Storebrand testing the waters for Islamic mortgages

Storebrand's head office at LysakerStorebrand's head office at Lysaker.Photo: Lise Åserud / NTB scanpix

On a newly created website, Storebrand has become the only Norwegian bank offering Islam-approved financing for home purchases. The company said that the website was designed as a ‘sounding board.’

On the website, people can apply for mortgages ‘that fulfill the requirements set by Islam.’ Notifications will not show who is behind transactions, other than that the project is supported by a large Norwegian bank.

In the Vårt Land newspaper, communication manager at Storebrand, Bjørn Erik Sættem, confirmed that this is their product.

‘This is a pilot site to check the interest in a possible future product’, he said, denying that it is already possible to take up such loans with Storebrand.

Finance Minister Siv Jensen, is unwilling to facilitate this type of loan.

‘It is not necessary to change the regulations to give special advantages to certain religious groups’, she wrote in an email to the newspaper.

So far, 50 potential customers have expressed interest, and Storebrand are waiting a few more weeks before deciding whether to proceed with the project.

There remain some practical challenges for proceeding with the loan, including the question of whether the customer can get a tax deduction for part of the borrowing costs.

‘We hope the government will be involved in adjusting the current regulations’, said Bjørn Sættem.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today