The setting is ripe for rapid growth at the GCC’s Islamic banks. Growing populations and economies, with high proportions of Muslims, are creating a market with huge potential. But there are challenges for the Islamic banking industry in the Middle East; it is a relatively young industry with most Islamic banks being less than 40 years old that are trying to compete, differentiate and grow in a crowded and fragmented regional and global marketplace. Rapidly changing developments in technology and growing aspirations of customers make this challenge even greater.
However, Islamic banks appear to be finding growth hard to achieve, perhaps because any increase in banking assets is spread across so many institutions in the region. If they are to differentiate, grow and become market leaders they need to become more customer-centric, which means understanding and responding to what customers want. But, what is it customers, and as importantly potential customers, want? What’s important, and what’s not?
To help provide some insight, and we hope to create a debate about the opportunities for the region’s Islamic Banks, we commissioned a survey of retail banking customers to find out. Here’s what we found, and what we think banks might want to consider in their strategies to compete, differentiate and grow.
The growth of the Muslim population will be double the rate of non-Muslims in the period to 2025. The world's Muslim population is forecast to expand by a third (600 million people) by 2030.