The Islamic Bank of Britain, the country’s first Sharia-compliant bank, has appointed McCann Erickson to handle its launch.
The agency’s Solihull office will handle advertising, direct marketing, media, and PR for the bank. It plans an initial press campaign in both the ethnic and national press alongside direct marketing, and has not ruled out television.
The activity will be overseen by the bank’s head of marketing Alun Williams, a former Barclays and Coventry Building Society marketer.
The Birmingham-based bank was given a licence by the Financial Services Authority last week. Its first branch will open in Edgware Road, London in September, followed by branches in Birmingham and Leicester. It plans to market a full range of financial products available through phone, internet and postal accounts.
To conform to Sharia law – by which Muslims are governed – all the bank’s activities are scrutinised by a committee to ensure that money is invested in ethical industries. The bank is also precluded from charging interest, operating instead on a leasing system.
Other UK banks, such as HSBC, already offer some Islamic financial products, but the Islamic Bank of Britain will be the first to market exclusively Sharia products.
It will target the UK’s 2 million Muslims and also plans to expand to market to the estimated 13 million Muslims living in mainland Europe, primarily in France and Germany. The bank is funded by Gulf and UK investors.