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Kenyan Islamic bank Gulf says swings to Q1 profit
Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2010 @ 17:56:59 CDT by kwpnews


NAIROBI  (Reuters) - Kenyan Islamic bank Gulf African posted a pretax profit of 25 million shillings ($312,500) in the first three months of the year, putting it on course for its first full-year profit, its chief executive said on Thursday.

Islamic finance is seeking to expand beyond its main centres in the Gulf Arab region and Southeast Asia to tap into Muslim minorities and non-Muslims in Western and African countries.

Banks compliant with sharia law like Gulf African, which was launched in early 2008, cater to customers who want to follow Islamic rules on avoiding direct payment or earning of interest, which are viewed as usury under Islamic law. An estimated 15 percent of Kenya's population of 36 million is Muslim.

"We seem to be on track to have a good year. After the first quarter we are doing ok now," CEO Najmul Hassan told Reuters by phone.

Hassan also said the the bank would open two more branches in a month, bringing the total network to 14 branches.

"It shows that the market is doing well and that the market has really accepted Gulf African. It will help us pursue growth because this is a successful model," he said.

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