The exercise of banking activity is subject to obtaining a license, issued by the governor of the Central Bank. The decision to grant or, where appropriate, refuse such a licensing is taken after consulting the Credit Institutions Committee and must take place within a maximum period of 120 days. Any refusal decision must be justified.

Circular No. 5/W/15 of May 20, 2015 on the required documentation for the processing of licensing applications, in implementation of provisions of Article 34 of Law No. 103-12 on credit institutions and similar bodies, sets out the information to be contained in any licensing application for:

  • practicing the activity of a credit institution, micro-finance institution, offshore bank or a payment institution;
  • operations relating to:
  • the merger of two or more credit institutions;
  • the absorption of one or more credit institutions by another credit institution;
  • any change affecting the nationality, the control of a credit institution or the nature of operations that it usually carries out.

This includes information relating to:

  • The nature of the licensing required;
  • capital providers and group membership as well as the ownership of the institution to be licensed (integrity, reputation, financial strength, expertise ...);
  • presentation of the project, its objectives, implementation timeline, business model and the human, financial and technical means necessary for its implementation;
  • corporate governance;
  • Internal control, risk management, the fight against money laundering and financing of terrorism and the protection of personal data mechanisms;
  • The approval file of auditors whose appointment is proposed;
  • The control exercised by the parent company and the supervision exercised by the competent authorities of the parent company.

In addition to the required information, the application file must also contain several documents on the applying institution (bye-laws, opinion of the supervisory authority’s parent company, the shareholders’ agreement), as well as capital providers, managers and directors of the latter.

Licensing applications for the exercise of a participatory banking activity should be accompanied, in addition to the listed-above items, by a presentation of the system put in place to ensure compliance with the opinion of the Supreme Council of Ulama (religious scholars) and the mechanism for investment deposits management and the processing of their holders.

The circular entitles Bank Al-Maghrib to require any further information or documentation relating to the information and documents submitted in the licensing application.

It also allows Bank Al-Maghrib to draw up a licensing model for each category of credit institutions and similar bodies and/or each type of operation.

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