Three Islamic microfinance institutions in Kosovo issue interest-free loans to their clients, but at a profit. “Start”, “TIMI Invest” and “Pro Finance Home”, are institutions licensed by the Central Bank of the Republic of Kosovo (CBK).
Officials of this bank admit that “Start” and “TIMI Invest” are registered as institutions that provide Islamic financial services. One has a license to operate as a microfinance institution (MFI) and the other as a non-bank financial institution (NBFI).
“They are registered, have a license to conduct lending activity and practice financial services with Islamic principles,” said a response from the CBK.
The current number of clients in “Start” and “TIMI Invest” is over 700, while the value of the remaining loans reaches over five million euros.
The non-banking institution “Pro Finance Home” is also licensed by the CBK, but it is not specified that it offers Islamic financial services. However, one of the shareholders of this institution, Vedat Salihu, confirms for Radio Free Europe that they also deal with Islamic financial services.
Microfinance institutions (MFIs), the primary activity is to provide loans and provide a limited number of financial services. Whereas, the non-bank financial institution (NBFI) is engaged in lending, borrowing and financial leasing contracts – leasing, signing, trading, intermediation or distribution of securities.
The goals of these institutions
The microfinance institution “Start” was established and registered with the CBK in 2002. Information on this institution is scarce on the Internet. On the social network Facebook, the institution in question has no information about the purpose and activity, while the official website does not work. “Start” is registered as a microfinance institution with foreign capital.
According to the Central Bank of the Republic of Kosovo, this institution has 498 borrowers with over 2.7 million euros of loans remaining.
Attempts by Radio Free Europe to contact any official of this institution have been unsuccessful.
You can find the full article on Radio Free Europe.