Thursday, July 9, 2009

Exim Bank to introduce takaful products next yr

Export-Import Bank of Malaysia Bhd (Exim Bank) is poised to expand its reach further by offering better options to customers via the introduction of Shariah-compliant products.
Islamic financing has been identified as a new area of growth for the bank in view that Malaysia is expanding trade involving the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) member states.
The bank has envisaged that by end-2009, it would have sufficient Shariah-compliant banking products to cater for the needs of its growing global customers, said managing director/CEO Mohd Fauzi Rahmat. "We are also planning to introduce takaful (Islamic insurance) products by next year," he said in a statement on Monday.
Exim Bank supports the financing needs of Malaysian companies and investors with operations in four continents across two dozen countries worldwide. Asean and Middle East will continue to be major contributors to the bank's portfolio with about two-third of its exposures while Africa, Europe and Asia Pacific make up the rest.
According to Fauzi, the bank is committed to continue its drive to support local exporters and investors extending their international business by providing banking facilities and insurance coverage particularly those that significantly contribute to the extension and enlargement of Malaysia's export volume, value and markets.
While the bank recognise that 2009 would be more a challenging year amidst global economic uncertainties, it would continue to provide support to its existing and potential customers and partners who are willing to take the challenge and participate in the still significant global trade and investments and to be ready for future businesses when the economy picks up.
In 2008, Exim Bank approved a total of RM460.3 million direct loans and guarantees to customers in various sectors including construction, investment, manufacturing and commodity trading.
In addition, the Export Credit Refinancing, extended via participating financial institutions and by far the single largest product of the bank by volume, contributed a total of RM9.5 billion in loan disbursements compared with RM8.4 billion in the previous year.
In trade credit insurance, it has a total of RM2.43 billion business in force in 2008, against RM2.78 billion in 2007. As for commercial and political risk insurance business, the bank approved RM120 million worth of business last year reflecting it cautious approach in light of the global economic crisis.
The total Malaysian exports insured for 2008 amounted to RM2.55 billion and is spread over 72 countries primarily across Asia and Africa.
"Exim Bank maintained a positive and stable performance for both banking and insurance businesses although a more selective approach has been adopted to respond to the current global economic situation," Fauzi said.
To strengthen its capacity to undertake more businesses, the shareholders' funds of Exim Bank has increased to RM2.8 billion in 2008 from RM839 million a year ago. This would go a long way in ensuring that Exim Bank continues to thrive as a vibrant and active Development Financial Institution for Malaysian exporters and investors over the medium and long-term.

(This story appeared in The Malaysian Reserve on July 8, 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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