Jamuna Bank, anther conventional bank, has turned into a full-fledged Shariah-based bank taking the number of Islamic banks to 11 out of total 43 lenders operating in the private sector.
The Bangladesh Bank gave the approval at its board meeting on Thursday. The meeting also awarded final approval to Strategic Finance and Investment Limited, to operate as a non-bank financial institution (NBFI), Md Serajul Islam, spokesperson and executive director of the Bangladesh Bank, confirmed The Business Standard.
With this, the tally of NBFIs reaches 34.
Earlier, on February 9, the central bank allowed two conventional banks - Standard Bank and NRB Global Bank – to convert into Islamic banks.
Currently eight banks - Islami Bank, Al-Arafah Islami Bank, Shahjalal Islami Bank, Social Islami Bank, First security Islami Bank, EXIM Bank, Union Bank and ICB Islamic Bank -- are operating as full-fledged Islamic banks in the country.
"It is nice to hear that we have finally got the approval from the central bank," Mirza Ilias Uddin Ahmed, managing director of Jamuna Bank, told The Business Standard in his immediate reaction.
He said Jamuna's board had been trying for a long time to convert the bank into a complete Islamic bank. Now Jamuna Bank has two Islamic banking branches.
"We have sought the conversion on ideological ground, not for profits. The board members are inspired by Islamic banking," said Mirza Ilias.
Strategic Finance and Investment placed in agenda for final approval
The central has also given its final nod to the Strategic Finance and Investment Limited as an NBFI despite the sector's saturation and dwindling health. Some of NBFIs often fail to pay off depositors' money.
Strategic Finance and Investment has to bring in at least 50 percent of its paid-up capital from foreign institutional investors, an official said.
Padma Bank Chairman Chowdhury Nafeez Sarafat's wife Anjuman Ara Shahid is the founder chairperson of the NBFI. Muhammad Ali Zaryab, now serving as a deputy managing director of Padma Bank, is the proposed managing director of the new company.
Strategic Finance and Investment Limited applied to the central bank for licence in November last year.