Customer Engagements Key for Inclusive Growth in Shariah Banking


By Mary Kanuku,

Shariah Banking is gaining global popularity, offering ethical and inclusive financial solutions that resonate with a diverse range of customers. Over the past decade, it has evolved from a niche market to a mainstream industry in many countries, driven by strong balance sheets, high profits, regulatory support, and sustained demand.

According to the Islamic Finance Development Report 2023 launched by the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), the industry is expected to continue growing, with assets projected to reach US$6.7 trillion by 2027. However, increasing the penetration of Shariah banking in markets dominated by conventional banking requires significant efforts, particularly in raising awareness and understanding among consumers.

One key factor hindering the absorption of Shariah banking in the country is the general lack of awareness and understanding of Shariah banking principles among consumers. This lack of familiarity can lead to misconceptions and resistance.

For brands invested in Islamic Finance, customer engagement is crucial for enhancing familiarity with Shariah Banking. Engagements foster strong relationships and loyalty and ultimately drive the popularity of the brand and sector. Engaged customers are more likely to stay loyal, advocate for the brand, and contribute to its overall success.

In addition, Shariah Banking’s growth depends on continuous innovation and the ability to meet evolving customer needs. We have to refine our products and services, relying on invaluable insights directly from those who use our services daily. This is crucial in allowing us to stay ahead in an increasingly competitive market. With customer engagements, brands have the opportunity to get such feedback and align their needs with those of the customers. 

At DIB Bank Kenya, we recognise that our customers are the lifeblood of our operations. As a fully-fledged Shariah banking institution, we are committed to understanding their needs and providing products and services that align with them.

Thus, aligning with our strategy of Deepening and entrenching existing customer relationships through seamless customer experience, we continue to bank on our customers to ensure that we understand them, learn about their experience with us, and develop a framework on how to better their time with us and increase the penetration of Shariah banking in the country.

The journey towards greater acceptance of Shariah banking depends on robust customer engagement and education. By prioritising customer needs, leveraging feedback, and continuously innovating, institutions can not only enhance customer loyalty but also drive the broader adoption of Shariah financial principles. As the industry progresses towards its projected growth, a concerted effort to deepen customer relationships will be vital in establishing Shariah Finance as a cornerstone of ethical and inclusive financial solutions globally.

The writer is the Head of Treasury Representing the CEO Office at DIB Bank Kenya

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