Europe’s biggest bank HSBC is sharpening its focus on Islamic lending in Turkey and across the Middle East, the deputy general manager of its Turkish unit has told Reuters in an interview late on Tuesday.
HSBC’s Huseyin Ozkaya said the bank was also working seriously on issuing Islamic bonds in Turkey and was waiting for the Turkish Treasury to create regulations in this area.
Islamic banking, under which banks do not pay or charge interest in line with Islamic law, is fast expanding from a low base in predominantly Muslim Turkey.
“The government must carry out legislative changes in connection with Islamic bonds… We have carried out serious work on this for when these (legislative changes) are completed,” he said.
He said the bank played a leading role in international consortiums issuing Islamic loans.
“HSBC is increasing its focus in this area as a bank which has come out solidly from the international crisis, while our international rivals are not showing the same sort of interest as before,” he said.
He said the bank this year had issued some 6-7 Islamic murabaha facilities, under which a financier buys a commodity and sells it to the customer at a higher price, complying with Islam’s ban on interest.
But he said that the volume of such syndications was set to decline to $300-400mn this year from $500-600mn a year earlier due to global market conditions.
“There is a serious contraction in international lending markets and this has had an impact on Turkey. There is a change in the profile of investors and a decline in liquidity,” he said.
HSBC Turkey will be affected by a reduction in consumer spending and this will have an impact on its performance in private banking, he said.
“Generally speaking there is not a serious worsening in our results, but they will definitely reflect international markets,” he said.
He also said he did not expect significant public offerings in Turkey this year.