Jaiz Bank, a non-interest bank, on Thursday said its assets base had hit N44 billion.

It said that the bank had also exceeded the N10 billion required by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for a national licence.

The bank’s Head of Corporate Communications, Mr Idris Salihu, disclosed this in an interview in Abuja.

Jaiz Bank, which is the only non-interest Islamic bank in Nigeria, got its regional licence to operate in North East, North West and Abuja from the CBN in November 2011.

The bank commenced operations in January 2012 with three branches in Abuja, Kaduna and Kano.

Salihu said that the CBN had also granted Jaiz Bank “approval in principle to go national in view of the robust growth of the bank’’.

According to him, the CBN gave Jaiz Bank six months to open branches in the six geo-political zones of the country.

“We are working hard to achieve that target at most by December to enable CBN ratify the national licence’’.

He said that many businessmen in the South East and South West of the country were already urging the bank to establish branches in their areas.

He said that Jaiz Bank currently “has 20 branches and will increase it to about 30 by December 2015 and would open at least a branch each in all state capitals by next year’’.

Salihu commended the CBN for its financial inclusion policy through which “unbanked Nigerians are being banked’’.

He said that Jaiz Bank had provided banking opportunities for Nigerians, “both Muslims and Christians, wary of banking with conventional banks due to fear of interest or usury.’’

“We are happy to provide alternative to interest-based banking,’’ he said, adding that “risk and reward sharing banking is not just for Muslims, but for all Nigerians’’. (NAN)