KCB Bank Group is set to formally roll out Islamic banking services in Kenya next month as it expands its product offering in the East African region.
The KCB Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Joshua Oigara said the bank has now received the necessary approvals to enable the launch of Islamic banking in all 182 KCB branches in Kenya.
“Islamic banking proposition is part of our financial inclusion agenda that progressively looks at incorporating products and services to reach out to the unbanked population,” said Mr Oigara while addressing the Muslim Community whom he hosted for an Iftar dinner at Nairobi on Monday evening. The product dubbed “KCB Sahal Banking” is a Shariah compliant bank account designed to address the sensitivities of Muslim customers who adhere to the Muslim faith, which forbids the earning or payment of interest.
KCB Tanzania is already offering Islamic banking services and “KCB Sahal Banking (easy banking) roll out aims to provide Shariah compliant banking product that prohibits the giving or receiving of interest and ensures that money is invested ethically in accordance with the Islamic faith.
“In the long term, the product will bring new levels of efficiency by widening the variety of Banking products and service offerings as well as promote development in the marginalized areas of our country,” said Mr Oigara.
KCB has finalized the architecture for the KCB Islamic banking products and services to ensure they are in line with the regulatory framework and approval from the Sharia Islamic Scholars and religious leaders.
Jaffer Abdulkadir, KCB’s Head of Islamic banking said the bank will continue to work with the team of Shariah scholars and religious leaders to ensure ongoing Shariah compliance of KCB Sahal Banking. “We believe the role these scholars play is far more fundamental to ensure that we maintain the principles on which this product rests,” said Mr Abdulkadir adding the KCB Islamic banking targets both Muslims and non-Muslims. In countries such as the United Kingdom and Malaysia, Islamic Banking has been taken up by non-Muslims because its proposition fits well with customer requirements.
KCB will roll this out to seven branch centers which are KCB Kilindini, KCB Kimathi, KCB Eastleigh, KCB Garissa, KCB Lamu, KCB Mvita and KCB Mwembe Tayari. The team is in place to facilitate the implementation of KCB Sahal Banking product for Muslims and non-Muslim customers.
According to the latest census statistics, over 10 per cent of the Kenyan population are Muslims, who prefer these solutions. KCB is the largest bank in the region in terms of asset base and branch network and has a presence in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan and Burundi. The bank has already rolled out Islamic Banking products and services in one of its subsidiaries namely KCB Bank Tanzania.