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27 February 2024

NIB to go ahead with GCC expansion plan

By Shveta Pathak

Noor Islamic Bank (NIB) has put on hold its global expansion plan but will stick to its local and regional growth plans, Group CEO of Noor Investment Group told Emirates Business.

"For the time being we have put our international plans on hold. We are focusing on the GCC. We would continue expansion in the region and our total branch network by the end of this year would be 17," said Hussain Al Qemzi, Group CEO of Noor Investment Group.

The bank has shelved international plans in the backdrop of global financial crisis. At the time of its launch a year ago, the bank had announced plans to expand into three continents within five years.

"We realise that there is a crisis and it has hit the whole world not only the UAE. As a bank, we have taken measures to deal with the situation. We believe we can work our way through this period."

The Shariah-compliant bank, that was launched with a capital of $1 billion (Dh3.67bn), is "flourishing", said Qemzi.

He said liquidity situation was expected to improve in the later half of this year. "There is a shortage of liquidity in the market, there has been injection of liquidity as well. Economy has shown resilience but we will go through a difficult first half of this year. The situation would improve in the later half."

On consolidations in the sector, Qemzi said he did not see any further mergers and consolidations.

"Experiences have told us that mergers may not always be a good solution. We are in favour of mergers but it is the timing of merging banks that matters. During the crisis, the issue is not to merge but to make more liquidity available to compensate for what the economy has lost."