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Islamic finance: Size will matter in Islamic banking

Data from the Islamic Finance Information Service indicate that rapid growth of Shariah-compliant banking comes mostly from a low base. Is the sector set for a wave of consolidation as organic growth slows? Chris Wright reports.

Top 50 Islamic Banks

Fastest Growing Islamic Banks by Net Income

Fastest Growing Islamic Banks by Assets

Top 10 Islamic banks
Figures in $ at December 31 2007
Rank Country of incorporation Bank Total assets 2007
1 Saudi Arabia Al Rajhi Bank 33,372,165,720
2 Kuwait Kuwait Finance House 32,103,331,547
3 UAE Dubai Islamic Bank 22,803,738,851
4 Qatar Qatar Islamic Bank (Al Masraf) 5,877,150,653
5 Malaysia Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad 5,772,492,125
6 Saudi Arabia Aljazira Bank 5,762,328,873
7 UAE Emirates Islamic Bank 4,616,888,499
8 Saudi Arabia Albilad Bank 4,445,428,630
9 Malaysia Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd 4,170,517,368
10 Bahrain Ithmaar Bank 4,078,789,000
Source: IFIS

THERE ARE 300 Islamic banks operating in the world today. But this statistic, ubiquitous in presentations about the growth of Islamic banking, is not an entirely positive number: it’s far too high.

Islamic banking is enormously fragmented. At the top end, there are: Al Rajhi Bank, with $33.3

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