Islamic Bank of Britain eyes new business

Updated 24 June 2014

Islamic Bank of Britain eyes new business

LONDON: Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), the country’s only Shariah-compliant retail lender, plans to broaden its product range to win business both locally and across Europe, aided by the backing of its new Qatari shareholder.
IBB is developing its commercial property business to widen fee-based income as it aims to post a profit for the first time, newly-appointed CEO Sultan Choudhury said.
“The acquisition was a watershed moment for us, what it means is that we will be adjusting the direction of IBB. We will shift to a much stronger focus on commercial banking,” said Choudhury, who previously served as interim managing director.
The lender was acquired in January by Masraf Al-Rayan, Qatar’s largest Islamic bank by market value, which in February injected 75.8 million pounds ($129 million) into IBB to support its expansion plans.
Birmingham-based IBB has around 50,000 customers and 380 million pounds worth of retail deposits, but it has struggled to turn a profit since its inception in 2004.
That could soon change as its property finance business has doubled in size in the last year, which could allow IBB to expand later into Europe, said Choudhury, adding its retail operations would remain focused in the UK.
“Clearly that is the objective (to break even) no only in the medium term but also in the short term, and we are on course to do that.”
IBB also aims to buy some of the 200 million pounds of sukuk that the British government will issue this week, a much needed sterling-denominated liquidity tool for the bank.
Choudhury said he hoped demand would be such that the government would consider a future issuance, which could be facilitated through the use of a different sukuk structure.
Britain’s maiden sukuk will use an ijara structure, a Shariah-compliant sale and lease-back contract, allowing the rental income of three central government offices to underpin the transaction.
But a structure known as wakala, or agency agreement, could side-step the need to find unencumbered government assets, instead securitizing cash flows from roads or bridges, he said.


Apple, Google drop Fortnite from app stores over payments

Updated 14 August 2020

Apple, Google drop Fortnite from app stores over payments

  • Google said Fortnite will remain available on Android, just not through its app store
  • Apple and Google both take a 30% cut from in-app revenue purchases in games

NEW YORK: Apple and Google dropped the popular game Fortnite from their app stores after the game’s developer introduced a direct payment plan that bypasses their platforms.
Apple and Google both take a 30% cut from in-app revenue purchases in games, which has long been a sore spot with developers.
Fortnite is free, but users can pay for in game accoutrements like weapons and skins. Its developer, Epic Games, said in a blog post Thursday that it was introducing Epic Direct payments, a direct payment plan for Apple’s iOS and Google Play. Epic said the system is the same payment system it already uses to process payments on PC and Mac computers and Android phones.
Apple and Google said the service violates their guidelines.
“Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines regarding in-app payments that apply to every developer who sells digital goods or services,” Apple said in statement.
Google said Fortnite will remain available on Android, just not through its app store. Android users can download the app from other app stores, although that’s generally not an option for iPhone users.
Epic Games did not immediately return a request for comment. Epic’s Fortnite Twitter account said the company would debut a new short film called “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite,” a seeming parody of Apple’s iconic “1984” commercial that introduced the Macintosh computer. It has also filed a complaint against Apple in the US District Court in Northern California for dropping Fortnite.