News Column

ADIB to extend reach with new name: CEO

May 20, 2014



The UAE's second biggest Shariah-compliant lender Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) is considering a proposal to enter 'certain markets' as Abu Dhabi International Bank to reach out to a bigger segment of the market.



In the UAE, however, the lender would continue working as Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, its chief executive officer Tirad Al Mahmoud said at a media roundtable here on Tuesday.







The idea is to study how much the word "Islamic" in its name in certain markets is deterrent to being inclusive.







Referring to a commissioned research, which was carried out in the UK, the UAE, Egypt, Turkey, and Indonesia, Al Mahmoud said many people in non-Muslim societies thought Islamic lenders serve only Muslims, which was not the case.







Only seven percent people in the UK said they don't mind banking with an Islamic bank. However, the number of respondents multiplied to 28 per cent, instantly when they were informed of the principles and values of Islamic banking, which stands for ethical business.







Sharing the findings of a study "Banking as it should be", the ADIB chief executive said that this study into customer perceptions of the banking industry, with a focus on ethics and Islamic banking found that for most people top 10 attributes of an "ideal bank" are not financial returns from banking products as most of them preferred customer service and ethics.







For a majority of customers, attributes of an "ideal bank" include a lender that keeps its customer best interest in mind, keeps its promises, is transparent in all its dealings, has no hidden fees, acts ethically etc.







In April, ADIB spent Dh650 million to acquire the UAE's retail and wealth management assets of British lender Barclays, a deal which will boost its exposure to the expatriate community.







"The migration of 110,000 Barclays accounts to ADIB system will start on September 1," Al Mahmoud said. He was confident that his bank would retain the business it acquired from Barclays along with the retail staff.







Meanwhile, according to the study only 58 per cent of the respondents believe their bank has hidden interest, fees or charges and only 57 per cent believe their bank has the customer's best interest in mind; 41 per cent say their bank is not transparent in all its dealings.







Across the board, customers found their banks not easy to do business with and lacking in applying best industry practices and delivering simple banking experience.







"There is great demand for ethical bank globally; Islamic banks have a unique opportunity to meet this unmet demand, because ethics are core to their foundation. They need to focus on substance, rather than on form, innovate to make their products and services simple and straight forward. This will give them universal appeal and drive future growth," said Al Mahmoud.







The study showed that in Indonesia, Egypt, the UAE and Turkey, 76 per cent trusted the banking sector, in contrast with only 21 per cent in the UK where people placed banking on the bottom of a list of industries in terms of trust.







haseeb@khaleejtimes.com




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Source: Khaleej Times (United Arab Emirates)


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