KCB appoints scholars to head Islamic Banking Advisory team

KCB Group Chairman, Ngeny Biwott (left) and KCB Group CEO Joshua Oigara listen to Sheikh Ibrahim Lethome, a member of the KCB Sahl Banking giving his remarks during the inauguration of the committee on Tuesday. (Image: Courtesy)

KCB Group has picked three Islamic banking experts to run the Bank’s Sharia Advisory Committee, heightening the lender’s roll-out of the Islamic banking services in Kenya.

The scholars and religious leaders include Sheikh Ahmed M. Msallam, Sheikh Ibrahim Lethome and Dr. Ahmed Sheikh Abdualatif Osman.

The formal appointment of the Sharia Advisory Committee marks a major milestone as KCB finalises the architecture for its Islamic banking products and services to ensure they are in line with the regulatory framework, which will be available from November 1.

KCB Group Chairman Ngeny Biwott said the appointment of the committee will give the bank the much needed support to successfully venture into Islamic finance, while assuring the team of scholars of independence to execute their mandate.

“We want to give the committee the independence to approve, supervise and audit the products and services. As a bank, we want to refine our originality and set standards in Islamic finance,” said Mr Biwott.

The Shariah Advisory Committee’s role is to approve our products, offer Shariah advisory services, train and help in capacity building of staff on Shariah matters and exercise oversight and audit our Shariah structures, processes and practices.

KCB Group CEO Joshua Oigara said KCB hopes to use the Islamic banking proposition to deepen the bank’s financial inclusion agenda that progressively looks at incorporating products and services to reach out to the unbanked population.

“Now that they have signed the contracts and individual letters of appointment, the scholars have already issued certificates confirming the Shariah compliance of the already developed products before we roll out the same to the market as from November 1st 2014” said Mr Oigara.

Mr Oigara said the bank will work with the team of Shariah scholars and religious leaders to ensure ongoing Shariah compliance of KCB Sahl Banking, which is headed by Jaafar sheikh Abdulkadir.

“We believe the role these scholars play is far more fundamental to ensure that we maintain the principles on which this product rests,” he said adding the KCB Islamic banking targets both Muslims and non-Muslims.

In countries such as the United Kingdom and Malaysia, Islamic Banking has been taken up by non-Muslims because its proposition fits well with customer requirements.

KCB Bank Tanzania is already offering Islamic banking services which is well supported with the regulatory framework that is in place in the country.

“We have started on the right footing and we will add value to the products KCB will be rolling out under this window. We will invest in information so that the products and services reach our clients” said Sheikh Ahmed M. Msallam, a member of the committee.