finance products for Islamic institutions and wealth managers and for conventional firms that offer them. Various governmental Islamic finance secretariats and bodies have also been established to promote the development of Islamic Finance in the UK.

There is a growing global demand for skills as Shariah-compliant banking expands. UK institutions are at the forefront of providing academic and professional qualifications for the global industry. The UK is the leading centre of Islamic finance education and training, with four professional institutions and nearly 70 universities and business schools offering Islamic finance courses and degrees. 

The following are 3 Islamic Banks making waves in Europe:

In August 2006, House of London and The Middle East (“HLME”) was incorporated as a UK company by our initial sponsors, Boubyan Bank. By July 2007, HLME had received a banking license from the UK Financial Services Authority and became Bank of London and The Middle East plc (“BLME”).

BLME was launched to bridge the UK and Middle East markets through Islamic Finance to become the market leader in Wealth Management, focusing on Real Estate. As a critical centre for global Finance, London was chosen as the base due to its strong tradition of financial innovation and creativity. London has also provided BLME with access to a highly-skilled workforce and has supported the growth and promotion of Islamic Finance.

Gatehouse Bank is a Shariah-compliant bank offering savings products and Finance for the UK commercial and residential real estate and sourcing and advising on the UK real estate investments focusing on the build to rent sector.

One of the fastest-growing banks in the UK and are a subsidiary of Gatehouse Financial Group Limited. They have been around since 2007, with teams based in London, Milton Keynes and Wilmslow. Gatehouse Bank is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the PRA and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

By solely focusing on banking activities that are in keeping with the ethical values of Islam, Al Rayan Bank can make a significant and lasting difference to customers throughout the UK, helping them to save for their families’ futures, expand their businesses or buy their own homes, without compromising their beliefs.

Al Rayan Bank provides Sharia-compliant savings, Finance and current account services to over 90,000 personal, business and premier customers. It is the only Islamic bank in the UK to receive a public rating.

ALSO READ: Islamic Banking Systems and Suppliers Report Q4 2021

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