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(Ecofin Agency) - The Central Bank of Morocco announced in a statement released on January 2 it has approved the creation of five new Islamic banks and allowed three already existing lenders to open halal segments.

 

The five applications green-lit by the lenders committee of the Bank Al-Maghrib were submitted by the Crédit Immobilier et Hôtelier (CIH Bank) in partnership with Qatar International Islamic Bank, BMCE Bank of Africa, with Bahrein group Dalla Al Baraka, the Banque Centrale Populaire with Guidance Financial Group (subsidiary of Qatari Barwa), the Crédit Agricole du Maroc with the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD, subsidiary of Islamic Development Bank), and Attijariwafa Bank, which is still in talks to appoint a foreign partner, the same source indicates. et Attijariwafa Bank, qui est toujours en discussion pour le choix d’un partenaire étranger, a-t-on précisé de même source.

“The lenders committee, after examining and analyzing the applications, especially in regards to shareholding plan, added value to the Moroccan market, governance and risks, and additional data collected from the applicants, gave its approval,” Bank al-Maghrib said in its statement.

 

Lenders that received the Central Bank’s approval to open Islamic segments are the Banque Marocaine du Commerce et de l’Industrie (BMCI), Crédit du Maroc and Société Générale’s Moroccan subsidiary.

 

According to a recent investigation conducted by Reuters, the Islamic Research and Training Institute affiliated to the Islamic Development Bank, and consulting firm Zawya, 98% of Moroccans are interested in Islamic banking services.

 

The survey, with a population of 800 people ranging between 18 and 55 years old, revealed that 84% of Moroccan interested by Islamic banking services wish for these services to be less costly than those offered by traditional banks. 43% of population surveyed however said they would open accounts at the Islamic banks, even if their halal services are most expensive than those offered by traditional lenders. Less flexible, 30% of this population said they would only use Islamic finance services.

 

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