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NBP eyes Burj Bank

img_0178The National Bank of Pakistan plans to conduct due diligence on Islamic lender Burj Bank subject to regulatory approval. Burj Bank is the smallest of five full-fledged Islamic banks in Pakistan, it held assets worth Rs 53.3 billion ($547 million) as of December, and would help NBP ramp up its presence in the sector. Islamic banking is expanding on the back of several initiatives by regulators, aiming to double the branch network of Islamic banks and grow their share of the overall banking sector to 15% by 2017. As of March, Pakistan had five full-fledged Islamic banks and 15 others offering Islamic banking products. They held a combined Rs 1.1 trillion ($11.1 billion) worth of assets or 9.4% of the total in the system. Bahrain’s Bank Alkhair is the largest shareholder of Burj Bank, with a 37.9% stake which it has classified as held-for-sale since 2012.

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