KUALA LUMPUR: Small Medium Enterprise Development Bank Malaysia Bhd (SME Bank) is getting closer to reaching its target of turning into a full-fledged syariah development finance institution (DFI) with its Islamic financing portfolio now standing at 86.5% amounting to RM4.31bil.
The target is to achieve 90% Islamic financing portfolio by December 2015. When SME Bank was set up in October 2005, the Islamic financing portfolio was only 15%.
In a statement on Thursday, group managing director Datuk Mohd Radzif Mohd Yunus said the bank took a wholesome approach in planning and executing the transformation.
“The key focus areas include ensuring the staff are given sufficient exposure to gain the necessary skills and experience in managing the banks Islamic Finance portfolio,” he said.
Mohd Radzif said convincing customers to switch to Islamic financing was not a major challenge as Islamic finance provided the assurance of fairness for all and that transactions were based on genuine business activity or asset and it prohibited any speculative practices.
“Continuous engagement was done in addition to offering loyal customers no moving cost, unchanged monthly payments as well as unchanged terms. These efforts have translated into high percentage of conversion that the bank has recorded,” he said.
SME Bank, through its unit, Centre for Entrepreneur Research and Development Sdn Bhd, and Islamic Banking and Finance Institute of Malaysia, developed and conducted the Chartered Islamic Development Banker programme.
The programme, which is the first of its kind in the industry, is aimed at producing well-trained, highly competent personnel and executives with the required skills in shariah-based development banking.
A total of 487 SME Bank staff passed the Certified Islamic Development Banker Level 1 and 202 staff have passed the Professional Islamic Development Banker Level 2.
From this number, 296 staff have graduated and became the first batch to complete this programme. - Bernama