About 76 per cent of customers in the UAE prefer banks that put purpose over profits, according to a report by cloud banking platform Mambu.
Thirty-four per cent of the country's banking customers are ethical bankers who want to make a positive impact in the world.
This is higher than the global average of 31 per cent, according to the report, which interviewed 4,500 customers globally, including in the UAE.
Ethical bankers, who are most likely to pay a premium for financial services that help the environment or local communities, are the second largest among five customer groups, or “tribes”, that are driving the future of financial services, according to the report.
They accounted for 31 per cent of all respondents worldwide and 49 per cent of this group were aged between 18 and 34, the research found.
“Consumers in the UAE are progressive and forward-thinking when it comes to their finances,” said Mambu's Mena region general manager Miljan Stamenkovic.
“They strongly identify with the ethical banker tribe more than any other, showing [a] clear desire for their money to do good. Whether that be for the environment or social and humanitarian causes, UAE consumers are demanding that their banks do better.”
Investors in the UAE are increasingly seeing benefits from integrating sustainable investing in their portfolio, with 93 per cent saying it is a crucial part of their financial strategy, a research by Swiss investment bank UBS revealed this month.
"Techcelerators", who are recent digital banking converts, make up another key group shaping the future of financial services, according to Mambu.
Thirty per cent of UAE customers were classified as "techcelerators", compared with a global average of 33 per cent, the research found.
"Techcelerators", who accounted for 33 per cent of global respondents, probably used digital banking services more frequently over the past 18 months, Mambu said.
Meanwhile, 75 per cent of global consumers are expected to use digital banking services in the next few months than they did before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Another key consumer group driving change in the global banking industry is that of convenience cravers, who want all-in-one services at their fingertips and at no extra cost, the report said.
This group is predominantly middle-aged or consists of older people.
"Covidpreneurs", a term used to identify the entrepreneurs who set up their business during the coronavirus pandemic, are another key demographic driving change as they need easy-to-use and reliable business banking services, said Mambu.
They are the youngest consumer cohort, with about 64 per cent aged under 35 and 25 per cent under 25.
With digital assets going mainstream in the investment world, neo asset hoarders are a key customer segment for banks. The rapidly growing group wants to use financial services to buy, trade and hold assets.
About 75 per cent of neo asset hoarders are expected to own cryptocurrency while 26 per cent will own non-fungible tokens, the report said.
This cohort is expected to agree that the ability to buy, sell or manage neo assets is important in a bank, according to Mambu.