Middle East largest bank starts operations after NBAD, FGB merger


Abdul Basit

Dubai – Middle East largest bank is starting operations from today after the merger of National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) and First Gulf Bank (FGB.

The total assets of the two banks was estimated at Dh665.8 billion by the end of 2016, which was disclosed before the merger.  Their financial statements showed combined deposits of Dh402.58 billion, while their combined loan value was Dh357.2 billion by the end of 2016.

The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange had already completed the procedures for the unification of the records of the stakeholders in both banks.

Customers of both the banks have been advised to use both the banks’ ATMs and they can also visit any branch of both the banks till the merged branches seen visible.

“As an FGB customer, you can additionally use the NBAD ATM network to service your banking needs at no cost,” FGB Group Head of Personal Banking Hana Al Rostamani said in an email to customers.

“FGB branded branches will continue to operate and serve you as usual, and you can also visit select NBAD branches to service your needs. We will continue to update you on our integration progress and launch of new exciting banking services,” the bank said.

“Joining together on or around April 1, we will be combining our strengths and capabilities, expanding our resources and global reach to establish the UAE’s largest bank with $183 billion in assets,” it added.

Last Thursday marked the last day of trading in FGB PJSC before its combination with National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC in a deal that creates the biggest financial institution in the country. The combined entity starts trading on April 2, with FGB stock holders receiving 1.254 shares for each one they own before the merger.

The merger, which was approved by both banks’ shareholders on December 7, was done in part to cut down on costs by removing duplicate posts and sharing resources.

The move is expected to produce cost savings of about Dh500 million a year from 2019, according to research from the Egyptian investment bank EFG-Hermes.

Even though NBAD, the biggest bank by assets in the UAE, has made headway in building its consumer banking business, it will get a boost from joining forces with FGB, which has more loans to individuals on its books.

Retail lending accounts for about 40 per cent of FGB’s total lending book, while NBAD’s consumer lending portfolio makes up just 17 per cent of its outstanding loans.

Investors have backed the combination, especially as NBAD is considered one of the safest banks in the world; its high credit ratings will allow it to borrow money cheaply on behalf of the new entity, which will have assets of US$178 billion, making it one of the largest in the Middle East and North Africa.