TORONTO, Ontario – EQRAZ Inc., a Toronto-based Islamic financial services start-up, announced today the launch of its Shariah-compliant mortgage business for Canada’s fast-growing 1.8 million Muslim population.
EQRAZ’ entire business, including products, policies, and procedures are Shariah-certified under AAOIFI standards by Bahrain-based Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB), who will also be supervising and auditing the company’s offerings and operations in accordance Shariah and AAOIFI standards.
According to Syed Zuhair Naqvi, Founder & CEO of EQRAZ, “It has taken us four long years to overcome the numerous challenges facing halal mortgage offerings in Canada which prevented at-scale financing from being available. The biggest challenge we faced was developing a halal product that does not conflict with Canadian tax, disclosure and other regulations, and meets with Canadian capital-market requirements. Our product is a five-year renewable product which has been tested against all applicable Canadian banking, mortgage and other regulations by both EQRAZ counsel as well as the Schedule 1 bank that is providing halal mortgage funding. EQRAZ’ halal mortgage product avoids the regulatory and funding-related problems facing traditional Musharaka and Murabaha products being used by other firms.”
When asked about scalability, Mr. Naqvi commented, “We are proud of our partnership with some of Canada’s top players in the industry. All EQRAZ mortgages will be administered by CMLS Financial, one of Canada’s most well-respected third-party mortgage administrators with a CAD $30 Billion of assets under administration.
EQRAZ has an exclusive relationship with Canada’s largest mortgage broker, Dominion Lending Centre franchise, Forest City Funding. It has integrated with Finastra’s Filogix and Newton’s Velocity platforms which allows approximately 90% of Canada’s mortgage brokers to apply for an EQRAZ halal mortgage on behalf of their customers.
The Shariyah Review Bureau, (SRB), with its head office in the Kingdom of Bahrain, was founded in 2004. Licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain, it has a global footprint and has developed a dedicated house of Shariah reviewers and auditors regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain which helps close the loop for institutions seeking Shariah structures, certifications and assurance. The company is also one of the largest Shariah firms with over 30 scholars covering 16 countries.
Mr. Moinuddin Malim, EQRAZ Board Member and Chief Shariah Advisor stated, “We intentionally chose one of the leading and most well-respected Shariah audit and advisory firms to supervise EQRAZ’ Shariah-compliance, as we wish to submit ourselves to the highest standards of compliance at all times.”
Mr. Yasser S Dahlawi, CEO of SRB, commented, “Our client portfolio has been significantly expanding internationally, and this engagement further demonstrates our dedication to clients like EQRAZ in Canada. We hope to continue to reward our stakeholders with the trust and Shariah assurance they need in the years to come.”