The UAE-based Al-Masraf Bank is planning to expand in the UAE, Libya and Algeria, as it embarks on a new growth strategy.

The bank, one of the smallest of the 51 lenders in the UAE, has just opened a new branch in Jumeirah, and plans to open about four additional branches in the country over the next two to three years, according to its chief executive officer, Faisal Galadari.

“Our strategy now is much more focused on the local market,” says Galadari. In the past, the bank, which has an asset base of about AED12.5bn ($3.4bn), has been aiming at financing foreign trade. The development of more branches in the UAE is intended to help grow other parts of the lender.

Al-Masraf Bank is owned by the UAE federal government, the Libyan Foreign Bank and Bank Exterieure d’Algerie. Galadari says these links to Libya and Algeria will enable the lender to expand into those countries. The bank already has a representative office in Libya and is working on establishing an office in Algeria to capitalise on trade between North Africa and the UAE.