Consumer trust in the UAE’s banking sector has been growing stronger year-on-year, ranking the industry way ahead of its peers in developed nations, according to a survey.
The 2018 Trust Index Survey by the UAE Banks Federation (UBF) revealed that 74 per cent of respondents had a high trust in the UAE banking sector, up from 68 per cent in 2017. The UAE enjoys a higher trust in the banking sector than many other developed nations, including the USA, UK, China, Japan, France, and Germany, according to the survey conducted in collaboration with Kantar, a data, insights, and consulting company.
“Consumer confidence in the banking sector increased, with 95 per cent of retail banking customers being satisfied with the performance of their main bank, up from 93 per cent in the previous year,” AbdulAziz Al Ghurair, chairman of UBF said on Thursday.
The results of the fourth edition of the Trust Index Survey also showed that overall impressions have improved, with 83 per cent of participants recording a ‘very positive’ perception towards UAE banks, compared with 76 per cent in 2017 and 72 per cent in 2016.
“The sustainable growth of the economy is strongly related to consumer confidence, and trust is a key parameter that helps us understand the banking industry’s capability to generate this confidence,” said Al Ghurair.
He said that despite global geopolitical and economic headwinds, the latest survey shows marked improvements, demonstrating the UAE banking sector’s ongoing commitment to enhance services and products, provide convenience and outstanding customer experience, and address key issues and challenges.
Specific areas that have shown significant improvement are excellent customer service, which is up from 65 per cent to 76 per cent year-on-year; contribution to the economy, which is up from 68 per cent to 77 per cent; and range of products and services, which is up from 65 per cent to 76 per cent.
Al Ghurair said that consumers believe that banks are well equipped for dealing with a variety of issues in the sector. ‘Keeping up with digital innovations’ was the highest performing area, followed by ‘contributions to the economic development of the UAE’. However, when asked what challenges banks in the UAE faced, 61 per cent of the respondents answered ‘high interest rates for loans and credit cards.’
“UBF will continue working closely with its 52 member banks to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and fulfill its key role to elevate the standards of the industry for the benefit of the wider community and country. We have a responsibility to support the UAE’s progressive vision to empower society at all levels, and we are confident that the results of this Trust Index Survey will inspire banks to keep improving, better prepare for the future, and help address the ever-changing challenges in the market,” said Al Ghurair.
This year’s edition surveyed a group of 1,515 adults based in the UAE in 2018. Respondents were carefully selected from a diverse range of nationalities and demographics to ensure a representative sample.