Qatar conventional banks to close down Islamic branches by end of 2011
Ahram Online, Monday 7 Feb 2011
The Central Bank of Qatar has asked conventional banks in the country to close down their Islamic banking branches by the end of 2011

Circulars issued by the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) to the concerned banking entities say they have enough time on their hands to wind up their Shariah-compliant banking activities. The reason given was that commercial banks are ‘mixing up’ Islamic and conventional banking activities, reports Beltone Financial in a press release today.

The clients of the branches targeted for closure would not be affected as their accounts would be transferred to Islamic banks, Beltone confirms.

Banks that have been notified to close their Islamic banking branches include QNB, Commercial Bank of Qatar, Doha Bank, IBQ, HSBC, Ahli Bank and Alkhaliji. These banks have around 16 branches entirely devoted to Shariah-compliant banking that have a client base of around 70,000 to 80,000.

The release added that the Islamic banking branches of conventional banks have significantly large deposits.

The central bank of Qatar noted that there are still negotiations between banks and the regulator and the decision will not be final until the end of this week. However, if the regulator finalizes the decision, the impact will not be on the figures of 2011, but on 2012, going forward.