Monday 29, October 2018 by Jessica Combes

Islamic banking on the rise

 

The popularity of Islamic banking products continues to grow in the UAE among both Muslim and non-Muslim customers, according to the findings of the 2018 Islamic Banking Index by Emirates Islamic.

The index is a benchmark survey revealing the progress, penetration and perception of the Shari’ah-compliant banking sector in the UAE, as well as the future intentions of the nation’s banking customers.

 Findings demonstrate that Islamic banks are outperforming their conventional peers in customer acquisition—55 per cent of the UAE consumers now have at least one Islamic banking product, compared to 47 per cent when the Index was launched in 2015. In contrast, the penetration score for conventional bank products has shrunk from 69 per cent in 2017 to 63 per cent in 2018.

 “We are delighted to see that Islamic banking continues to expand its appeal and reach, outpacing the growth of conventional banks.  With 85 per cent of the UAE’s banking population open to Islamic banking products, we can anticipate that Shari’ah-compliant banking will gain further traction, especially as we prepare to receive an increased number of residents and visitors in the run up to Expo 2020 Dubai,” said Wasim Saifi, Deputy CEO-Consumer Banking and Wealth Management at Emirates Islamic.

 Discussing the outlook for Islamic banking, Saifi continued, “Islamic banks have clearly done an outstanding job in enhancing the overall customer experience and proposition. The survey shows that respondents consider Islamic banks more trustworthy, supportive of the community in meaningful ways and more financially sound than their conventional counterparts, while showing a marked improvement in perception on embracing the latest technology. The opportunity for Islamic banks lies now in improving the awareness of the core values and benefits of Islamic banking while continuing to invest in digital technology to create pioneering solutions and innovative, new and differentiated customer experiences. We aim to meet and exceed the demands of today’s digital-minded customer, as we work towards fulfilling the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai the global capital of Islamic economy.”

Launched in 2015, The Islamic Banking Index by Emirates Islamic is a first-of-its-kind consumer survey that measures the progress of the Islamic banking sector in the UAE by tracking consumer behaviour and sentiment towards Shari’ah-compliant banking products and services. The Index benchmarks against four indicators: ‘penetration – customers who have an Islamic banking product; perception – the average rating of Islamic banks on a range of attributes; knowledge – consumers’ understanding of Islamic banking terms; and intention – how likely consumers are to subscribe to an Islamic banking product.

 

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