Absa Islamic Banking is the inaugural recipient of the 2009 Best Islamic Bank in South Africa award, according to the Islamic Finance news, a leading industry publication. The accolade, determined on a poll basis by the publication’s readers, recognises excellence, achievement and leadership in Islamic banking and finance. It is the first time that the awards are designated by country, and not by continent.
Amman Muhammad, Managing Director of Absa Islamic Banking, described the accolade as an “honour and a vote of confidence in our products and services from our customers across the globe”. He added: “The fact that this is the result of an international poll augurs well for our future growth and ongoing expansion of our suite of products.”
He added that at 98%, ABSA Islamic Banking boasts one of the best retention rates in the conventional banking environment; an achievement Muhammad attributes to the customers’ endorsement of Absa’s response to their needs. “ABSA Islamic Banking has certainly mastered the art of turning customer approval into tangible outputs, most notably in the form of awards,” he said.
In the recent past, Islamic Finance News voted Absa Islamic Banking as the Best Islamic Bank in Africa for two consecutive years – 2007 and 2008. The same publication had also bestowed Absa with the 2006 Shariah Deal of the Year award for South Africa. Most recently, the editors of the Global Finance Magazine – following extensive consultation with bankers, corporate finance executives and analysts throughout the world – voted ABSA Islamic Banking as the 2009 World’s Best Islamic Financial Institution Award in the category for the non-Gulf Cooperation Council Middle East/Africa region.
According to Global Finance Magazine, criteria that counted in Absa’s favour included its growth in profitability, its strategic relationships, new business development and innovation in products. “The winning banks were all noteworthy in their dedication to satisfying their customers’ needs in accordance with the rules of Islamic finance,” the magazine declared.