SBP Will Assist Banks to Convert to Islamic Mode

Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Sima Kamil said that the banking regulator will facilitate banks having plans to convert their business into Shariah-compliant mode as part of its plan to enhance the share of Islamic banking from 20 to 35 percent in the next two years.

Addressing a seminar on Islamic banking and economic development organized by a local bank, she said the central bank aims to expand the share of Islamic banking to up to 35 percent in the next two years from the present level of 20 percent in the overall banking industry.

If any bank wishes to Islamize its 100, 200, or 300 branches, the State Bank would provide them with this facility, she added.

People’s interest in Islamic banking is increasing and it is improving their quality of life, she said. However, the task of shifting from conventional banking to Islamic banking is challenging. The State Bank of Pakistan is fully cooperating in this regard and we will come up with revised work to improve this shift, she added.

The deputy governor remarked that the State Bank has established two sectors in its Islamic banking structure, one of which is Islamic finance and the other is Islamic development.

“Converting Islamic banking data into a workable plan was a daunting task,” said the SBP deputy governor, adding that technology today has made it possible to convert data into policies. This data helps in providing convenience based on the needs and wants of the users, she explained.

Kamil said that in addition to raising awareness about Islamic banking and training banking staff, Shariah scholars are also needed.

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