The proposed Islamic mega-bank headed by Albaraka CEO Adnan Yousef is likely to be based in Bahrain, according to reports from Reuters. The bank would have paid-in capital of $3 billion, making it far larger than any other Islamic bank, with the possible exception of a planned cross-border mega-bank that is being set up in Malaysia.
It is understandable that it takes time to organize a bank with expected capital of $3 billion, especially with the financial crisis getting in the way. However, the progress is not even noticeable if the bank has not even decided where to locate the headquarters of the bank. If it takes this long to decide that (and even that decision has not yet been made), then it may be several decades before the bank is launched. By that time, existing Islamic banks will be able to grow to mega-bank size through organic grouth and acquisitions.
With little progress in launching the bank (searching back, it has been talked about for at least as long as I have been blogging--almost 5 years!), it feels less worthwhile to write another post about the positives and negatives of Islamic mega banks. Instead, I will hold my thoughts and wait until more measurable progress is made.