For savvy savers looking for a better return, aspiring homeowners prepared to think differently and businesses driving for growth, we can help you. We offer a genuine alternative to conventional banks. Grounded in Shariah principles, our products are transparent, fair and socially responsible.
Our approach to product design and the way we communicate with our customers means that our products and services are simple and easy to understand with no gimmicks or damaging terms hidden in the fine print. We make sure we always honestly represent the long-term value of our products to our customers. This page explains how we work and some of the practical differences to dealing with a conventional bank.
A British, Shariah-compliant bank. What does that mean?
It means we follow a set of principles, derived from Islamic teachings, which promote fair play and ensure that your financial affairs are handled responsibly. There is a natural alignment with the principles of Islamic finance and society’s goals, as expressed in the UN Sustainable Development Goals and other national and international frameworks. As the Islamic economic model takes into account the concept of excluding funding for socially harmful activities and highly speculative financial products.
The principles affect three main areas:
Under Shariah finance principles, interest isn’t permitted. So we put deposits to good use by investing them to earn you profit on your savings, and we charge rent in our mortgage alternative products (read on to find out how it works).
Use of funds
We have developed policies, procedures and products that ensure our activities fulfil Shariah criteria and we make sure that the property finance we provide, and customers’ deposits are never used to support the arms industry, alcohol, tobacco, adult entertainment or gambling. This exclusion list represents a range of industries that can cause harm to society, can be detrimental to social needs and risk counteracting society’s goals.
We don't do highly speculative investments and transactions, and in any venture the risk is always shared and mitigated. All our transactions involve real assets. This helps buffer society and the economy from some of the well documented negative effects and consequences of higher risk investment products.
This way of operating is stable, transparent, and shares risk and reward in an equitable way. That’s why we talk about balanced banking. The principles encourage trading and enterprise that generates wealth for the benefit of the whole community.
And we mean the whole community. Our products and services are available to everyone. Many non-Muslims choose us for our socially responsible approach, transparency, differently designed products, and the competitive rates we offer.
Balanced saving means...
Return on your savings comes in the form of profits, rather than interest.
Your account has an expected profit rate (EPR) of gross annual returns, rather than an interest rate. The EPR is the percentage we aim to earn by investing your deposit in Shariah-compliant assets. Our portfolio of assets includes Islamic bonds (sukuk) and property purchase plans for customers looking to buy houses or become landlords.
You receive the profits as returns on your account, which are subject to tax just like interest on a conventional account. To date, we have always paid our customers the expected profit rate. If we ever think the profit rate might turn out to be lower than expected, we’ll let you know what the new rate will be. You can choose to keep your deposit in the account at the new rate, or close your account and withdraw all your funds, along with the profit you’ve earned already.
Balanced property finance means...
You buy the property jointly with the Bank - your deposit is your stake, and we fund the rest as our contribution to the purchase.
The Bank is the registered owner of the property but holds the property for itself and you as the beneficial owners. Rather than the payment of interest, you lease the part of the property owned by the Bank, and pay a monthly rental payment over the agreed finance term. Your monthly payments can cover both rent and payments for acquisition of the Bank’s share, so each payment increases your percentage stake. Once all the payments are made, you’ve bought us out, and full ownership of the property transfers to you.
You can sell the property at any time and there are no early payment charges. If you sell, you only have to pay off the amount equal to the Bank’s purchase contribution remaining at that time. Any increase in the property value only benefits you.
UK Private Rented Sector/Build to Rent
Gatehouse was among the first movers in the UK Private Rented Sector (PRS) successfully completing its initial £100m scheme in November 2014. This was quickly followed by a second £90m fund, which closed in December 2015.
The bank launched a new £500m joint venture in August 2021 to build up to 2,500 suburban, purpose-built family rental homes.
Through the PRS/Build to Rent funds we manage hundreds of new homes across a multitude of sites in the Midlands and North West England, providing high quality, safe, single-family housing for families and young professionals.
The properties are managed by Ascend, an award-winning property management company that the Bank owns a majority stake in. Ascend delivers a high quality, responsive property management service that ensures tenants live in safe, well maintained homes and neighbourhoods.