The ultimate guide to the major banks in Dubai
Words by Ankita Bhowmick in The Guides · Jan 22nd, 2019
Planning to open a bank account in Dubai and wondering which bank to choose from? Here's the list for you to choose from.
Dubai Based Banks
1. Emirates Nbd
One of the largest banking groups in the Middle East in terms of assets, Emirates NBD (ENBD), was established on 16th October 2007, when its shares were officially listed in the Dubai Financial Market. The bank was formed by the merger of the second and the fourth largest banks in the UAE, Emirates Bank International and National Bank of Dubai.
The group operates in the UAE, Egypt, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Singapore, India and the United Kingdom. They have representative offices in China and Indonesia. Emirates NBD is currently the largest employer in the UAE, with more than 9000 people, representing 70 nationalities being employed.
In 2004, the group launched the Emirates Islamic Bank, which is now known as Emirates Islamic. It is one of the four Islamic banks in the UAE and delivers banking services in line with Shari's principles. The bank offers products designed for individuals and small businesses as well as large corporations.
ENBD hosts 220 branches and over 9000 ATMs and Cash Deposit Machines in the UAE and worldwide.
2. Mashreq Bank
Mashreq Bank is the oldest privately owned bank in the UAE. It was established in 1967 and was then known as the Bank of Oman. It is also the first bank in the UAE to install ATM cash dispensers, the first one to issue debit and credit cards and the first to introduce consumer loans. Currently, the bank also offers Islamic personal banking services including corporate finance and investment advisory on mergers and acquisitions.
Mashreq has 12 overseas offices in nine countries in Europe, North America, Asia and Africa, with strong retail and corporate banking presence throughout the Persian Gulf, with branches in Egypt, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain.
3. Commercial Bank Of Dubai
Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD) has been listed by Gulf Business as the 35th largest bank in the Persian Gulf region. Found in 1969, the bank was a joint venture of Commerzbank, Chase Manhattan Bank and Commercial Bank of Kuwait. It was in 1982 that it evolved into a National Public shareholding compay. 80% of its shares are held by UAE nationals, while the other 20% are owned by Investment Corporation of Dubai.
CBD also offers retail banking, SME finance and Islamic banking. In 2008, CBD launched a division focused on sharia-compliant banking called Attijari Al-Islami was launched and in 2014, it launched the region’s first virtual assistant and personal financial management tool.
4. Dubai Islamic Bank
The largest Islamic bank in the UAE, Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) was established in Dubai in 1975. The bank was the first in the country which had incorporated the principles of Islam in all its practices. Its aim is to make Islamic banking a norm worldwide. Offering services in diverse areas like retail, corporate and investment banking, as well as CSR and consultancy services, DIB, has been named the Best Islamic Bank in various prestigious ceremonies.
Featuring 90 branches across the country and enjoying a presence in seven markets worldwide, DIB serves close to 1.7 million customers. The bank is a torchbearer in promoting shari'a-compliant financial services worldwide. It has established DIB Pakistan Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary which is the first Islamic bank in Pakistan to offer Priority & Platinum Banking, besides the most extensive and innovative portfolio of Alternate Distribution Channels. It has also launched Panin Dubai Syariah Bank in Indonesia in 2017, which marks the bank's first foray in the Far East. It was also given the license by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) to operate its subsidiary, DIB Kenya Ltd.
5. Noor Bank
Formally known as Noor Islamic Bank, Noor Bank is owned by Noor Investment Group (94.9%), Emirates Investment Authority (5%), and by individuals and corporations in the UAE (0.1%). The bank features a range of banking, investing and financial and risk management products and services for individuals, small and medium-sized businesses, corporations, and government institutions.
Noor Bank's network of branches are available in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Sharjah.
1. Hsbc Bank Middle East
One of the largest banking and financial services organisations in the world, HSBC serves more than 48 million customers through their global businesses. The largest and the most widely represented bank in the Middle East, HSBC Bank Middle East was established in 1959. Their global business includes Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Commercial Banking, Global Banking and Markets and Global Private Banking.
