Islamic banks’ reputation surges amidst pandemic

A report by CARMA has identified the top five Islamic banks in the MENA and Asia regions in terms of overall media coverage and positive sentiment.

In MENA, Kuwait Finance House received the best coverage among its peers, with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and three Saudi Islamic banks also making the top five.

Ranking of top Islamic banks in MENA & Asia:

The deep-dive report also highlights key trends in Islamic banking; the most notable trend was a general rise in influence of Islamic banks within the finance sector in general and rapidly growing engagement with audiences in both regions.

This growth is attributed to several factors including pandemic-influenced financial uncertainty and the exposure of instances of global corruption, which make the overall transparency and collaboration advocated by Islamic Banking increasingly appealing.

A strong focus on digitisation and digital offerings across products and services also helped strengthen the overall position of Islamic banks among audiences in both traditional and social media.

“Throughout the pandemic, digital services were prioritised, as banks were reported to have enhanced their digital footprint offering multiple solutions,” said Mazen Nahawi, Group CEO of CARMA. “KFH, ADIB, and QIB were stated to have taken the lead to integrate solutions into their strategies, considering AI abilities and the importance of FinTech. Personal finance through portals and transfer systems were introduced, easing financial activities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The comprehensive data-led study into media exposure and perception of Islamic banks identified not just pertinent topics, themes and subject matter (notably seamless digitalisation, hyper-personalisation and evidence of a commitment to CSR initiatives), but importantly also considered the way in which this content was consumed, how the subject matter was perceived and how visual the banks in question were across both traditional media and social media.

Three major topics were highlighted in traditional media for the banks: Corporate news, Financial results and Banking Services. Favourable coverage displayed the banks’ financial results and corporate issues entailing growth, the issuing of Sukuk bonds, and initiatives taken to empower banks and communities alike. In MENA, KFH, ADIB and Al Rajhi were positively positioned around retail lending, COVID-19 assistance and digitalisation.

For the purposes of the study all relevant traditional (online) media articles were assessed (the report noted that a total of 1,500 articles from online media outlets with specific mentions of these banks were analysed) as well as all original Facebook and Twitter posts and direct and indirect mentions of the bank on social media (a total of 3,022 relevant posts from Twitter and Facebook, 1,840 Twitter unique mentions, 14,883 retweets, 1,182 Facebook unique mentions and 279 shares were analysed).

CARMA used a combination of the latest in AI and human consulting & expertise to identify prominent conversations and sentiments on social media:

“Social media mentions mainly discussed financial and corporate topics regarding loans, bank accounts, money transfers, sponsorships, and partnerships. The commentary was mainly neutral in sentiment as users inquired about loans and discussed loan offers, partnerships, sponsorships, mergers and acquisitions, recruitment opportunities and CSR efforts.”

Utilising its proprietary Favourability Rating System and Sentiment Scoring, CARMA is able to look further into the behaviour of these banks, considering social media engagement levels, identifying the topics that gained the most media coverage, ascertaining if this content was received positively or negatively and establishing in which countries within the region they operated.

For more information about CARMA International Ltd, its expert team and their work, visit