First Published: 2009-11-05

Islamic banks weather economic storm

Banks that comply with Islamic Sharia law thriving due to 'conservative approach to risk'.


Middle East Online

'Solid track record'

LONDON - Banks that comply with Islamic Sharia law are thriving despite the global financial crisis, thanks largely to a "conservative approach to risk," according to a new listing published Thursday.

The latest research by The Banker magazine reveals that assets held by fully Sharia-compliant banks or the Islamic units of conventional banks rose by 28.6 percent to 822 billion dollars (550 billion euros) in 2009, up from 639 billion dollars (430 billion euros) in 2008.

This contrasts sharply with the stagnation in the conventional banking sector. The Banker's survey of the top 1,000 world banks published in July showed annual asset growth of just 6.8 percent.

"A conservative approach to risk and close links between the financial sector and real assets has helped shield the sector from the worst of the credit crisis," said the magazine's editor, Brian Caplen.

The Banker said the Islamic finance industry was building a "solid track record," with a compound annual growth rate for 2006-2009 of 27.86 percent, and forecast assets would hit 1,033 billion dollars in 2010.

The 2009 Top 500 Islamic Financial Institutions appears in November's edition of The Banker.


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