We have been hearing about Islamic and banking services for many years now. For those of us living in Muslim countries this may not be big news. However, for those of us living in western countries, Islamic banking services are still not available commonly. However, some of us may not realize that Islamic industry’s assets have reached to $500 billion today. Middle Eastern countries and Malaysia are at the forefront of offering Islamic financial services. Net profits, total assets and equity of most banks offering Islamic banking services are increasing yearly by an astounding rate.
The trend now has picked up even in western countries. Within the UK, three banks have the licenses to run Islamic banking and an Islamic insurance company is about to open as well. Certain western banks such as HSBC have been offering Islamic banking services for more than a decade and continue to expand in many countries of the world. The New York Times reported this month that “Big banks, including Citigroup, HSBC and Deutsche Bank, as well as financial capitals like London, Tokyo and Hong Kong, are all going into the Islamic banking business. An estimated 300 Islamic financial institutions hold at least $500 billion in assets, an amount that is increasing more than 10 percent a year.” That is indeed tremendous growth for a sector that until a few years ago had more doubters than hopefuls. Besides Islamic loans, Islamic bonds, Islamic credit cards and Islamic derivatives are all available part of the Islamic banking services. The trends definitely point to a very near future where most Muslims, whether living in the west or elsewhere will easily be able to deal in such services. If you are already using those services, please share your experiences with others who have yet to explore the Islamic banking and finance front.