EXCLUSIVE: Yaqeen Bank, a relatively new player on the Libyan market, has signed with Oracle FSS to use Flexcube as its core platform and Oracle Banking Digital Experience for digital channels.

The bank was one of three new Islamic players given licences to open in Libya in 2014. Libya’s newly founded General National Congress passed an Islamic banking law at the start of 2013 that introduced an immediate ban on the levying of interest on retail customers and set a 2015 deadline for the entire financial system to become Shariah-compliant.

“Choosing the right digital-focused Shariah-compliant technology was the cornerstone for our entry into the Libyan market,” says Hussein Shagroni, the bank’s CEO.

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The project was driven by a committee of business and technical experts and supervised directly by the executive committee and shareholding group.

“Our vision is to offer Shariah-compliant services through a completely digitised landscape,” he states.

The bank evaluated FinastraInfosys, International Turnkey Systems (ITS), TemenosPath Solutions and Oracle FSS. Temenos, Oracle and Path made it to the shortlist, followed by the final between Path and Oracle.

So why Oracle? “It has a proven track record in Libya,” Shagroni explains. He also cites Flexcube’s broad user base of Islamic banks worldwide ­– over 75 takers across 34 countries – and its compliance with the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) standards.

Flexcube supports a wide range of Shariah-compliant financial instruments, including Mudarabah, Wadiah, Wakalah, Murabaha, Tawarruq, Ijarah, Musharakh, Sukuk and Istisna.

“Also, from a digital perspective, we felt that the vendor has invested heavily in its digital offering,” Shagroni adds.

The project has recently kicked off and the bank is in the product walkthrough and gap analysis phase. The implementation will be done in Tunisia, where the hardware will be hosted.

Flexcube will support Islamic core banking, payments, retail, corporate, origination and digital functionality at Yaqeen Bank.

“The new technology will help us digitise the full landscape of the bank’s operations, eliminate manual processes and heavy costs of operation, deliver superior customer experience, and achieve a noticeable market share,” Shagroni concludes.

Elsewhere, Oracle FSS is understood to have recently gained another new taker of its Islamic version of Flexcube – National Bank of Egypt (NBE) in Sudan. It will replace the Ethix solution from the aforementioned ITS.