Islamic banks assets up 11%

UAE has eight Shariah-compliant banks with 260 branches

Islamic banks operating in the UAE recorded growth in most of their banking operations in 2010, with their combined assets rising by nearly 11 per cent, according to the Dubai chamber of commerce and industry.

By the end of 2010, the collective assets of the eight Islamic banks in the UAE, the second largest Arab economy, totalled nearly Dh269 billion, accounting for around 16.2 per cent of the overall banking assets of Dh1.66 trillion.

In a study, the chamber said the UAE had eight Islamic banks at the end of 2010, with nearly 260 branches, controlling about Dh198bn in deposits. They accounted for around 10.9 per cent of the total deposits with the country’s 23 national banks and 28 foreign units.

“Islamic banks in the UAE are recording steady growth because of rising demand for shariah-compliant banking business…growth is expected to continue in the coming years due to an increase in income and population,” it said.

The study noted that demand for Islamic banking services, including from non-Moslems, gained momentum after the 2008 global fiscal crisis jolted most conventional banks worldwide.

“Studies show that Islamic banking turnover will surge from around Dh3.7trn in 2010 to Dh9.9trn in 2015,” it said. “But it should be noted that Islamic banks are not fully immune to global crises and world economic downturn as was shown in the wake of the 2008 crisis, when many banks suffered from liquidity shortages.”

The study said that despite the positive economic climate in the UAE, Islamic banks in the country face some challenges in the short term…we expect that these banks will fully recover in the coming period and will be able to expand business in untapped markets such as Turkey, Syria and  southeast Asia.”

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