Russian-Led Development Bank Plans to Expand Islamic Financing

Eurasian Development Bank, a Russian-led lender backed by six former Soviet republics, wants to expand Shariah-compliant financing after helping arrange a deal last year, Chief Executive Officer Igor Finogenov said.

“Islamic finance is an opportunity for us to enter new credit markets,” Finogenov told reporters in Moscow today. “We hope it will allow us to diversify our liability base.”

The bank is looking to boost lending that complies with Islam’s ban on interest after serving as mandated lead arranger for a $60 million syndicated Murabaha facility for Kazan, Russia-based AK Bars Bank in September. The Almaty-based development bank was founded by Russia and Kazakhstan in 2006 and also includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

“We’re a Eurasian bank, and many of our member countries are in areas that are traditionally close to Islamic culture,” Finogenov said. That raises “the possibility of finding projects that meet the criteria required for Islamic finance.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Scott Rose in Moscow at rrose10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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