ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Malaysian Islamic bank expands
In Indonesia, home to the world's largest Muslim population, the bank will open at least one new branch a week to increase its network from 290 to 450 eventually, according to Maybank chief executive Abdul Wahid Omar.
The lender is also planning to expand its Islamic services in Singapore to become 'the number one Islamic bank in Asean,' Abdul Wahid said.
Islamic banking fuses principles of Islamic law, known as Sharia, and modern banking. Islamic funds are banned from investing in companies associated with tobacco, alcohol or gambling.
The Sharia finance industry, which abides by religious laws that prohibit the payment and collection of interest, is a booming business, which Moody's Investors Service estimates has a market potential of US$5 trillion (S$6.7 trillion).
In Malaysia, Maybank had Sharia-compliant assets worth US$10.67 billion in 2009, placing it among the top 20 in the world. Bank Melli Iran is the global leader in Islamic finance with Sharia-compliant assets of US$59.62 billion.
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