DUBAI // Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), the largest Islamic bank in the Emirates, will open 10 branches this year, bringing its total to 64 branches by the end of the year. The plan marks an acceleration of DIB's branch expansion programme, which saw six new outlets opened last year. "Over the past few years, the world, and particularly our region has been witnessing an increased demand for Islamic banking services," said Adnan Chilwan, the head of retail and business banking at DIB.
More Express Banking Centres will also be rolled out in malls and hypermarkets, he added. Demand for Islamic banking has grown faster than conventional banking over the past few years. However, several banks have put on hold their expansion plans and even laid off staff in an attempt to cut costs as profitability has declined on the slowdown in the economy, weakening property prices and a growing threat from bad loans.
Banks are keen to increase their depositor bases following a large drop in deposits last year caused by the flight of foreign investors and sharp falls on stock markets. DIB is 58.7 per cent owned through publicly traded shares, and Investment Corporation of Dubai holds 29.8 per cent. Its shares closed on Thursday at Dh1.72, down 83 per cent from a year ago. It is expected to announce its fourth-quarter earnings soon.