This article shines the spotlight on upcoming French Islamic neobank, Mizen.
“Despite having the biggest proportion of Muslims in the west, France has almost no Islamic finance services for retail clients. We wanted to enter the the market with the most basic financial need — a Halal account and payment card,” Hichame Metatla, CEO of Mizen, tells IFN.
In its beta testing stage, the bank is supervised by an independent administrative authority under the central bank called the Authorite de Controle Prudentiel et de Resolution.
Targeting European Muslims, Mizen will offer payment account and debit card services. The neobank has also built a waiting list of an estimated 15,000 prospective clients who will be onboarded over the next few months.
“The demand for Islamic products is not an issue; the real problem however is the perceived reputation risk when launching Islamic products in France. We say perceived as from our perspective we prefer to see that as an incredible and rare opportunity,” Hichame says.
Despite facing several challenges such as picking the right investors and employees, Mizen believes that being a fully-fledged Islamic neobank is quite a strong differentiator, especially in France.
France is home to an estimated 5.7 million Muslims and is dubbed as having one of the largest Muslim populations in Western Europe. In 2017, Paris EUROPLACE established the Islamic Finance Commission. Since then, the Autorite des marches financiers has issued two positions allowing Shariah compliant investment funds and Sukuk listings.
The French regulatory authorities have taken a lot of steps to encourage Islamic finance in the country. One of the initiatives made by the French government was in July 2010 where the regulator rectified its laws in order to ease Sukuk issuances.
The bank encourages the competitive nature of the industry as it believes that it will drive Mizen to do better which will ultimately benefit the end customer and the Ummah in general.
Mizen also believes that being Shariah compliant will help the entity to bring more transparency in this industry.
“Our official launch is in a few weeks. We are also in the last step in finalizing our first financing products. I am unable to reveal further information on it for now, but it will certainly be a real game changer for Muslims in Europe.
“If we keep our current trajectory, we will also likely fundraise an important round in the next nine months,” Hichame explains.