Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Maybank Islamic eyes RM2b in new deposits

By Sumathi Wong
Maybank Islamic is aiming to secure RM2 billion in new deposits within a year and RM4 billion in deposits for its fiscal year to June 2010 with the launch of two new financial products. The products — Foreign Currency Mudharabah-i (FCM-i) and Profit Now Account-i (PNA-i) — which were unveiled yesterday are term deposit accounts that are Shariah-compliant.
Speaking to reporters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday [May 19, 2009], acting CEO Ibrahim Hassan said, "Being the only such product of its kind in the market under the mudharabah concept, we believe the FCM-i is timely given the increasingly globalised world we live in, and with Malaysians seeking alternative investment options as well as having investment and educational spending needs in foreign currencies."
The new products will appeal to a wide segment of customers comprising the consumers and corporate sector, he added.
The FCM-i is a short-term Islamic foreign currency term deposit account based on the principle of mudharabah, which is the concept of profitsharing between the bank and customer. Its dividends are based on an agreed profitsharing ratio that is set upfront.
The minimum deposit for individual customers is equivalent to US$5,000 (about RM17,770), with the dividend calculated at this ratio. Customers will only know the amount upon maturity of the investment, ranging from one to 12 months.
Business customers may opt for various currencies equivalent to US$20,000 for a minimum tenure of one day for the US dollar and seven days for the euro, Australian dollar and British pound.
The New Zealand dollar, Hong Kong dollar, Canadian dollar, Singapore dollar, Swiss franc and Japanese yen have a one-month tenure with a maximum of 12 months.
Meanwhile, the PNA-i is the Shariah concept of murabahah, or cost-plus sale, which offers a fixed return and dividends are paid upfront once invested. This product requires a mi n imum deposit of RM10,000 with increments of RM1,000 with an investment tenure of one to six months.
Ibrahim said that the demand for its consumer financing comes from the automobile and housing sector as well as the Amanah Saham Bumiputera unit trust and personal financing.
Up till December 2008, Maybank Islamic's total deposits stood at RM18 billion and is expected to grow by another RM1.5 billion by its fiscal year ending June 2009. As for the expansion of new branches, Ibrahim said that while the bank hopes to open a branch in each state, this would depend on business viability given the current economic slowdown.

(This story appeared in The Malaysian Reserve on May 19, 2009. The Malaysian Reserve is a daily business/finance newspaper published out of Kuala Lumpur, with a sectoral page on Islamic finance on Mondays, edited by Habhajan Singh)

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