Tehran (IQNA) – The closure of several retail branches of Al-Ryan Bank, Britain’s largest Islamic bank, under the pretext of digitization, has prompted this bank’s customers to turn to other banks using conventional banking.
Al-Ryan Bank closed its Edgware Road branch in London on August 3. The closure of this branch follows the gradual closure of other branches of this bank in recent years, such as White Chapel, London, Small Heath and Birmingham in 2021, Manchester and Leicester in September 2020.
A spokesperson for Al Rayan Bank told Salaam Gateway that customers can continue to use Al Rayan’s banking services on their digital banking and phone banking app. Customers can also deposit cash and checks at Lloyds Bank branch counters.
The bank spokesperson said: “Al-Ryan Bank, like many banks in the UK, realized that customers were more likely to access banking services digitally and not through a branch. As the demand for branch services and Customer turnout has declined, Al-Ryan now only maintains its Knightsbridge branch, open only to customers in need of £ 500,000 ($ 589,000) or more, most of whom are customers from the United States Cooperation Council countries. Persian Gulf or people with high funds.
Mohammad Amin, an Islamic financial advisor and former tax partner of PwC in the UK, said the closure of the Al-Ryan branch, while the bank retains the Knightsbridge branch for some clients, is not surprising.
Zahir Nayani, a partner at Bristol-based law firm Foot Anstey, added that Al-Ryan’s drive to reduce the number of its branches was largely due to the growing digitalization of retail banking and the reduction of many face-to-face customers.
One of Al-Ryan’s clients who expressed dissatisfaction with the commissions and the closure of branches said: “The checking account fee is a trick to induce customers to leave this bank. This is one of the reasons why customers turn to conventional banks ”.
In response, Al-Ryan’s spokesperson said they regularly review their products and strive to provide customers with a range of services that meet their needs and clarified: “In a recent survey, we found that most Our checking account clients do not use Al-Ryan Bank as their main checking account. When a checking account is not used regularly, it can become inactive and create an additional security risk. There are five Islamic banks in the UK, each serving different market sectors such as retail, corporate, private sector and real estate finance. Founded in 2004 and later recognized as the British Islamic Bank, Al Rayan provides Sharia compliant savings, financing and checking account services to over 90,000 private clients , corporate and special. In 2014, Al Rayan became the British branch of Al Rayan Bank (MAR), an Islamic bank headquartered in Qa tar. Last year, MAR merged with Gulf Commercial Bank, creating one of the largest Sharia-compliant banks in the region, with more than 182 billion Qatari riyals ($ 50 billion) in total assets. According to the bank’s 2021 annual report, as part of the merger, Al-Ryan Bank said it will take advantage of MAR’s integration opportunities and focus on top-notch banking and commercial properties. This shows that Al-Ryan is more focused on marketing services, business loans, and even serving wealthy overseas clients. It is an unfortunate decision for British Muslims as it reduces Islamic finance for housewives. Al-Ryan has been the biggest player on the market for years. However, there is still hope. In recent years, there have been several newcomers such as Strideup and Wayhome. However, it will take some time to report the number of Islamic loans issued each year, when Al Rayan Islamic Loans was at its peak. Earlier this year, Al-Ryan Bank announced its transition to become a financial institution that focuses on the bank and its businesses, primarily focused on residential investment, and continues to provide a profitable, flexible and compliant business. to Sharia law. As part of our commitment, we continue to offer highly competitive bank rates to all of our retail, real estate and credit clients. ”