The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Rapid growth of Islamic banking in developing countries is accompanied with claims about its relative resilience to financial crises as compared to conventional banking. However, little empirical evidence is available to support such claims. Using data from Pakistan, where Islamic and conventional banks co-exist, we compare these banks during a financial panic. Our results show that Islamic bank branches are less prone to deposit withdrawals during financial panics, both unconditionally and after controlling for bank characteristics. The Islamic branches of banks that have both Islamic and conventional operations tend to attract (rather than lose) deposits during panics, which suggests a role for religious branding. We also find that Islamic bank branches grant more loans during financial panics and that their lending decisions are less sensitive to changes in deposits. Our findings suggest that greater financial inclusion of faith-based groups may enhance the stability of the banking system.