Al Baraka Bank has scooped five prestigious international honours, including being named ‘Best Islamic Bank in South Africa,' in the recently announced 2022 Islamic Finance News (IFN) Awards, globally recognised as the Islamic finance industry’s leading poll.
IFN is widely seen to provide a comprehensive and unbiased guide to leading Islamic finance players. Its annual awards event sets out to recognise, celebrate and honour the best business role-players in the global Islamic finance industry for the critical and impactful role they make in realising the massive potential of Islamic finance.
Mr Shabir Chohan, Al Baraka Bank’s Chief Executive, said of the accolades: “We are hugely delighted to have been acknowledged by the authoritative IFN for our business activities and contribution towards servicing clients in the Islamic banking sector in South Africa. These esteemed awards will serve to give further impetus to our bold business strategies, which are geared for business growth and sustainability in the digital age.”
The South African financial institution was named in the latest IFN awards as the ‘Best Islamic Bank in South Africa,’ and as having the ‘Best Digital Offering in South Africa,’ as well as providing the ‘Deal of the Year’ in no fewer than three categories relating to the issuance and client uptake of its hugely successful R100 million Tier 1 Sukuk.
Islamic finance has made massive strides from its previous minnow status within the global financial sector and is increasingly being regarded as an integral part of the industry, with Shariah- compliant banking transactions permeating the entire financial system.
Mr Chohan said: “Such international award recognition may, in part, be attributed to our having realigned our business, incorporating three distinct divisions, corporate, SME and retail, leading to clear market segmentation and significantly improved customer service, interaction and ability to exceed client expectations. Given the age of digitalisation, it is clear that the historical business model is no longer appropriate and our focus has, instead, centered around keeping on-track with our digitalisation journey, given the demands of an increasingly technology-driven world.”
The bank has introduced a number of new technologies into the public domain, including a new interactive website, a comprehensive mobile banking App, a web portal enabling clients to apply for finance, tokenised payments and a digital signing solution.
“Additionally, we have developed a new corporate banking App and a corporate banking web portal, both of which are set to launch early this year, 2023. We have also identified further digitalisation-related projects for future development and introduction by the bank, in line with our connectivity and automation strategy,” Mr Chohan said.
South Africa’s Al Baraka Bank is a fully-integrated subsidiary of the internationally-acclaimed Bahrain-based Al Baraka Group B.S.C. which has a presence in 15 countries around the world.
"As a part of the Al Baraka Group, we have developed a proud track-record as a provider of services in retail, corporate, treasury and investment banking, strictly in accordance with Shariah principles, thus offering an increasingly popular alternative to conventional banking in South Africa," Mr Chohan added.
As the only fully-fledged Islamic financial institution in this country, Al Baraka Bank is widely regarded as operating at the cutting-edge of Shariah-compliant finance here.
“The continued growth and development of our clients is of critical importance to our bank and we intend using the accolades awarded to us by IFN to further boost our standing as a professional commercial and Shariah-compliant bank in South Africa’s financial sector, creating the ultimate banking experience for our clients and shareholders into the future,” Mr Chohan said.