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The Islamic Retail Banking Awards or IRBA for short is the first-of-its-kind Islamic banking awards programme based on the most academically rigorous analysis of global Islamic banking efficiency performance. Winners are rigorously assessed by a panel of independent experts based on the efficiency model developed by Cambridge IFA. These prestigious awards honor individuals and institutions who have demonstrated great commitment and made significant contribution to the development, growth and success of Islamic retail banking.

IRBA celebrates excellence and best practices in Islamic retail banking in two broad categories:

  • Strongest Islamic Retail Banks – award winners are selected based on a path-breaking Islamic banking efficiency study conducted by Cambridge IFA, which ranks over 130 Islamic retail banks.
  • Critics' Choice Awards – award winners are carefully selected by the Critic's Choice Committee, which comprises leading Islamic banking experts from around the world.

Strongest Islamic retail banks should be considered the safest Islamic banks in terms of doing business with, both by customers on the liabilities side and those seeking financing or doing business with these banks on the assets side. We believe that efficiency of operations and management should be the key factor in determining the safety level of a bank rather than its size. Unlike the Safest Bank Rankings by some other award giving bodies, we employ a robust methodology to measure efficiency of Islamic retail banks. Our ranking of Islamic retail banks has already become a benchmark in assessing the performance of Islamic retail banks all over the world.

Critics' Choice Awards, on the other hand side, take into account wider factors in determining winners in a number of categories.

Award Categories

In the inaugural IRBA, a total of 25 awards were presented to Islamic banks and individuals, including a technology firm and an institution of higher learning. A total of 10 individuals and institutions from the UAE were honored with various categories of awards, representing 40% of the total number of award recipients. However, the coverage was global. Pakistan, Sudan, Malaysia, Oman and Saudi Arabia each took home 2 awards. Other countries represented in the awards ceremony included Kenya, South Africa, Bahrain, Kuwait and Jordan.

For past five years, a number of leading players in Islamic retail financial industry were presented, widening the scope and coverage of IRBA to new categories and geographies. The winners primarily came from Pakistan, Sudan, Malaysia, Bangladesh, UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, USA, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka.

This year's IRBA 2021 ceremony will take place in December 2021. A large number of Islamic retail financial institutions will be participating in the Awards Ceremony.