HSBC's global network is spread over 72 countries and territories in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, North America and Latin America. The bank features around 6,100 offices and aims to grow in order to become the world's leading international bank.
2. Citibank Dubai
Citibank was established in the United States in 1812, as the City Bank of New York and later became First National City Bank of New York. The bank provides credit cards, mortgages, personal loans, commercial loans, and lines of credit.
The bank has been present in the Middle East for over 50 years and offers a range of corporate finance services. The first branch was opened in Dubai in 1964. The bank is directly represented in main markets in countries like the UAE, Egypt, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Bahrain, Lebanon, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. It has more than 3000 employees as well as 30 branches and offices in the region. Citibank Dubai offers a range of corporate finance services including securitization, project and structured trade finance, syndication and advisory.
3. Standard Chartered Bank
Standard Chartered is a British Multinational banking and financial services company that has its headquarters in London, England. The bank does not conduct retail banking in the UK and depends on Asia, Africa and the Middle East for around 90% of its profits. It is a leading international banking group has more than 86,000 employees.
Standard Chartered Bank was established in the UAE in 1958. It features the most extensive branch network among foreign international banks in the country with 11 branches, 5 Electronic Banking Units and more than 100 ATMs and CDMs.
4. Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank is a global bank with a presence in the UAE. The bank offers a range of financial products and services, including corporate banking, investment banking, and wealth management. It is known for its expertise in capital markets and has won several awards for its investment banking services.
Barclays is a global bank with a presence in the UAE. The bank offers a range of financial products and services, including personal and commercial banking, investment banking, and wealth management. It is known for its expertise in wealth management and has won several awards for its private banking services.
Other Local Banks Of The Uae With Branches In Dubai
1. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) was established in 1985 as a public shareholding company with limited liability. It was formed by merging Emirates Commercial Bank, Federal Commercial Bank and Khaleej Commercial Bank. The government of Abu Dhabi holds 65% of the bank's shares through the Abu Dhabi Investment Council (ADIC), while the remaining is held by other institutions and individuals. It is the third largest bank in the UAE in terms of balance sheet size, offering a full range of commercial and retail banking services.
In March 2019, ADCB and United National Bank (UNB) merged together and acquired Al Hilal Bank.
ADCB hosts 48 branches in the UAE, 2 branches in India and 1 branch in the UK.
2. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), was established on 20 May 1997 as a Public Joint Stock Company and commenced its commercial operations on 11 November 1998. All operations and transactions of this bank are carried out in accordance with Islamic Shari'a principles. It has offices in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai and Sharjah.
ADIB offers a range of cards with great services that include balance transfer, airport lounge access and websecure for online shopping.
3. First Abu Dhabi Bank
First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) is a UAE based bank which was formed when two UAE banks, National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) and First Gulf Bank (FGB) merged. Both the banks announced on July 3, 2016, that their boards of directors had voted unanimously to recommend to shareholders a merger of the two banks. The transaction was approved by the respective shareholders of the two banks on December 7, 2016.
The transaction was executed through a share swap, with FGB shareholders receiving 1.254 NBAD shares for each FGB share they held. FAB is quite well-known for its attractive credit card offers.
4. Rak Bank
RAK Bank is the trading of the National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah PJSC, which is a public joint stock company in the UAE with its headquartered in Ras Al Khaimah. The bank was established in 1976 and is one of the fastest growing banks in the country. The bank offers a wide selection of personal and business banking services, along with Shari'a-compliant personal and business banking services through its Islamic Banking unit, RAK BANK AMAL.
RAK Bank features 35 branches in the UAE and a portfolio of electronic banking solutions including online, telephone and mobile banking.
4. National Bank Of Fujeirah
National Bank of Fujeirah offers a wide range of financial products and services, including personal and business banking, trade finance, treasury, and wealth management. NBF is known for its strong focus on customer service and has won several awards for its commitment to excellence. The bank has a dedicated team of professionals who work closely with clients to understand their unique financial needs and offer customized solutions.
Editor's note: This article was last updated in Aug 2023.