First Islamic bank, Al Rayan, opens in Scotland

Al Rayan Bank already has about 2,000 customers in Scotland. Picture: John Devlin

Al Rayan Bank already has about 2,000 customers in Scotland. Picture: John Devlin

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The first wholly Sharia law compliant retail bank in Scotland has opened for business with a branch in Glasgow.

Birmingham-based Al Rayan Bank, which already has around 2,000 customers in Scotland, has set up the office at the Fitzroy Place premises of the Islamic Finance Council UK.

This announcement reflects Scotland’s growing profile in ­ethical finance

Keith Brown

Chief executive Sultan Choudhury said: “We have many Scottish customers, who in the past have managed their accounts through our online and telephone banking channels, so it’s with a real sense of pride that we can now welcome existing and new customers to our first permanent office in Scotland.”

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Keith Brown, cabinet secretary for economy, jobs and fair work, said: “This announcement reflects Scotland’s growing profile in ­ethical finance, building on last year’s successful Global Ethical Finance Forum and the work being done by the Edinburgh-based Ethical Finance Hub.”

Although specialising in Islamic finance, Al Rayan Bank is open to customers of all faiths. The bank estimates that 94 per cent of all fixed-term deposit savings customers who have joined the bank this year were non-Muslim. As a Sharia-compliant bank, it cannot deal with businesses that are considered unlawful under Sharia including those involved in alcohol, gambling, pornography, tobacco and arms.

The bank, which is a subsidiary of Qatar-based Islamic bank Masraf Al Rayan, has 70,000 customers in the UK.

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