Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, CEO of Mashreq Bank and Chairman of UAE Banks Federation. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Three-fourths of customers trust their banks in the UAE, according to the 2018 Trust Index Survey of UAE Banks Federation (UBF) conducted in collaboration with Kantar, the data consultancy. The results show that 74 per cent of respondents had high trust in the UAE banking sector, up from 68 per cent in 2017.

This is the fourth consecutive year UBF has carried out this survey. Consumer confidence in the banking sector too has increased, with 95 per cent of retail customers satisfied with the performance of their main bank, up from 93 per cent. Overall impressions too have improved, with 83 per cent recording a “very positive” perception towards local banks, compared with 76 per cent in 2017 and 72 per cent in 2016.

Specific areas that have shown significant improvement are “excellent customer service”, which is up from 65 per cent to 76 per cent; “contribution to the economy”, up from 68 per cent to 77 per cent, and “range of products and services”, from 65 per cent to 76 per cent.

“Despite global geopolitical and economic headwinds, this edition of the Trust Index Survey shows marked improvements, demonstrating the UAE banking sector’s ongoing commitment to enhance services and products, provide convenience and outstanding customer experience, and address key issues and challenges,” said AbdulAziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of UBF.

Up to the challenge

The survey results also showed consumers believe banks are well equipped to deal with a variety of issues in the sector. “Keeping up with digital innovations” was the highest performing area, followed by “contributions to the economic development of the UAE”. However, when asked what challenges banks in the UAE faced, 61 per cent of the respondents answered, “High interest rates for loans and credit cards”.

The survey highlighted the fact that the UAE enjoys higher trust in the banking sector than many other developed nations, including the US, UK, China, Japan, France and Germany. Despite the challenging environment, the overall improvement in consumer confidence is seen as a sign of economic resilience.

“The sustainable growth of the economy is strongly related to consumer confidence, and trust is a key parameter that helps us understand the banking industry’s capability to generate this confidence,” said Al Ghurair. “We are confident the results of this survey will inspire banks to keep improving, better prepare for the future, and help address the ever-changing challenges in the market.”


• 72 per cent of respondents stated UAE banks are equally good or even better than banks in their home country, up from 65 per cent in 2017.

• ”Good customer service” and “safe and secure services and goods” were top-of-mind associations with UAE banks — 48 and 43 per cent, respectively.

• 78 per cent stated UAE banks are “excellent” or “very good” at providing convenience.

• 77 per cent stated their experience with ATMs was “excellent” or “very good”.

• 76 per cent of respondents stated their internet banking experience was “excellent” or “very good”.