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ISLAMIC BANKING | Cesar Tordesillas, Indonesia

Permata Syariah expands offerings in Q1

Permata Bank Syariah will launch a umrah financing in the first quarter.

It will be the unit’s first personal financing segment, according to Permata Syariah head Achmad Kusna Permana.

“We have not had any personal financing products before, so right now we are starting with the simplest and the most sharia-based product, which is umrah,” he said.

The new product held bright prospects for the unit, considering the large number of Indonesians leaving for umrah every year, he added.

The average price of an umrah package, which lasts for nine days, ranges between US$3,600 and $3,800 per person. Data from the Religious Affairs Ministry shows that the number of people leaving for umrah has been increasing in the past three years. Last year, the number reached 500,000, much higher than the 295,000 in 2011and 250,000 in 2010.

Achmad touted Permata Syariah’s umrah financing program as being different from those of other sharia banks, citing its technology and processing features. Besides umrah, Permata Syariah plans to provide personal financing programs in other sectors, including education, this year.

The new personal finance products would hopefully attract new customers, who usually took on non-collateral loans (KTA) to finance their needs, he said.

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