A matter of no interest 15

Bad as most economic news continues to be, here is something to cheer the allegedly hard hearts and genuinely hard minds of us capitalists.

The efforts some financial institutions have made to launch Sharia-compliant products are not succeeding.

No surprise really. What’s investment without interest? The wonder is that  anyone ever thought they might succeed.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Islamic bank accounts and other financial products have failed to take off in Britain, according to industry insiders. …

New banks that were set up to appeal to the UK’s nearly two million Muslims and Sharia-compliant products created by the existing high street lenders have failed to make much of an impact, critics say.

Junaid Bhatti, part of the team that set up Islamic Bank of Britain, the first Sharia-compliant bank approved by the Financial Services Authority, says that the sector has been a big disappointment.

“As we now approach the sixth anniversary of IBB’s launch, I’m sad to finally have to admit that Islamic finance in the UK has been a huge flop,” he said. “IBB may still be limping on as probably the last bastion of the cause, but it’s difficult to imagine it holding out for much longer.

Competitors have fared even worse and many had closed or scaled back their operations significantly, Mr Bhatti said.

Established banks that launched Islamic banking products are also believed to have fared poorly. HSBC and Lloyds were seen as having made the biggest efforts to make inroads, but without much success, Mr Bhatti said.

“Lloyds, which made a half-hearted stab at Sharia-compliant products in 2004, doesn’t seem to have promoted its offering for years,” he said in an article for MuslimPolitics.com.

“Even HSBC Amanah, probably the most credible and efficient provider of halal banking in the UK, has dramatically reduced its dedicated Islamic banking staff in Britain, and its marketing volume has been turned way down.”

Posted under Economics, Islam, Muslims, News by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, June 22, 2010

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