| KUALA LUMPUR, March 30
KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 Maybank Islamic Bhd, the
Islamic unit of Malaysia's largest bank, is turning to what it
considers its home markets for growth, in particularly Indonesia
where it manages $2 billion worth of assets and is aiming to
compete head-on with domestic Islamic banks.
The bank could grow beyond its core markets of Malaysia,
Singapore and Indonesia, but expansion in other markets would be
opportunistic, chief executive officer Mohamed Rafique Merican
He said that the bank will focus on domestic growth in the
three core markets "while drawing liquidity and funding from
opportunistic markets such as the Middle East, Turkey, and other
ASEAN markets...such as Brunei and the Philippines".
Presently, Maybank Islamic has not tapped the Philippines
market although its parent, Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank)
already has a presence there.
"We expect ASEAN's growth will generate significant demand
for sharia-compliant products and services especially within the
core economies of Indonesia and Malaysia in which we are present
and are leaders in this industry," he added.
Indonesia remains a key market for the bank, after Malaysia
which accounts for 90 percent of the bank's business.
"We see quite a number of positive developments for the
sharia banking industry there," Rafique said, noting that the
Indonesian government intends to grow Islamic assets in the
banking industry from a five percent share to about 15 percent.
"We already have representation there, and we feel that we
have a compelling proposition, so we would want to have the
ability to compete as if we are a local player," Rafique said.
As part of wider integration efforts through the ASEAN
banking integration framework (ABIF), Indonesia and Malaysia
have agreed in August to give their banks greater access to each
The move would give Malaysia's Islamic banks a potential
lead to tap into the world's biggest Muslim-majority country,
and one that continues to restrict to foreign lenders.
Rafique said the bank has also had discussions with
regulators around ASEAN, who are keen to promote Islamic banking
products in specific regions where the communities are largely
In Malaysia, Islamic banking assets made up 23 percent of
the total industry assets at end-2016. Maybank Islamic leads
with a 30 percent market share.
The bank also takes top spot globally as a
ringgit-denominated sukuk issuer, with a global market share of
27 percent. It has a 13 percent global market share of all sukuk
"(As our) outlook for 2017 is better, growth should be
stronger, like in the years prior to 2016," Rafique said.
Maybank Islamic saw total financing growth of 20 percent in
(Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Eric Meijer)