Dubai: Islamic banks are outperforming their conventional peers in customer acquisition as Sharia-compliant banking products continue 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 Sharia-compliant banking sector in the country.

Survey results show that 55 per cent of 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.

“Islamic banking continues to expand its appeal and reach, outpacing the growth of conventional banks,” said Wasim Saifi, deputy CEO for Consumer Banking and Wealth Management at Emirates Islamic.

“With 85 per cent of the UAE’s banking population open to Islamic banking products, we can anticipate that Sharia-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.”

The results of the survey showed that respondents consider Islamic banks more trustworthy, supportive of the community in meaningful ways and more financially sound than their conventional counterparts, in addition to revealing a marked improvement in perception when it came to 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,” said Saifi.