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Banks Forcing to Shift to Islamic Banking To Avoid Fraud

In an attempt to avoid paying high interest rates to depositors, some banks in Pakistan are coercing customers to convert their conventional savings accounts to Islamic accounts. Branch managers, who previously convinced customers to sign up for investment options, are now pressuring them to switch to Islamic accounts, and some banks are even threatening to close accounts if no action is taken within 30 days. 

Islamic savings accounts have no minimum payout, unlike conventional savings accounts which require a minimum deposit rate (MDR) of 15.5%. Banks are using this as an opportunity to save money and de-risk payments on credit for buyers at home and abroad. 

Standard Chartered Bank has instructed savings account holders to convert to Islamic banking savings accounts within 30 days or face potential account closure. Despite the State Bank of Pakistan’s goal of increasing financial inclusion, these policies have led to record profits for banks while customers lose out on interest income in a highly inflationary environment. 

The forced conversion is also problematic as it may take advantage of unsuspecting senior citizens, including widows and pensioners. Ultimately, this approach is nothing more than a marketing ploy to increase profits, and customers are not required to make the switch.

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