UK’s first Islamic bank will be enhancing its digital offerings, encouraged by the strong uptake in digital channels by its customers.
With over 20,000 of its customers now using its online banking services to manage their day-to-day banking, Al Rayan Bank has plans to continuously upgrade its mobile banking app, introduced in September 2019, as well as roll out a new corporate website in 2021. Among new features to be integrated into its app is the ability for customers to validate online purchases.
“The way customers are choosing to bank is changing, with an increasing number of people choosing to bank online or through their mobile device,” explained Dr Samir Alamad, the Islamic bank’s Shariah compliance expert. “Al Rayan Bank is committed to meet this demand by providing world-class online and mobile products and services, which not only provide full security but also provide quick and efficient ways for customers to manage their money.”
The UK is home to the largest concentration of Islamic banks in the European region, yet its Islamic finance prowess is not nearly as significant as those of its Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian counterparts. The government and industry stakeholders have nonetheless noted that Islamic fintech could be the lynchpin to the country’s next chapter of Islamic finance growth.
“The financial landscape is evidently evolving, and Islamic finance institutions have a significant growth opportunity in their hands by making the digital shift, catering to Muslim communities and mainstream audiences alike. Their role is vital in reinforcing the UK’s position as a fintech hub and in growing awareness of Islamic finance overall,” agreed Dr Samir. “The relative agility and youth of the Islamic finance market, in addition to the tools contained within its dynamic structure, makes it adaptable to the new era of digital Islamic banking.”
As one of the most sophisticated fintech hubs in the world, the UK boasts over 1,600 fintech firms, according to government statistics, a figure expected to more than double in the next decade. The conducive start-up ecosystem and gaps in the local Islamic finance market have led to Muslims taking the technopreneur route to solve the issue with fintech start-ups. The UK leads the global space for aspiring Islamic digital banking start-ups at five, according to the IFN Islamic Fintech Landscape as at the end of September 2020.