It is a testament to the bank’s strategy and its ability to leverage off the relationships it has with CBQ and NBO.
Continuing at this pace in the longer term will be more difficult. At present, the bank benefits from its small size and its push into markets where it previously lacked a significant presence. Areas such as government lending, where larger banks will be under pressure to sell down their exposures, will benefit UAB.
This will also help diversify the bank’s credit and funding concentrations, which are currently high according to Moody’s.
Rapid growth in the loan book is currently outpacing deposit growth, putting pressure on liquidity. UAB’s loan-to-deposit ratio at the end of 2012 was 107 per cent, above the 100 per cent guidelines set by the central bank.
By concentrating on UAE nationals and committed expatriates, the bank should avoid problems caused by the country’s often transient population. With a new focus on retail banking and the launch of Islamic banking products, UAB is in a good position to do more business with its existing customers, while also expanding its customer base.
With the additional resources of CBQ behind it, UAB has good prospects for the future and returning economic confidence in the UAE bodes well for growth over the short-to-medium term.