Ummah Finance rebrands; expects to launch in Q1 of 2019

A London-based Islamic digital banking start-up has undergone a rebranding exercise after securing strategic investment from an investor, allowing the firm to build its technology infrastructure to commence operations by March 2019. 

MoneeMint, which debuted as Ummah Finance last year, has onboarded a strategic investor, Ground One Ventures, which has committed technology assets to fast-track the start-up’s roadmap delivery.

“We are going back to the drawing board, looking at each and every aspect of customers’ current banking journey, the hardship they face and changing it fundamentally from [the] ground up — giving our customers the freshest banking experience,” said Hassan Waqar, the co-founder of MoneeMint.

The start-up’s strategy overhaul — a new name with a wider mandate that broadens its Islamic focus to include an ethical flavor — is expected to facilitate its outreach to not only the estimated and growing 26 million-strong Muslim population in Europe but also non-Muslim customers with its digital banking proposition grounded in transparency and cost efficiency.

IFN understands the firm is looking to incorporate blockchain and artificial intelligence technology into the delivery system of its Shariah compliant financial products.
Should the firm, which has formed a new board of directors to include seasoned Islamic fintech investors such as Raheel Iqbal, representing Ground One Ventures, and Alpesh Doshi, CEO of Fintricity, begin operations in the first quarter of next year, it would be one of the first to actually serve the European market with Muslim-friendly banking instruments on a digital-only platform. In September, Istanbul-headquartered Albaraka Turk Participation Bank, in cooperation with Berlin-based solarisBank, introduced Insha — an interest-free virtual banking platform — in Germany. In Manchester in the UK, another Islamic digital banking start-up has been set up this year.

Challenger banks, while a rising phenomenon in the UK and wider Europe, have largely excluded Muslims whose faith prohibits interest. The arrival of Islamic challenger banks could be instrumental in involving European Muslim individuals in the Islamic banking sector, whom traditional brick and mortar banks – largely concentrated in the UK – have struggled to reach due to the fragmented spread of Muslims in the region.

Although an Islamic finance hub of the western world, London’s Islamic banks, for the most part, serve the corporate and institutional market. Outside of London, very few banks cater to the retail Muslim market — in Germany, there is only one Islamic bank, KT Bank, while efforts to launch a fully-fledged Islamic bank out of Luxembourg have struggled to take off. 

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