Al Hilal Bank is to open the first Islamic bank in Kazakhstan in the first quarter of 2010.

The Abu Dhabi government-owned Al Hilal Bank is to open the first Islamic bank in Kazakhstan in the first quarter of 2010. The local Islamic Bank was registered in January 2010 and currently is in the final stage of obtaining a banking license to develop as a full-fledged commercial bank operating through Astana and Almaty branches.

The establishment of JSC Al Hilal Islamic Bank, the Kazakhstan subsidiary, was initiated under the UAE-Kazakhstan intergovernmental agreement on cooperation between the two countries. The introduction of legislative amendments and changes to Banking Law, Civil Code and Tax Code aimed at accommodating the existing rules for Islamic banking principles has supported the quick foundation of the Bank. The prudential norms for Islamic banks introduced by Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan on regulation and supervision of financial market and financial organizations have created the ground for equal development of Islamic and conventional banking in the country. It is assumed that the establishment of Islamic banks and popularization of Islamic finance principles will open up new investment and financing opportunities for domestic enterprises and promote establishing new business relations with Islamic investors.

The primary objective of Al Hilal Islamic Bank is the contribution to the development and prosperity of the Kazakhstan economy through providing access to innovative Islamic banking solutions to the business and public. The Bank’s business will focus on corporate and retail banking. Corporate banking will cater to the needs of customers through financing products, cash management, trade finance as well as consulting solutions. The Bank welcomes the cooperation with customers in agriculture, oil and gas, mining and manufacturing, trade and FMCG, transport and communication segments of the economy. Initially retail banking services will be limited to cash management and deposit products for VIP retail customers. More services and products will be added later on with the popularization of the Islamic banking practices and principles in the country. All banking products and services to be offered by Al Hilal Islamic Bank will be fully Shari’a compliant and duly monitored by in-house Shari’a scholars and approved by the Islamic Finance Principles Board of Al Hilal Bank

source : engdigest