Led by Dubai’s largest lender, Emirates NBD, 18 out of the 30 largest banks in the Middle East and Africa moved up the ranking in 2024 in terms of assets, according to an analysis by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Emirates NBD Bank’s asset size increased 16 per cent in 2023, making it the fourth-largest bank in the Middle East and Africa. The Dubai-based lender’s assets at the end of 2023 totalled $234.88 billion, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data. The asset growth allows Emirates NBD to reclaim its fourth spot in the ranking of the region’s 30 largest banks by assets, ahead of Saudi Arabia-based Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corp.

Qatar National Bank remained the largest bank in the region, with assets of $338.14 billion. First Abu Dhabi Bank and Saudi National Bank followed in second and third places, with $318.15 billion and $276.57 billion, respectively.

The 18 banks that moved up the ranking, include Israel’s Bank Hapoalim, South Africa-based Standard Bank Group, and Saudi Arabia’s Riyad Bank. Morocco’s Banque Centrale Populaire and UAE-based Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank entered the ranking. Some of this movement can be attributed to the absence of two Iranian banks due to a lack of fresh data. Tejarat Bank and Bank Pasargad ranked 11th and 20th last year, with total assets of $130.08 billion and $94.77 billion, respectively.

Saudi Arabia was the most represented country in the ranking, with seven banks collectively holding $879.90 billion. The UAE followed, with six banks holding $910.84 billion. Israel had five banks and South Africa had four.

Other UAE banks ranked among the region’s top 30 include Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ranked 10th), Dubai Islamic Bank (20th), Mashreq Bank (25th) and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (30th).

Emirates NBD’s asset base swelled last year as its deposit franchise grew, boosted by low-cost current and savings accounts, according to its latest earnings release. The increase in assets helped drive a 65 per cent profit increase to Dh21.5 billion for 2023, the bank’s highest-ever, on the back of asset growth, a stable low-cost funding base, increased transaction volumes, and substantial impaired loan recoveries.

The Dubai bank’s asset base jumped 16 per cent in 2023 as the group’s market-leading deposit franchise grew Dh82 billion, with low-cost current and savings accounts adding an impressive Dh30 billion, the lender said in a statement.

Emirates NBD’s lending grew 5.0 per cent on strong retail loan growth, coupled with Dh70 billion new corporate lending. “The rock-solid balance sheet makes Emirates NBD a regional powerhouse. Credit quality improved significantly with impairment charge down 33 per cent and the impaired loan ratio improving to 4.6 per cent, the lowest level since 2009. All business units delivered an outstanding performance,” the bank has said.

The National Bank of Egypt slipped two places in the ranking to ninth. The bank’s total assets as of September 30, 2023, were up versus 2022-end in local currency terms, but the Egyptian pound’s weakening against the US dollar affected its place in the ranking. The same went for domestic peer Banque Misr SAE, which slipped to 19th place from 16th.

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