The Islamic Bank That's Escaping the Downturn; in Association with WWW.Wilkes.Co.UK LEGAL BANKING Western Chaos Is Prompting Interest in Other Methods

The Birmingham Post (England), February 18, 2009 | Go to article overview

The Islamic Bank That's Escaping the Downturn; in Association with WWW.Wilkes.Co.UK LEGAL BANKING Western Chaos Is Prompting Interest in Other Methods


Byline: TOMS COTNEY Legal & Finance Editor

A Midlands firm of solicitors has set up a new department to deal with the booming Islamic finance sector.

Alsters Kelley, which has offices in Coventry, Leamington and Nuneaton, is providing legal advice in support of Sharia-compliant financing, which has become far more popular in recent years.

Sharia-compliant financing is based on Islamic laws which forbid charging or receiving interest on money and this had led to it being seen as a more reliable form of doing business, as loans cannot be made without tangible collateral.

Nadeem Yousef, of Alsters Kelley, believes Sharia-compliant finance is becoming increasingly popular. He said: "The British Treasury approved Sharia-compliant financial products such as mortgages and investments a couple of years ago and Islamic banking has been on the rise ever since.

"Recently, a growing number of non-Muslims have also been turning to Islamic banking because customers made wary by the chaos in the Western banking system see this sector as being largely insulated from the credit crisis.

"In the past, many of our clients have faced the difficulty of raising finance - usually for the purchase of a property or business venture - in a way that is compliant with Sharia law.

"That's why we have set up a department to deal specifically with these requirements.

NatWest has recently launched Islamic Sharia commercial property mortgages while HSBC has been offering a wide range of Islamic finance products for some time.

"The Midlands, with its multicultural population and strong ties with emerging markets in India and China, can be a real champion of this type of finance but it's critical that there is a full and proper understanding of how Sharia finance works. …

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