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Saad Azmat, A. S. M. Sohel Azad, Muhammad Bhatti () and Hamza Ghaffar

Journal of Financial Research, 2020, vol. 43, issue 2, 263-303

Abstract: In this article we explain how Islamic banks (IBs) maximize profitability in the presence of costly religiosity. Because of strong competition between IBs and conventional banks (CBs), a unique equilibrium emerges that affects the IB pricing structure. We propose a new model that identifies the optimal rate on the asset and liability sides of IBs. It shows that the financial products offered by IBs are not an exogenous function of religiosity; instead, they are endogenously determined by the nature of market forces in which IBs are operating. We show that in the presence of costly religiosity and competition, the rates of both converge. Moreover, the competitive pricing mechanism induces IBs to structure their asset‐ and liability‐side financial products (particularly Murabaha) with a risk profile similar to that of the CB loan system. This article empirically supports the theoretical propositions by using data from 17 Muslim majority countries where both IBs and CBs coexist from 2000 to 2015. We find that, holding other factors of bank returns constant, competition significantly affects IB asset‐ and liability‐side returns. The analysis also reveals that because of increasing competition between IBs and CBs, the market power of IBs has significantly declined over time.

Date: 2020
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