I would argue that the Islamic Banks should be more enterprising in nature. They could play the role as an "investment house" - leveraging on its size to create an efficient investment practice etc... Have we ever thought that some of the big stores/malls that provide their own custom label "credit-card" is in a way a bank - providing 'loan' to purchase and procure merchandise. KFH is doing something like this in the area of automobiles. This is an enterprise and it's for a good social cause too... The bank can aggregate purchase the merchandise and pass on the savings to the consumers. Now, that in fact is a real bai' bithaman ajil in a clear sense.
The question is: Should bank run the business? In reality, it's a true form of mudharabah or musyarakah -- partnering with depositors to undertake business enterprise. Now, the bank will surely be more proactive in managing their investment and business... the role of Islamic Bank become clearer, to promote economic growth and instill social justice.
The issue raised by Br Blake is not new. We are playing catch up with the conventional banks because we tend to think within the framework of the banking industry; yes we should but shouldn't be limited to. Can we think differently and plan differently. That's my quick thoughts. :-)
Good observation and a good read...: