Speculation that Union National Bank is planning to merge with the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank have been dismissed.
Union National Bank Chief Executive Officer Mohammed Nasr Abdeen said the suggestion was merely a rumour and added that the company had made no moves to merge with any bank or other financial establishment in the UAE. “Mergers are very important for banks and the country’s economy but we have not considered a merger with other banks and there has been no contact regarding this,” he said.
Abdeen was speaking exclusively to Emirates Business at the opening of the bank’s second branch at Al Musaffah industrial area, 45km from Abu Dhabi.
He said Union National Bank was among the best banks in the region when it came to limiting bad debt. “We set controls for loans and have efficient staff and responsive customers.”
Abdeen said the bank was seeking Ministry of Economy approval to set up its own real estate company. He said: “Real estate is currently the best type of investment.”
He said banks had been harmed by the recent fall in interest rates as customers were looking elsewhere for investments that gave good returns instead of depositing their money in banks.
“We have customers who have withdrawn large amounts from their accounts to invest, especially after interest rates were cut several times,” he said.
But Abdeen said Union National Bank – along with other UAE banks – had sufficient liquidity.
The number of UNB branches is set to reach 60 by the end of the year. Offices are due to open shortly at Al Salam, Bani Yas, Khalifa bin Zayed City, Abu Dhabi International Airport Highway and Dubai Healthcare City.
In addition, a branch is being opened in Qatar and a representative office will open in China in June. The number of branches in Egypt has risen to 24.
“In Egypt, the bank netted £87 million (Dh59m) last year, while in 2006 it incurred losses of £75m,” said the chief executive.
Merger talks merely rumour, says UNB CEO