Tunisia: The Islamic finance growing

It is a small revolution in the Tunisian banking landscape.  After the Al Baraka Bank and Noor Islamic Bank, Tunisia has just acquired its first Islamic bank 100% local: bank Zaytuna.

Islamic banking is gaining ground. With assets amounting to some $ 700 million, representing a penetration rate of 11.9% worldwide, it is necessary as a means to introduce more ethics in transactions Financial.  The products of Islamic finance, which have weathered the global crisis, are now adopted by several developed countries and international banks, seduced by a system which brandishes his principles as much preventive vaccines ban on speculation of interest, the uncertainty of sales and financing of illicit activities.

In Tunisia, the phenomenon continues to grow.  In 1983, the first Islamic bank was established in that country: the Best Bank or Beit Ettamouil Saoudi Tounsi (recently renamed Al Baraka Bank-Tunisia).  It is held up to 10% by the Tunisian State, 10% by Caisse Nationale de Sécurité Sociale (CNSS), 1.6% by private Saudi and 78.4% by the Saudi Al Baraka Banking Group, a global leader in the field of Islamic finance.  In June 2008, it was the turn of the Noor Islamic Bank to settle in the country.  A subsidiary of Noor Islamic Bank and Dubai Investment Group (DIB) of Sheikh Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, it is also the sixth Islamic bank in UAE.  The regional office in Tunis focuses primarily on corporate banking and investment. Recently, a third Islamic bank to 100% of Tunisia has enhanced banking landscape: the bank Zaytuna ( “olive” in Arabic).  With an initial capital of 30 million dinars (25 million dollars), it was formally established last October 21.  A small revolution in the banking landscape previously dominated by Western practices.

Unlike the Best Bank, which develops only products for businesses, the bank Zaytuna covers all banking segments (receiving deposits from the public, regardless of the length and shape; grant funding; exchange transactions; Management of payment …) in accordance with the principles of Islamic finance, which forbids riba (usury credits) and is based on the concept of sharing risk with the client.  Founded by Mohamed Sakhr El Materi, a young Tunisian businessman, also deputy head of the group and Princess El Materi Holding – which already operates in the automotive, agribusiness, real estate, tourism and the media — the latest sector is, according to Tunisian financial community, with a bright future.

Seven shareholders would share the capital. Sakhr El Materi carves the lion’s share, with 51%.  The rest is divided among six of the most powerful private Tunisian: Map, Poulin, Tunisian Travel Service (TTS)-Delice Danone, Utica (Ulysse Trading & Industrial Companies) and the group Bouchamoui.  With this new bank, which means “universal citizen, modern and open to its international environment”, in the words of Mohamed El Matteri Tunis looks set to become a regional privileged place in Islamic finance.

Source  : Continentalmag (google trld)