Islamic car loan applications soar 64% in the UAE in 2016

compareit4me.com data says Islamic car loan applications made up 45% of the UAE's total last year

Applications for Islamic car loans in the UAE grew significantly in 2016, with Islamic auto loan products occupying three of the top five spots on the year’s most-applied-for list, according to new data.

compareit4me.com, the Middle East financial comparison site, said the number of users applying for Islamic car loans increased by 64.7 percent in 2016 compared to the previous year.

Data gleaned from the company’s car loan comparison portal revealed that Islamic car loan applications made up 45 percent of total car loan applications in 2016.

However, despite growth in Islamic car loans, car loans based on traditional finance were more popular among UAE residents in 2016.

Those earning under AED20,000 per month overwhelmingly preferred Emirates NBD for car loans, while consumers earning over that number tended to prefer HSBC’s auto loans, the data showed.

Overall, the third, fourth and fifth most applied-for car loans of 2016 were from Islamic banks including products from Emirates Islamic, Noor Bank and Ajman Bank.

“While non-Islamic banks took the lion’s share of applications for car loans last year, Islamic banks are certainly making waves in this segment. This is down to a couple of factors. For one thing, many Islamic banks have broadened their offerings in recent years, offering competitive car loans featuring attractive rates and added benefits such as discounted takaful,” said Samer Chehab, COO of compareit4me.com.

“Secondly, because of the attractiveness of these offers, there’s a greater awareness among consumers of Islamic banks’ car loan products these days.”

compareit4me’s data also revealed that it was no more difficult for UAE residents to secure car finance in 2016 than it was in 2015.

On average, users made 1.9 applications each for car loans in 2016 – a number unchanged from 2015’s figure. This suggests that many users were able to secure a car loan without applying for multiple products.

“This contrasts with the story told by our data on personal loans, which showed an average of 2.97 applications per user in 2016 – up 11.74 percent on 2015’s figure of 2.62 applications per user,” said Jon Richards, CEO of compareit4me.com.

“The liquidity crunch caused by the low oil price, coupled with the resultant market uncertainty, was a big reason for banks’ increased unwillingness to extend personal loans. However, with car loans, it works a little bit differently, as you’re borrowing money against an insured asset. This makes the proposition just that little more attractive to lenders,” he added.

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