KARACHI: Islamic banking industry continued its double-digit growth during fiscal year 2015-16 (FY16) with 16.8 percent and 14.1 percent year-on-year (YoY) growth in assets and deposits respectively, said the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) annual review report for FY16. As of end June 2016, the industry’s asset base reached Rs 1,745 billion, which is equivalent to 11.4 percent of the country’s banking system’s assets. Similarly, the Islamic banking industry’s deposits increased to Rs 1,461 billion constituting 13.2 percent of the overall banking industry’s deposits. On the other hand, during the year, the commercial banking industry experienced some pressure on its profits due to declining interest rates and spreads, however, the outlook remained stable with high solvency levels, a strong capital base, contained non-performing loans and improving risk management systems, said the central bank. The commercial banking industry grew by 16.1 percent during the year. The doubling of private sector credit was the most encouraging development during the year that contributed significantly in achieving the 4.7 percent growth in real Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This was despite a major setback in the agriculture sector due to the 27 percent decline in the cotton crop. The sharp surge in private sector credit is a reflection of increasing trust and confidence of the business community in the overall improvement in the investment climate of the country, it added. Meanwhile, the outreach of Islamic banking industry has also expanded considerably and as of end June 2016, the network of Islamic banking industry consists of 22 Islamic Banking Institutions including 6 full-fledged Islamic banks and 16 conventional banks having standalone Islamic banking branches. SBP said that the industry added 444 branches in its network during the year, which increased to 2146 branches in 98 districts across the country thus surpassing the target of 2000 branches as set in the second Strategic Plan 2014-18 of Islamic banking industry in the third year of the plan. The fast paced expansion of the industry’s outreach could among others be attributed to the supportive and enabling role of SBP, which was voted as the best central bank in the world in 2015 for Promoting Islamic Finance in an international poll conducted by Islamic Finance News, an arm of Redmoney Group Malaysia, the report added. SBP taking cues from the current growth trajectory coupled hoped that the strong commitment being demonstrated by the central bank and government gives optimism that the Islamic Banking Industry Strategic Plan 2014-18 target of increasing the market share to 15 percent by 2018 will be conveniently achieved.