Hejaz seeking to become first Islamic bank

by Mike Wood15 Dec 2021

Hejaz Financial Services, one of the leading providers of Islamic finance in Australia, is set to apply for a banking licence to become an authorised deposit taking institution (ADI).

If Hejaz become an ADI, it would represent the first time that an Islamic financial institution has achieved that status in Australia.

Islamic finance differs considerably from regular finance, as charging interest on loans is not allowed under Islamic law. It is very common in Muslim-majority countries and is growingly rapidly in Australia.

To help them become an ADI, Hejaz have appointed three new staff to their leadership team. Andrew Oey, once of Bank of Melbourne and Bankwest, will join as head of lending, with experienced insurance and financial services operator Samrah Sahi coming on board as head of customer service.

Michael Trist, formerly executive vice president at Dark Horse Capital, will join as general manager – sales and distribution. He brings a wealth of experience, including in the UK, where the Islamic finance sector is far more established than it is in Australia.

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“Hejaz is on a mission to ensure that Muslims don’t have to compromise their values in order to access best-in-class financial products,” said Muzzammil Dhehdy, COO of Hejaz.

“Our success so far has been founded on the world-leading expertise of our team and the arrival of Andrew, Michael and Samrah will take us to a new level. Each brings exceptional experience and pedigree that will enable us to solidify our status as Australia’s premier Islamic bank.”

Hakan Ozyon, CEO and founder of Hejaz, spoke of the need to serve the huge, growing market of Muslims in Australia with Islamic finance.

“There are roughly 1.2 million Muslims in Australia, representing an estimated market of $192 billion.

“These people want to save, invest and buy houses just like other Aussies and our ambition is to be able to provide a full range of services to help them achieve their financial ambitions in a way that doesn’t compromise their beliefs.

“We enjoy a good relationship with APRA, who have been instrumental in guiding us towards our goal of becoming Australia’s first Islamic Bank.”