Islamic banking grows in popularity in the UAE – survey
The popularity of Islamic banking products continues to grow in the UAE among both Muslim and non-Muslim customers, according to new research.
The findings of the 2018 Islamic Banking Index by Emirates Islamic said that Islamic banks are outperforming their conventional peers in customer acquisition.
It noted that 55 percent of UAE consumers now have at least one Islamic banking product, compared to 47 percent when the index was launched in 2015.
In contrast, the penetration score for conventional bank products has shrunk from 69 percent in 2017 to 63 percent in 2018, according to the index.
Wasim Saifi, deputy CEO, Consumer Banking and Wealth Management at Emirates Islamic said: “We are delighted to see that Islamic banking continues to expand its appeal and reach, outpacing the growth of conventional banks.
“With 85 percent of the UAE’s banking population open to Islamic banking products, we can anticipate that Shari’a-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.”
Saifi added: “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.”
Launched in 2015, the index benchmarks against four indicators – penetration, perception, knowledge and intention.
The latest edition showed that the number of non-Muslim consumers taking a product from an Islamic bank continues to rise, up by 2 percent to 40 percent.
Compared to last year, there has been a 12 percent increase in the number of non-Muslim intenders likely to adopt an Islamic finance product in the future.
It also showed that respondents consider Islamic banks more trustworthy, supportive of the community in meaningful ways and more financially sound than conventional banks.