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Islamic Banking Financing Rate not competitive ?
This article will respond to the above-mentioned critic. To begin, lets look at the following facts:-
1) The priceless value of Halal
A Muslim entrepreneur once told me about his experience in London where the price of a slaughtered chicken is much higher than the one, which is not being slaughtered and that Muslims consistently kept buying the expensive slaughtered chicken in order to ensure that their food are halal.
The above analogy shows that even though the Islamic Banks’ products are quite expensive (for some products only). However these are priced as such considering that these products have gone through the Shariah screening process and verified as halal.
On the other hand, although Muslim nowadays are very much concern of not eating pork (khinzir) or non-slaughtered chickens and etc, there are those that seems to pay less attention to their income, whether it is coming from halal sources or not and not hesitant to use the not halal income to purchase their daily foodstuff which according to Shariah is prohibited, similar to the prohibition of eating non-slaughtered chicken.
2) The Professional Shariah Screening and Auditing.
3) The highly potential players in the market.
Deliberating her point, Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Zeti adds that: “Bank Negara Malaysia, in charting the next stage of development for the Islamic Banking industry; envisage that the relative significance of their market share will increase to 20% by the year 2010.”
Thus, as the small players continue to grow, the financing rates offered may be averagely higher than those of the large and well-established players. This situation is equitable to the prices offered by retail seller and hypermarket, whereby retail seller’s price is higher as compared to hypermarket prices.
4) Lastly, it is important to understand that the financing rate charged by the Islamic Banks today is actually low and competitive to the rate offered by the Conventional Banks. Furthermore, if one detailed out the calculations, it may reveal that Islamic Banks are actually offering comparatively lower rate, for example when comparing between Interest rate offered by Conventional Banks in their Home loan products and profit rate from the Home Financing-i under Bai’ Bithaman Ajil (BBA) concept by Islamic Banks. One will learn that, Home-Financing-i offers fixed selling prices and the contractual profit rate (under this concept) will never change from the beginning of the payment period to the last settlement by the customer.
On the other hand, the home loan offered by Conventional banks are seemingly very attractive as the rate charged in the first year is relatively low. However, the rate for the remaining years will fluctuate as it is dependence on the Base Lending Rate (BLR) in the market. For example if the current BLR is 6 %, therefore the rate is equal to 6.25 % as the rate is equal to BLR + 0.25 %. What if BLR rises to 11 % or higher as has happened in the past Malaysian economic crisis ?
On the contrary, this will not occur in Islamic Banks’ because the selling price has already been fixed and agreed in the contractual agreement by both parties. The Islamic Banks’ profit rate does not have any relation to the BLR rate, thus it will not increase. In fact, it may even be reduced if the Islamic Banks were to provide rebate (ibra’).
We can now see competitive profit rate from Islamic Banks as the Islamic market reaches critical mass such as Car Financing-i under Al-Ijarah Thumma Al-Bai’ (AITAB) concept whereby customers are offered 2.5 % for the imported cars, which is very competitive if not better than the current interest rate offered by Conventional Banks.
In conclusion, considerations and supports from all are essentially needed to enable Islamic Banks to reach and go beyond the target set up by government. If we are willing to make the sacrifice today, we will not regret to see that our future generations will be able to enjoy competitive Islamic Banking products with very competitive pricing besides the assurance and guarantee that it is halal.