CBE Rebuts Receiving Requests for Islamic Banking Licences

Egypt’s Central Bank has not received any recent requests from local banks for a licence to provide Shariah-compliant banking services, deputy governor Gamal Negm said on Thursday.

Speaking to Amwal Al Ghad on the sidelines of SMEs conference taking place on 27-29 March in Sharm El Sheikh, Negm elaborated that granting Islamic banking licences in the meantime is ‘ineffective’ amid ongoing sluggish demand for such services.

The CBE’s current policy prohibits granting more licences to traditional banks seeking to provide Islamic services to its customers, the top official noted. However, it is permissible for those banks to acquire other banks which enjoyed Islamic service licences.

This comes amid recent media reports claimed that 4 banks, Alex Bank Intesa Sanpaolo, Ahli United Bank, Industrial Development and Workers Bank of Egypt, and Export Development Bank of Egypt submitted requests to the CBE for the Islamic banking licences, yet received no response.