Local Business

Dream come true courtesy of Noor Islamic Bank

Staff Report
Filed on July 29, 2013

For Nurul Iksan and his two elder siblings, Eny and Andik, life has never been easy.

His father works as a garbage collector in Malang, a city in Indonesia, where the family owns a small grocery store. “We get by on barely $150 per month, so you can imagine how I felt when I received a phone call from Noor Islamic Bank notifying me that I had won $20,000 in cash, plus an iPad.”

Dream come true courtesy of Noor Islamic Bank (/assets/oldimages/nuru_07282013.jpg)It was a life-changing moment. The excited 28-year-old says that with the first prize in Noor’s online Shape Your Bank competition, he can stretch his entrepreneurial legs and begin pursuing some of his business ideas. Speaking during an all-expenses paid visit to Dubai, Iksan said: “Part of this money will help me progress from an online fashion shop — which I have had since 2012 — to a physical shop, in nearby Bali. I hope to open the doors by December 2013.”

Iksan’s dreams hit a roadblock when local banks repeatedly turned down his requests for some start-up financial support. “I could not satisfy their criteria for the finance. It was quite frustrating. That was when I decided to start online in the hope that one day I would have enough funds to set up a physical store. At the same time, I began working as an administrator in one of Honda’s motorcycle dealers in Bali to support myself.

“In 2012, I came across Noor Islamic Bank’s Facebook campaign Shape Your Bank. I liked the concept of a bank inviting members of the public to have their say in building a better bank but I was critical at first, thinking it might be a fraud. I never thought I would win, but I wanted to put forward my ideas in the hope that they would help banks to be more sensitive to the financial needs of families.”

In September last year, Noor issued an invitation to the world to help shape the future of banking, with the launch of its Bank of the Future initiative, aimed at creating innovative ways of banking.

As part of the initiative, Noor created an online Shape Your Bank competition to solicit people’s expectations of banks in the future, with prize money of $20,000 for the best idea on enhancing the banking experience.

Hussain Al Qemzi, GCEO of Noor Investment Group and CEO of Noor Islamic Bank, explained the philosophy behind Noor’s Bank of the Future project. “The Bank of the Future programme is a remarkable and unique initiative that enables our customers, and future customers, to shape their banking experience with us. We want to know their expectations of us and what services and products matter most to them.

“This is a journey that began even before we launched, when we held our first Shape Your Bank campaign,” Al Qemzi added. “We listened then and we are still listening. The ideas we received, through the Shape Your Bank campaign, will guide the way we conduct our business in the future.”

John Chang, head of Retail Banking at Noor Islamic Bank, said: “The panel of judges appreciated the spirit behind Iksan’s suggestion, and saw the powerful potential of its implementation. His suggestion was to introduce a family account that is held by the head of the family with supplementary cards and limited budgets assigned to all family members. Such a concept has not been implemented in the region yet.”

— business@khaleejtimes.com

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