Lawmakers urged to pass law for full-fledged Islamic banks


Posted at May 15 2018 12:51 PM | Updated as of May 15 2018 01:54 PM

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MANILA - A financial expert on Tuesday urged lawmakers to pass a regulation governing the operations of full-fledged Islamic banks in the country to tap the sector of "unbanked" Muslims and attract foreign investors.

Once in place, the law upholding Islamic financing services could also help tap the $3.3-trillion global Halal market that is dominated by the banking and financial industries, Jamel Cayamodin told ANC's Early Edition. 

He said at least 89 percent of the Bangsamoro in the Philippines are unbanked.

"Sometimes they just kept their money at home or somewhere else because of the fact that they avoid engaging in interest-based banks or interest-based business or transaction," Cayamodin said.

"Can you imagine the potential of the Islamic bank here in the country? We saw a lot of cash [during the Marawi siege]," he added.
Cayamodin said Islamic banks differ from conventional banks because they do not earn from interest and observe profit and loss sharing practices, among others. 

Because of these, Islamic banks cannot fully operate under the guidance of conventional institutions such as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) without a law that specifically applies to the system. 

"This [law] will give opportunity for the country to accommodate some foreign Islamic banks to operate in the country. Without that law, then it’s difficult," Cayamodin said.