Ruya, a modern digital-native Islamic community bank, on Thursday announced its plans to launch in the UAE market, with its first community banking centre and head office located in the Marsa area in Ajman.

Ruya aims to blend innovative technology with the core principles of Islamic finance, catering to the needs of both individuals and businesses. Licensed by the Central Bank of the UAE as a specialised bank, ruya aims o offer a frictionless digital banking experience, built on strong security and intuitive design. The brand ‘ruya’ takes inspiration from the Arabic word for ‘vision’ or ‘foresight’.

The Islamic finance industry continues to grow in size worldwide having surpassed Dh16.5 trillion in 2022 and is forecast to grow to Dh24.5 trillion by 2027 (Source: ICD-LSEG Islamic Finance Development Report 2023). The UAE is the world’s fourth largest Islamic finance market with Islamic banking assets representing 23 per cent of the total banking assets in the country (Source: Central Bank of the UAE).

In 2023, the Higher Shariah Authority has issued guidance for sustainability at Islamic financial institutions in the UAE. This coincides with a trend towards more ethical consumerism resulting in a higher appeal for Islamic banking products. A recent Deloitte report found that 71 per cent of consumers said they would be more likely to choose a bank with a positive social impact.

Consumers across generations are seeking out brands that satisfy the needs of their fast-paced life and are looking to partner with banks that are easily accessible from anywhere in the world and can complement a lifestyle that is driven by increased mobility.

“We are incredibly excited to launch ruya in the UAE market,” expressed Naser Mohamed Almur Al Zaabi, chairman of ruya. “Choosing Ajman as our base from where we serve the whole UAE reflects our commitment to supporting vibrant and evolving communities. ruya embodies our values of ethical investment and social responsibility and we are confident it will have a positive impact on the UAE’s financial landscape.”

Marwan Obaid Al Muheiri, vice chairman of ruya, said: “We are a new style of Islamic bank, catering to the growing demand for more ethical, convenient and digital-first banking solutions, particularly among younger customers. Our user-friendly app will be paired with open-door branches that will serve as educational and collaborative community centres, fostering financial literacy and inclusivity.”

Designed as open house forums, ruya’s Community Centres (branches) will encourage informal interactions between customers, community members and the bank. Each branch is led by a dedicated Community Manager, whose primary role is to facilitate ruya’s engagement with the local community at large.

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