Al Rayan Bank increases real estate financing for GCC customers

25 October 2015

Al Rayan Bank PLC has revealed that it has experienced significant growth in the volume of property transactions it has financed in the UK in 2015, particularly from individuals from the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) region, whose financing increased by 131% from September 2014 to September 2015. This announcement comes just four months after the Bank opened its exclusive Private Banking Branch in Knightsbridge, to serve its Premier and Private Banking clients from the GCC.

With political and economic instability in other parts of the world, investment in London and UK property remains an excellent choice for overseas investors looking for a potential ‘safe haven.’ The city has long been a popular destination for GCC visitors, thanks to a number of factors including favourable air links, internationally renowned attractions, and its shops: the city has the greatest number of international retailers in Europe.

According to research by CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm, US$11.5 billion of capital has been invested by the Middle East into global real estate globally in the first six months of 2015. Nearly a quarter – 24 per cent – of this investment was made in London. Figures for the whole of 2014 reveal an even greater share for London, at 32 per cent.*

Sultan Choudhury, CEO, Al Rayan Bank said, “Middle Eastern wealth is increasingly mobile and GCC investors are naturally drawn to London, with many individuals purchasing property either for investment or as a holiday home. The fact that an increasing number of these investors are choosing Al Rayan Bank for real estate finance is evidence of our strong product range and the superb service that we provide through our Knightsbridge branch. This is driving the unprecedented growth of the Bank’s GCC business.”

Al Rayan Bank also offers Commercial Property Finance (CPF) for GCC applicants, as well as home finance and CPF for UK residents and businesses. In addition the Bank provides a wide range of personal and business savings accounts. Al Rayan Bank has grown significantly in recent years and is on course to deliver its strongest financial performance ever in 2015. Last year, the Bank’s operating income increased by 168%, its customer financing by 86% and its retail deposits by 59%, all of which helped to help generate an after tax profit of £1.2 million.

Al Rayan Bank is a Sharia compliant bank, founded on faith-based, ethical principles that are derived from trade, entrepreneurship and risk-sharing, in which the customer and bank work together as partners towards a mutually profitable end. These principles prohibit the Bank from investing savers’ deposits in unethical activities such as gambling, pornography, speculation, tobacco, arms and other commodities not in keeping with the values of Islam.

The parent company of Al Rayan Bank is Masraf Al Rayan QSC (MAR), a Qatar-based Islamic bank providing banking, financial, investment and brokerage services through a network of branches across Qatar. It is the second largest Islamic bank in Qatar by market value. MAR is listed on the Qatar Exchange and its top 20 shareholders are blue chips in the Qatar investment, corporate and high net worth community.

*Source: CBRE http://www.cbre.com/en/research-and-reports

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