UAE banks score all-time high on consumer trust

The trend towards digital banking experiences is expected to accelerate


Issac John

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UAE ranks above the global average in the trust index and placed higher than prominent international financial centres. — File photo
UAE ranks above the global average in the trust index and placed higher than prominent international financial centres. — File photo

Published: Thu 23 May 2024, 5:22 PM

Last updated: Thu 23 May 2024, 5:35 PM

Consumer confidence in the UAE banking sector jumped to 90 per cent in 2023 from 84 per cent in the previous year, reflecting the sector’s excellence, fast digital transformation, and innovation.

The Arab world’s second-largest economy ranks above the global average in the trust index and placed higher than prominent international financial centres, underscoring the banking sector’s ability to meet the requirements of diverse customer segments.

Abdulaziz Al Ghurair, chairman of the UAE Banks Federation (UBF), said the increase in consumer confidence in the UAE banking sector reflects its continuous development as customer trust is an important pillar in banking and finance.

Speaking at an event organised by the UBF, he said under the direct supervision of Central Bank of the UAE, the banking sector “is striving for excellence, accelerating digital transformation and developing innovative solutions that leverage artificial intelligence, blockchain, and data analytics to provide services that meet and exceed customer expectations, while enhancing the digital infrastructure and improving cybersecurity to provide a secure and seamless banking experience.”

Al Ghurair said the performance of UAE banks over the past years and the first quarter of this year confirms the strength and resilience of the banking sector and its ability to overcome challenges and achieve growth. He noted that the banking sector witnessed a significant increase in net profits, operating profits, revenues, and assets with sound financial indicators characterised by high capital efficiency ratios, provisions, and reserves that exceed the requirements of Basel III principles followed by the global banking system.

He stressed the ability of UAE banks to deal with fluctuating international interest rates as they adopt proactive strategies to keep pace with the changes.

Banking services in the UAE and the rest of the world are undergoing a profound transformation to meet the changing end-user demands and to keep pace with the technological revolution. This signifies the UAE banking sector’s leadership in adopting and developing digital solutions that provide customers with the best services in a secure and reliable banking environment, Al Ghurair said.

UAE banks are also continuously modernising digital infrastructure to offer specialised services while enhancing APIs, cloud computing and digital channels.

The UBF chairman also stressed the importance of investing in qualifying human capital to keep pace with the evolving changes and requirements, develop appropriate solutions and employ innovative technology by attracting, qualifying, and training the cadres needed in the digital age, such as designers, engineers, and data scientists.

According to Al Ghurair, the trend towards digital banking experiences will accelerate, focusing on providing personalised and tailored financial services by leveraging data analytics and artificial intelligence to understand better and meet evolving customer needs, which requires driving innovation and focusing on customer satisfaction.

“The banking sector empowers customers to take better control of their finances, drives the development of leading products and services, promotes sustainability initiatives as a cornerstone of our business, supports environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles in our financing activities and supports companies that prioritise sustainability, contributing to a more sustainable future for all,” said Al Ghurair

According to a recent study released by KPMG in collaboration with DataEQ, banks in the UAE and Qatar lead regional “reputational net sentiment.” The first-ever GCC banking sentiment index that has been designed to quantify the experiences and sentiments of consumers within the GCC banking sector noted that reputational net sentiment --- a composite metric gauging customer satisfaction derived by subtracting negative sentiment from positive sentiment and adjusting for the total volume of conversation --- was spearheaded by the UAE and closely followed by Qatar.

“Understanding consumer sentiment in the GCC’s banking sector is a complex, multifaceted undertaking, which has brought to light key areas of significance for consumers and banks alike. The data-led insights gained through this report not only reflect the past year but will likely serve as a critical metric for brands aiming to evolve their strategies in a consumer-centric direction,” said Abbas Basrai, partner, head of Financial Services and Financial Risk Management at KPMG Lower Gulf.

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