Image Credit: DIB

Dubai: Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), the largest Islamic Bank in the UAE on Tuesday said that it has been given a licence by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) to operate its subsidiary, DIB Kenya Ltd.

In a statement to the Dubai Financial Market where DIB shares are listed, the bank said it received the CBK approval on April 28, 2017.

With the launch of DIB Kenya, the total number of banking institutions in the East African nation will go up to 43 according to CBK. The central bank had suspended the licensing of new banks on November 17, 2015, saying it needed to strengthen oversight.

“The licence has been granted under Sections 4 and 5 of the Banking Act after fulfilment of the stipulated requirements. DIB intends to exclusively offer Sharia compliant banking services in Kenya,” CBK said in a statement.

DIB Kenya will offer Islamic banking services in the country, where Muslims account for about 10 per cent of the population of about 44 million.

Kenyan press reported last week that DIB’s entry into Kenya will shake up the Islamic banking business in the country. Kenya had only two fully-fledged Islamic banks until recently, while five other conventional lenders have been offering Sharia-compliant services and products through ‘Islamic windows’.

The CBK said in a statement on last Friday that DIB intends to exclusively offer Sharia compliant banking services in Kenya. “It becomes the third fully Sharia compliant bank to be licensed in Kenya, after Gulf African Bank Limited in 2007 and First Community Bank Limited in 2008,” said CBK adding that DIBs entry is expected to expand offerings in the market, particularly in the nascent Sharia compliant banking.

In March this year DIB launched Panin Dubai Syariah Bank in Indonesia, following its acquisition of 40 per cent shares in PT Bank Panin Syariah Tbk. The bank was rebranded to Panin Dubai Syariah Bank (PDSB), marking DIB’s first entry into the Asia-Pacific region.

DIB reported a group net profit of Dh1.04 billion for the first quarter ended March, up 4 per cent compared to Dh1 billion for the same period in 2016. Banks’ Net financing assets rose to Dh121.4 billion at the close of first quarter 2017, up by 6 per cent compared to Dh114.9 billion at the end of 2016.