Delayed by Covid-19, the central bank of Australia plans to license the country’s first Islamic bank in early 2021. The Islamic Bank of Australia (IBA) will offer sharia-compliant home and SME financing. The new lender will be fully digital except for HQs in Sydney.
“We have a low-cost approach and are primarily cloud-focused, therefore we can keep our costs low and get to profit faster,” CEO Dean Gillespie told Islamic finance online media Salaam Gateway.
Gillespie says there is already a long waiting list of clients. IBA will target Australia’s growing Muslim population but also non-Muslims who are looking for ethical financing tools.
Australian Muslim investors brought 50% of IBA’s $14.6 million seed capital while anonymous UAE-based investors provided the rest. The new bank is in the process of raising more capital from the Middle East and Asia.
Australia already welcomes $2 billion of sharia-compliant assets. Some local banks offer Islamic products and services, notably home mortgages.