Emirates NBD remains largest Arab bank

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Emirates NBD remained the largest Arab bank in terms of assets for the third consecutive year at the end of 2009 while the UAE maintained its position as having the biggest banking sector in the region.

According to the Beirut-based Union of Arab Banks (UAB), which groups nearly 470 financial institutions in the Arab world, the UAE also has the largest number of banks in the region to be included in the list of the world’s top 1000 banks.

In a study about the largest 100 Arab banks, UAB again ranked the Dubai-based Emirates NBD number one in the Arab region in terms of assets, which peaked at nearly $76.7 billion at the end of 2009.

It was also the top bank in terms of loans, which totalled around $53 billion by the end of 2009, and in shareholders equity, which stood at $8.7 billion.

Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank (NCB) came second, with assets of around $68.5 billion and loans and shareholders equity of nearly $29.9 billion and $8.22 billion respectively. But it topped the list in terms of deposits, which totalled nearly $54 billion at the end of 2009, the figures showed.

The government-owned National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) controlled the third largest assets of around $53.6 billion, followed by the Amman-based Arab Bank, with around $50.6 billion, and the Saudi American Bank Group (Samba), with assets of nearly $49.4 billion.

Qatar National Bank had the fifth largest assets of about $49.2 billion, followed by Riyadh Bank of Saudi Arabia, with $47 billion, Egypt’s Alahli Bank, with nearly $46.2 billion, the Saudi Al Rajhi Bank with $45.2 billion and the National Bank of Kuwait with around $45 billion at the end of 2009.

The report showed Al Rajhi was the most profitable bank in the Arab world in 2009, with its net earning standing at around $1,805 million.

Samba came second with net profits of about $1,227 million, followed by NCB with nearly $1,099 million and Emirates NBD with $911 million.

Country-wise, the UAE continued to control the dominant banking sector in the Arab World, with the combined assets of its 51 banks totaling around $430.2 billion at the end of 2010. Its banks also had the largest capital base of about $72.5 billion and deposits of nearly $197.2 billion.

Saudi banks came second by assets, which stood at $366.9 billion. It was followed by Iraq with $261.8 billion, Egypt with nearly $222.8 billion, Bahrain with $216.3 billion, Qatar with $143.8 billion, Kuwait with $143.3 billion, Lebanon with $126.7 billion, Algeria with $102.4 billion and Morocco with $99.7 billion.

The figures showed 56 banks among the top 100 Arab banks are based in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), with combined assets of around $1,087 billion, nearly 65 per cent of the total assets of the 100 banks and around 48 per cent of the combined assets of the Arab world’s banking sector.
Among those were 15 UAE banks, 12 Saudi banks, 10 banks in Bahrain, nine in Qatar, seven in Kuwait and three in Oman.

Those GCC banks extended around $656 billion in loans, accounting for nearly 74.8 per cent of the total credit provided by the 100 top Arab banks. They also accounted for 63 per cent of the total deposits, nearly 78 per cent of the consolidated shareholders equity and 74 per cent of the profits.

“Worldwide, 84 Arab banks entered the list of the world’s top 1,000 banks issued by The Banker magazine in July 2010….58 of those Arab banks are based in the GCC, including 17 from the UAE, 11 from Saudi Arabia, nine from Bahrain and eight each from Qatar and Kuwait,” the report said.

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