PAGE: TELL ME SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF AND AL BARAKA BANK, PLEASE:
SHAFQAAT AHMED: I have been associated with the banking industry for 40 years now from which over 20 years have been particularly dedicated to Islamic banking. My experience entails working locally as well as abroad. Association with
Al Baraka Pakistan has a branch network of 110 branches in 58 cities and towns across the country. It is devoted to providing customers with a range of Shariah compliant products to suit their banking needs in this rapidly developing market. Al Baraka, strongly relies on its ability to be an effective and efficient market player through focus on superior customer service, development of Islamic alternatives to conventional financing facilities and strict adherence to Shariah rulings and principles. Al Baraka offers a wide array of Islamic products both on the liability as well as asset side besides ancillary services such as online branch banking, Debit Card, SMS Banking, InterBank Funds Transfer, E-Statements and Utility Bill Payments.
PAGE: YOUR VIEWS ON ISLAMIC BANKING SECTOR GROWTH IN
SHAFQAAT AHMED: Islamic banking in
Despite challenges like limited range of products and services, availability of experienced HR, technology constraints, it has shown acceptable levels of growth as it has a huge market to tap. State Bank of
A major contribution towards steady growth comes from the fact that
PAGE: HOW WOULD YOU COMMENT ON THE COMPETITION WITH THE CONVENTIONAL BANKING SERVICES?
SHAFQAAT AHMED: Conventional banking has been in
Size is an important variable to determine the scale and scope of efficiencies of a bank. Conventional banks have the advantage of their large network size. Islamic banks and financial institutions, however, being in the infancy stage, in comparison, are still growing to attain an optimum level. Secondly, needs of individuals and businesses vary on both demand as well as supply side. Additionally, varying risks are to be looked at as well. Since the needs and tastes vary from person to person, wide variety of products are to be developed to cater to all needs and tastes. However one of the challenges faced is that under the Islamic framework, besides catering to the above, strict compliance of Shariah rules and guidelines is a pre requisite.
Liquidity management is a global phenomenon faced by the Islamic banking industry. In
PAGE: GIVE YOUR VIEWS ON USE OF IT IN ISLAMIC BANKING SECTOR?
SHAFQAAT AHMED: The basics of software (methodology and understandings) available for products and services being offered to customer are more based on Conventional Banking than Islamic Banking. This includes all areas like financing, profit calculation and feature offerings as well. Islamic banks need to go an extra mile to develop or customize these software hence forth making it more time consuming and expensive. However, IT development and advancements is one of the core ingredients to write a success story.
PAGE: YOUR VIEWS ON GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR ISLAMIC BANKING SECTOR:
SHAFQAAT AHMED: The present government has taken major initiatives in promoting and strengthening Islamic banking in
Needless to mention, SBP has maintained a strict regulatory regime to ensure that Islamic banking and finance continues to fulfill Shariah.
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