Islami Bank Bangladesh plans ATM, debit card expansion
Pioneer Islamic bank Islami Bank Bangladesh is planning a rapid expansion of its ATM network, using a platform for its debit cards and ATMs provided by tech firm ElectraCard Services.
Created in 1983, the bank was the first Islamic bank in Southeast Asia and has 281 branches in Bangladesh. The deal with ElectraCard Services involved migrating all debit cards and ATMs from the bank’s legacy platform over a period of four weeks, onto the vendor’s electra iTx platform. The idea was to give the bank more control over the application and reduce the time to market for new services.
Effectively, Islami Bank Bangladesh implemented card management from ECS, which it hopes will support its plans to add more ATMs, start Visa issuance and acquiring, and add new delivery channels, BNAs and kiosks. Local support will be provided by Bangladeshi IT company Biometic.BD.
“We are delighted to partner with one of the oldest and finest banks in Bangladesh,” said Ramesh Mengawade, chief executive at ElectraCard Services. “We understand the banking demands of a fast growing and emerging market, whose customers expect the latest and best in technology and security. It is important to preempt customer expectations and cater to a futuristic and dynamic market. Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited selected electra as its payment platform to strengthen its retail payment services with a comprehensive, secure and scalable solution.”
Islamic banking follows a set of Sharia principles. These prohibit the bank from charging interest, and specify that products must be based on a real underlying asset, such as a commodity. In addition, the bank is prohibited from dealing with any products related to gambling, alcohol, tobacco and pork. Islamic banking also encourages collective initiatives such as profit-sharing enterprises.
Earlier this year, the Bangladeshi government approved nine new banks as part of a drive to encourage greater financial inclusion and GDP growth; these included South Bangla Agriculture & Commerce Bank, which installed a core banking system built by Temenos in April. Meanwhile in May, the country’s largest state-owned bank, Sonali Bank, introduced a core banking system from Indian technology company Polaris Financial Technology.