The UAE banking system is robust. This is under the regulation of the Central Bank of UAE since 1980. It is the Central Bank that directs the banking, credit, and banking policies of UAE. It is also tasked to supervise the implementation according to the state’s general policy to make sure that it supports the national economy and its stability. The Central Bank is also responsible for maintaining the gold reserves and foreign currencies of the government. It functions as the bank of all the banks that operate in the UAE and the state’s financial agent in many international financial institutions.
What Makes Up the UAE Banking System
There are four categories of banks in the UAE banking system: Islamic, industrial, commercial, merchant or investment. The Central Bank lists 26 licensed foreign banks that have 85 branches. There are seven banks that are from Great Britain, the US, and France. The rest of the foreign banks are from South Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East.
There are many banks that are part of the UAE banking system. The following are some of them.
Emirates NBD was formed in 2007 when the Emirates Bank International (EBI) and National Bank of Dubai (NBD) merged. It serves as a regional blueprint on banking consolidation as the second and fourth largest banks merged. Throughout the region Emirates NBD delivered high potential value across retail, corporate, private, Islamic, and investment banking all throughout the region. It is a key participant in terms of global digital banking. As of June 2018, its total assets were AED 477.5 Billion.
Mashreq Bank is one of the largest financial institutions operating in the UAE region. It started as a humble Bank of Oman but based in Dubai in 1967. It celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2007, and it has gained its current position through consistency, prudence, and innovation. Mashreq has been leading in product and service innovation particularly in foreign trade, comprehensive mortgage products, and direct banking services. It is credited for the first ATM, credit, and debit cards. It continues to innovate as it introduced digital point-of-sale readers and investment funds directly linked to the Indian stock market.
Formerly known as the Noor Islamic Bank, NOOR Bank started its operations in 2008 in Dubai, UAE. It is eleventh largest bank in the UAE when it comes to asset size. It has multiple branches in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Dubai, and Al Ain. It is a full-service bank which is Shari’a compliant. It has a comprehensive suite of products and services intended for corporate and personal banking, treasury and trading, Tafakul or Islamic insurance, and wealth management.
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB)
The ADIB was established in May 20, 1997 as a public joint stock company. It officially started its operations in November 11, 1998. All the contracts, transactions, and operations of the bank are carried out according to the Islamic Shari’a principles. It has been recognized as the Best Overall Islamic Bank by Islamic Finance News for two consecutive years and Best Bank in the UAE and Best Islamic Bank in the UAE by Banker Magazine. Its products and services are geared towards personal banking, Takaful, priority banking, and wealth management.
If you're looking to open a personal or corporate bank account in the UAE, feel free to contact HBS Dubai for any assistance.