In what looks like a tremendous success, UAE’s banking sector assets have increased by 12 times, from $75 billion in 2000 to over $900 billion in 2022, or over 250% of nominal GDP (UBF), according to the nation’s Banks Federation chairman Abdulaziz Al-Ghurair.
He indicated this at the Abu Dhabi Financial Week on November 15, 2022, positioning the banking sector in the UAE on par with the growth rate in major international markets.
UAE Banks Federation participated in the event as a strategic partner. It was organized by Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) in collaboration with the Department of Economic Development – Abu Dhabi.
At the event, he spoke to more than 500 notable investors and financial experts from 30 different countries, noting that the UAE banks are well-capitalized and profitable, which are requirements for enhancing the sector’s stability over the long term under the watch of the Central Bank of the UAE.
A Giant Leap In The UAE Bank Assets
Al-Ghurair listed the country as one of the top seven financial centers in the world while speaking at the Abu Dhabi Financial Week.
He also emphasized the importance of specialized financial hubs like the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and Dubai International Financial Centre in expanding the financial industry and putting it on the map internationally.
More than 7,000 businesses call the centers home, and more than 44,000 people are employed there.
Al-Ghurair emphasized the significant advancements made by the banking industry in creating digital solutions that provide customers with the best services while creating a dependable and secure financial environment.
He added that local banks had invested more than $1 billion over the previous five years to update their technology infrastructure. They now offer improved specialized services while enhancing digital channels, cloud computing, and APIs
Digital Expansions Takes A Bright Turn
Since more than 95% of all transactions at top banks have gone digital, which is a record high globally, he highlighted the positive side of the change by remarking that “Digital Transformation has contributed to increasing the reliance on digital services.”
Leading banks now provide 90% of their services through smartphones, and more than 50% of new bank accounts are opened through digital channels. In the meantime, more services are being provided via smart devices.
This increasing reliance on digital banking is reflected in the country’s closure of more than 200 bank branches, a 30% reduction.
Three operating banks have launched their own digital banks, and there are two banks in the UAE that only operate online. The nation’s banking sector currently employs 20,000 people, and Al-Ghurair anticipates growth.
He commended local banks for their efforts in fostering talent to keep up with the demands of this changing industry while creating appropriate solutions and utilizing technology in novel ways.
In order to meet customer demands in the digital age, UAE banks have attracted and trained professionals, including designers, system engineers, and data specialists.
He continued by saying that this sector employs more than 20,000 professionals.
Massive Growth Predicted By 2030
Al-Ghurair predicted that the banking industry would grow favorably and robustly, surpassing macroeconomic growth, with bank revenues reaching more than $25 billion by 2030, a 50% increase over current revenues, establishing a strong financial position.
The oldest privately owned bank in the United Arab Emirates and a major player in banking, Mashreq, reported a net profit of AED2.6 billion in the first nine months of 2022.
In comparison to the same period last year, the bank’s operating income increased by 24.3 percent to AED5.3 billion. This increase was primarily the result of a surge in net interest income.
On the whole, due to significant investments in this industry, the UAE has emerged as the Middle East and Africa’s fintech hub.