During an official visit by Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri to Turkey to meet his counterpart President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and discuss bilateral cooperation, two entities signed an agreement to establish Turkey’s first Islamic digital bank.
Malaysian conglomerate Boustead Holdings, which operates businesses in the financial services, real estate and agricultural sectors among others, signed an MoU with Turkey’s Great East Capital (GEC) to establish an Islamic neobank.
Boustead has some experience in the Islamic banking landscape, being the parent company of Affin Bank and its Shariah arm, Affin Islamic Bank.
GEC, which focuses on information technology investments, is currently applying for a digital banking license from the Turkish regulators, Izaddeen Daud, the deputy group managing director of Boustead, told the media during the signing ceremony.
“Our partnership with GEC (and jointly establishing an Islamic neobank) is a strategic investment for Boustead to expand into Turkey and the wider European market,” Izaddeen said.
Umut Tekin, the founder of GEC, noted: “Malaysia is the world’s largest Islamic finance ecosystem and Turkey has a lot to learn from it, especially on our journey to establishing the very first Turkish Islamic digital bank.”
The neobank is hoped to be set up by the first quarter of 2023, Umut told Bernama, adding that one of GEC’s long-term plans is to set up a digital bank in Malaysia as well.