DOHA Feb 8 Qatar Islamic Bank QISB.QA (QIB)
may snap up the Islamic banking assets of conventional lenders
in Qatar, who are facing a central bank order to shut their
Islamic operations, a top executive said on Tuesday.
Qatar's central bank this week told conventional banks to
close their Islamic operations by year-end, amid worries of
overlap between the two, in a surprise move that lifted shares
of Islamic lenders. [ID:nLDE71503A]
The central bank gave no direction on whether banks can
apply for separate Islamic banking licenses and analysts have
said conventional banks may need to sell their Islamic units.
Ahmed Meshari, QIB's acting CEO, told reporters the bank is
interested in the assets and predicted that some 100,000
customers would migrate to Islamic banks in the Gulf Arab state
as a result of the central bank order.
Meshari also said that QIB, the country's second-largest
lender by market value, expects its business to grow 10 percent,
buoyed by the new directive.
Analysts project that Qatar National Bank (QNB) QNBK.QA,
with Islamic finance representing 11.6 percent of its total
assets, will be the most severely impacted if it is forced to
quit Islamic banking.
QIB shares were trading down 1.9 percent on the Doha bourse
at 0950 GMT.
(Reporting by Regan E Doherty, Writing by Dinesh Nair, Editing
by Amran Abocar)