by Ashish Sharma, Head of Wholesale Banking Dubai and Northern Emirates, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) has built up a strong reputation as a universal bank for the UAE, covering a wide spectrum of products and customer segments, from retail customers through to small and medium-sized enterprises, mid-caps, large regional corporations and public sector entities. Recently, ADCB has expanded its focus to the growing number of multinational corporations (MNCs) headquartered outside the region who are choosing to work with ADCB in the UAE.
Banking dichotomy in UAE
The UAE is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for MNCs, with corporations across a wide range of industries establishing a presence here. Not only is the UAE an attractive market in its own right, but with excellent logistics, an attractive business environment and a highly skilled, cosmopolitan workforce, it is ideally positioned as a regional hub for the Middle East, Africa, and into eastern Europe and central Asia.
However, while the number and diversity of international MNCs in UAE is growing, the banking landscape is contracting. Until recently, a large number of international banks were located in UAE, so MNCs doing business in the region often chose to work with an existing banking partner, rather than approaching an additional local bank specifically for UAE. There are various reasons for the declining number of foreign banks in UAE, but in general terms, the cost and risk associated is resulting in international banks choosing to ‘derisk’ their business. Some banks have chosen to exit UAE altogether (and indeed other regions too), while others are narrowing their focus to specific products or key relationships.