Dubai: Emirates Islamic is targeting balance sheet growth and improved profitability along with digitisation. In fact, these two objectives are complementary, according to Wasim Saifi, Deputy CEO, Consumer Banking and Wealth Management of Emirates Islamic.

For Emirates Islamic, speedier technology adoption than its peers comes naturally due to its close links with Emirates NBD, a technology leader in consumer banking in the UAE.

As a subsidiary of Emirates NBD, it has access to all the innovations the parent company adopts.

“We ascribe to our group’s vision of ‘digitise or die’. Our strategy and vision for digital banking and payments technology sets us apart in the market. We have taken several steps to improve products and service delivery as part of the group’s Dh1 billion investment towards technology,” said Saifi.

As part of the digitalisation plan, the bank has upgraded its core banking platform and introduced an improved mobile banking app with 25 new services. Emirates Islamic is the first and only Islamic Bank in the UAE to support both Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

Beating general perception that Islamic banks are lagging in digitisation and technology adoption, the bank is moving ahead of many of its Islamic and conventional peers. Saifi said Islamic banking customers are also enthusiastic about digitisation and technology-driven service delivery channels.

“Currently, nearly 50 per cent of our customers use online and mobile banking. More innovations are in the pipeline as we are intending to adopt many digital banking services from our parent. We believe our investments in digitisation, [both] front and back-end, will strengthen our proposition and help us increase market share,” said Saifi.

As part of the new product roll out, the bank has launched QuickRemit to India and will launch the service to Pakistan and other remittance corridors soon.

Saifi said being part of a larger banking group and the ability to function as an Islamic bank on its own right makes Emirates Islamic unique.

“Emirates Islamic is unique in that respect as it has its own independent Sharia board and develops its Islamic finance solutions indigenously — like the stand-alone Islamic banks. At the same time, we benefit from synergies with our parent, Emirates NBD, group. For example, we recently migrated to a similar core banking platform, which enables us to enhance our efficiencies through exploiting innovative technologies and state-of-the-art IT systems, yet strictly [comply] with Sharia standards,” he said.

In digital strategy, the bank will continue to strengthen its current value proposition using these synergies and learning from the parent group to introduce innovative digital banking solutions.