This paper studies the current realities of the Islamic banking system of Brunei Darussalam from the perspective of the theories of modern financial intermediation and Islamic financial contracting. The limited information on the banking system of Brunei Darussalam reveals that the first phase of the Islamic banking experimentation has been successful, as Islamic banks command roughly 11.5 per cent of the market share. The financial services industry, however, remains extremely competitive and Islamic banks face formidable challenges from conventional banks. Islamic banks can proliferate if they: advance towards the second phase by gradually consolidating retail banking with investment banking; establish vital links with local and foreign institutions; and use ijtihad in modern financial engineering to optimally design loans while simultaneously reducing their risk exposure. An efficient Islamic financial system can allocate limited capital resources to the most profitable ventures and assist in wealth creation. This can foster the growth not only of Negara Brunei Darussalam but also of the regional economies, particularly at this crucial juncture when Asian economies are reeling from the current financial crisis.
International Journal of Social Economics – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 1, 2001
Keywords: Banking; Financial services; Financial institutions; Banks; Islam
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