Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) is set to work more closely with the Spanish bank Santander following the signing of a partnership agreement between the two institutions.

Under the terms of the agreement, the two banks will collaborate to provide a wider range of services to Banco Santander’s clients in the UAE and for ADCB’s customers in overseas markets. The banks will specifically work together in areas such as trade and project finance.

In a statement given by Emilio Botin, chairman of Banco Santander, said banks in the Middle East have fast become “important sources of financing for global clients”.

With liquidity across Europe and the US, including access to trade finance, remaining tight, further alliances between western and Middle Eastern banks are likely to be negotiated.

In early 2011, ADCB and Bank of America Merrill Lynch formed a strategic alliance, under which the US-based bank was able to give its clients access to ADCB capabilities.