Shariah-compliant Gatehouse Bank has opened a customer service centre in Milton Keynes, which is set to help it achieve its “big plans”.
The bank’s growth plans include a new strategy focusing on the launch of ‘home finance’, alongside its current buy-to-let products and development/build-to-rent division.
The new office will accommodate the plans and recruitment drive, which it aims to step up in the months ahead.
The Department for International Trade provided the bank with key market data to help source growth opportunities across the UK.
Charles Haresnape, CEO at Gatehouse Bank (pictured top, left), was joined by Fahed Boodai, chairman at Gatehouse Bank (right), and the mayor of Milton Keynes, councillor David Hopkins (centre), who all delivered speeches before the ceremonial ribbon cutting.
Also in attendance were Michael Davenport, the British ambassador to Kuwait, and representatives from the UK government, Kuwaiti embassy and the business community.
Charles said: “We have big plans for Gatehouse Bank and our new Milton Keynes office will be key in helping us to achieve them.
“We are seeking to grow all areas of the business, but shariah-compliant home finance will be a particular focus.
“We believe this is a hugely untapped market and one that – being fundamentally ethical – will resonate with Muslims and non-Muslims alike.”
Speaking at the opening, Charles said: “…There are three million Muslims in the UK.
“And actually, when you think about personal finance for people [who] would really prefer a sharia-compliant finance facility, there is very, very little choice, with [only] one or two lenders actually in that space.
“So, we’re coming in with our challenger bank mentality and you’ll see [that] the new [executive committee] we’ve put together is almost entirely from that challenger bank background.”
Charles added that London was the biggest sharia financial centre in the world for commercial finance outside of the sharia countries.
“We need to capitalise on that, we need to make that a better-known fact and we need to bring personal finance into that space.”
Fahed added: “As chairman, I applaud the choice of location and am delighted to see the continuing inward investment from Kuwait into the UK.
“I see more opportunity in the future to work together, whether it be build-to-rent, commercial financing or the development of the shariah-compliant home finance market.”
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