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A study of Islamic banks in the non-GCC MENA region: evidence from Lebanon

Rima M. Bizri (College of Business Administration, Rafik Hariri University, Mechref, Lebanon)

International Journal of Bank Marketing

ISSN: 0265-2323

Article publication date: 1 April 2014




This purpose of this paper is to investigate the status of Islamic banking in Lebanon, through addressing the perceptions of existing and potential clients. The study has two objectives: one is to identify and measure the factors that clients perceive as important in deciding to patronize an Islamic bank, and the other is to draw a client profile for Islamic banks operating in Lebanon.


The literature review provided the theoretical framework this study builds on. A survey instrument was developed and the data were analyzed using SPSS (19.0). To draw the client profile, the researcher conducted cluster analysis followed by discriminant analysis. To identify and measure the Islamic bank selection criteria, the researcher used factor analysis followed by regression analysis.


Findings show that clients consider five variables in deciding whether or not to patronize Islamic banks. These variables are trust in Islamic banks and their true compliance with Sharia, customers’ familiarity with Islamic modes of finance, cost of financing and other transactions, accessibility of Islamic banks, and the quality of service offered by those banks. The study was also able to delineate the significant attributes of IB clients, raising the issue of changing the target market segment.

Research limitations/implications

This study employed a usable sample size of 199 questionnaires collected from one MENA region nation, Lebanon. It may be useful to probe the research questions of this study using a larger sample size collected from several MENA region nations, in order to reach a more validated conclusion. In addition, it may be equally useful to assess other demographic and psychographic variables as distinguishing factors among client clusters, for the purpose of reaching a deeper understanding of Islamic bank clientele in this region.

Practical implications

It is suggested that Islamic banks consider the five factors identified in this study, while preparing their marketing strategy, for the purpose of increasing their market share in the non-GCC MENA region. It is also suggested that Islamic banks approach the so far neglected market segments, rather than sticking to their traditional clients.


This paper is the first to investigate the status of Islamic banks in Lebanon. The findings of this study will help refocus the marketing strategies of Islamic banks in Lebanon. They may also apply to other developing non-GCC countries in the MENA region.



M. Bizri, R. (2014), "A study of Islamic banks in the non-GCC MENA region: evidence from Lebanon", International Journal of Bank Marketing, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 130-149.



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