Banks in UAE and Qatar have the highest reputation in GCC

25 March 2024 Consultancy-me.com 4 min. read

Banks in the UAE and Qatar lead the GCC playing field in terms of reputation. That is one of main revelations from a report from KPMG, which sheds light on how customers perceive the region’s banking sector.

Emirati-based banks are in the lead for their reputation, setting them apart from peers in other GCC countries. That means that UAE banks were found to have the highest net positive sentiment, measured through a model that captures online feedback and mentions.

Qatar, on the other hand, lands the top spot for overall net sentiment, followed by Bahrain in second.

Banks in UAE and Qatar have the highest reputation in GCC

Source: KPMG, DataEQ, GCC banking sentiment index

KPMG’s report, billed as the first of its kind in the region, analyzed nearly 4 million posts on X (formerly Twitter) over the span of one year. With this data, the researchers gained an in-depth view of what banking customers really think about their banks.

When it comes to online conversations in relation to banking, Saudi Arabian banks saw the highest amount of exchanges between customers and their banks, according to the data, with a response rate of 58.6%, significantly higher than the GCC average of 31.3%. Oman and Kuwait ranked second and third.

These responses are from bank social media teams that reacted to mentions from customers on X, where the mention is deemed actionable because it is judged to be a potential risk or opportunity for the brand. That can be an angry tweet from a customer about not being able to log in to their account, or on the other hand, a simple question, or even positive feedback.

Banks in UAE and Qatar have the highest reputation in GCC

Source: KPMG, DataEQ, GCC banking sentiment index

Customers in Saudi Arabia were the most engaged online and dominated online conversations about banks, indicating that they are more vocal about banking than their neighbors. It could also mean that KSA banking customers are especially opinionated or are more preoccupied with banking in general.

“Mentions involving a purchasing intent made up 7.7% of the total priority conversation volume. Saudi Arabian banks achieved the highest volume of purchase conversation, followed by Bahrain and Qatar. Consumers showed interest in personal and housing loans, as well as new account openings, all of which contributed to this purchase conversation,” the report noted.

Service as a competitive edge

In recent years, many countries in the GCC, known for their oil wealth, have made impressive strides in diversifying into other sectors. This change has given a boost to the local banking industries. The region’s banks are well-capitalized, generally quite technologically advanced, and offer an impressive range of financial services.

The banking sector in the GCC has been growing steadily thanks to significant infrastructure projects, efforts to make their economies more diverse, and because there is high demand for different banking services. Cross-border banking activities are common in the GCC region.

“Understanding consumer sentiment in the GCC’s banking sector is a complex, multifaceted undertaking, which has brought to light key areas of significance for consumers and banks alike” said Abbas Basrai, partner and head of financial services and financial risk management at KPMG.

“The data-led insights gained through this report not only reflect the past year but will likely serve as a critical metric for brands aiming to evolve their strategies in a consumer-centric direction.”

Banks in UAE and Qatar have the highest reputation in GCC

Source: KPMG, DataEQ, GCC banking sentiment index

Among the priorities that should be worked on including winding down the number of operational-related complaints. KPMG’s report notes that there still is sufficient room for improvement in areas such as turnaround time, transfer delays, and resolution rates.

A previous report showed that customers of Saudi Arabian banks reported being overall happier with the services they receive, perhaps signaling a shift in banking towards offering better services. Indeed, most of that satisfaction was linked to customer service and products offered.