Amman Muhammad joins First National Bank (FNB) after serving as MD of Absa Islamic Banking, pledges to make FNB the dominant Islamic bank
BY SURE KAMHUNGA
THE former head of Absa ’s Islamic banking unit, Amman Muhammad, has joined rival First National Bank (FNB) and has pledged to make it dominant in Islamic banking in SA.
Mr Muhammad last week said his vision was also to spearhead FNB’s Islamic banking business in sub-Saharan Africa, targeting markets where SA’s third-largest bank already had operations or intended to expand into.
FNB has more than 8-million customers in SA and retail branches in seven African countries, but it does not give a breakdown for Islamic banking.
Until earlier this month, Mr Muhammad was the MD of Absa Islamic Banking which, for the third year running, was ranked as the world’s best Islamic financial institution in the non-Gulf Middle East and Africa by the publication Global Finance.
"FNB Islamic Finance has a sound track record in the provision of alternative products to the Muslim community," Mr Muhammad said. "I am very excited to begin work with the FNB Islamic finance team in setting the strategy to dominate the South African market and to propel the offering onto the continent."
He said Africa provided a big opportunity with a significant Muslim population. "The pockets of wealth in these countries are predominately owned by Muslim entrepreneurs and high net-worth individuals, so the need to provide an appropriate product through the right service model is obvious," Mr Muhammad said.
FNB is expected to expand its Islamic banking business into Tanzania, which has a large Muslim population and where FNB has a new retail operation.
Mr Muhammad has more than 18 years’ experience in financial services and is an active member of the Banking Association of SA committee on Islamic banking and of the Treasury’s working group considering legislation for Islamic banks in SA. - BUSINESSDAY