Monday 10, October 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: Emirates Islamic, one of the leading Islamic financial institutions in the UAE, has today unveiled the results of its second ISLAMIC BANKING INDEX by EMIRATES ISLAMIC™, the first-of-its-kind consumer focused survey on Islamic Banking in the UAE that was launched in 2015. The index provides an annual benchmark of shifts in the ‘penetration’, ‘perception’, ‘knowledge’ and ‘intention’ of UAE consumers when it comes to Shari’a compliant banking. This year’s results show a positive increase in each of the four segments, indicating that public acceptance, awareness and demand for Islamic banking in the UAE is increasing.

Commenting on the results of the 2016 Islamic Banking Index, Emirates Islamic CEO, Jamal Bin Ghalaita said: “At Emirates Islamic, we seek to drive the growth of Islamic banking in the UAE, and through the data-driven insights of the Index, we hope to pave the way in understanding the opinions and intentions of UAE’s banking consumers. This year’s survey brings much good news to the industry, providing clear evidence that the strength and scope of Islamic Banking in the UAE is on the rise. 51% of banking consumers have at least one Islamic product, demonstrating that the efforts by Islamic banks to improve their customer outreach are paying off.”

Key Findings of the first ISLAMIC BANKING INDEX by EMIRATES ISLAMIC™ include:

51% of the UAE’s banking consumers have at least one Islamic banking product, marking a 4 percentage points increase over last year’s score
36% of the UAE’s banking consumers have an Islamic product from an Islamic bank, up from 34% in 2015

The perception of Islamic banks’ trustworthiness rose among both Muslim consumers (42% versus 37% in 2015) and non-Muslim consumers (34% versus 27% in 2015).
The perception of conventional banks as being technologically advanced rose among both Muslim (41% versus 33% in 2015) and non-Muslim consumers (42% versus 40% in 2015).

62% of banking consumers in the emirates are aware of at least one Shari’a-compliant banking product, a rise on the previous year’s findings (59%), and an indication of the sector’s widening customer base.
For a second year, the best-known products remain Takaful and Murabahah, with 40% and 31% of respondents familiar with their use.

The percentage of consumers willing to consider Shari’a-compliant banking products has risen 4 percentage points to 79%
A sizable increase in the number of non-Muslim consumers willing to consider subscribing to an Islamic banking product, from 59% in 2015 to 68% in 2016

Bin Ghalaita added: “The survey results are extremely encouraging, as Islamic banking’s appeal is growing among both Muslim and non-Muslim consumers, demonstrating the potential opportunity that will drive the industry’s future growth in the country. Another key finding is that more than half of the consumers will consider Islamic banks, only if the benefits are comparable to or better than conventional banks. The survey also highlights the key challenges for Islamic banks. For a second consecutive year, Islamic banks lag behind conventional banks in technology, innovation and customer service.

“The message to Islamic banks is very clear; we have to put customer service and technological innovations at the heart of our growth strategies and at the same time provide a value proposition to our customers. It is now up to us to seize the market opportunity and stay focused on ongoing improvements in our product and service proposition.

“Emirates Islamic has already made strides in catering to the millennial mindset by offering banking services via Twitter, a first among Islamic banks in the UAE. We have added new features to our mobile banking app including ‘Scan to Pay’, that enables customers to pay DEWA bills via their smartphones. We are confident that our continued investment in ‘customer focused technology’ will enable us to widen Islamic banking’s proposition, as we forge ahead in support of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai’s vision to make Dubai a global capital of the Islamic Economy,” concluded Bin Ghalaita.