In the coming year, a bank subsidiary in Michigan will expand its reach by offering products targeted to Muslims in three metropolitan areas outside of that state.

The University Islamic Financial Corporation, a subsidiary of University Bank, a community bank in Ann Arbor, Michigan, will reach Muslims in the Washington metropolitan area via a suburban office in Herndon, Virginia. It plans to open in two more locations, as yet undisclosed, shortly thereafter.

The bank subsidiary’s president, Stephen Lange Ranzini, estimates that Michigan is home to approximately 400,000 Muslims, “the largest community of Arab Muslims outside of the Middle East.”

Locations of these new branches have been chosen for their proximity to large Muslim populations. The bank subsidiary seeks to serve a customer niche that does not want to buy a home using traditional home loans, which involve paying interest, popular in the United States. Such customers interpret Islamic law, or Shariah, as forbidding the paying or charging of interest.

Since the end of 2005, the Michigan bank subsidiary has offered its alternative home-financing products only to Michigan residents. But Ranzini said it has built products that will be compliant with the laws of other states.


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