The UAE banking system has been ranked the top banking sector in the Gulf region in terms of assets in the first half of 2017, while the total assets of the 48 banks operating in the country reached US$723 billion (AED2.66 trillion) for the year 2016.
Experts in the sector said the continued stability of the UAE banking system places it in the top position compared with the rest of its counterparts in the GCC countries, a clear indication of the great financial solvency it enjoys as a result of the open economic and financial policy followed by the UAE, which has encouraged many of the world’s financial institutions to invest in the country, according to a study by the First Abu Dhabi Bank.
The banking system in Saudi Arabia ranked second with $611 billion at the end of June, with a growth rate of 1.5 percent compared with 2016's value of $602 billion. Bank assets in Kuwait reached $206 billion, $185 billion in the Kingdom of Bahrain and $80 billion in the Sultanate of Oman.
The First Abu Dhabi Bank topped the list with assets of $170 billion, National Bank of Saudi Arabia with $120 billion, National Bank of Kuwait with $85 billion, Ahli United Bank in Bahrain with $32 billion and Bank Muscat with $29 billion.
The First Abu Dhabi Bank was the most profitable in the first half of this year compared with the rest of the Gulf banks with a profit of some $1.5 billion, while Al Ahli Bank of Saudi Arabia recorded a net profit of $1.36 billion. The National Bank of Kuwait followed with $549 million, Ahli United Bank in Bahrain with some $311 million and Bank Muscat with $22 million.
The UAE banking system has received the highest ratings by international financial institutions, including Moody’s, S&P ratings and Fitch ratings, securing Aa3, AA- and AA- respectively.