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ADCB in link-up with US lender

ADCB and Bank of America Merrill Lynch announce a partnership to bolster both banks' corporate lending capabilities.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) has tied up with Bank of America Merrill Lynch to bolster both lenders' corporate banking arms.

The deal will allow clients at each bank to access the other's cash management and corporate banking services.

"ADCB clients will have access to Bank of America Merrill Lynch's global network of corporate banking and cash management capabilities," Merrill Lynch said.

Analysts said the move should help ADCB boost corporate banking income, which accounts for most of its business.

"We do see some mutual benefit from the agreement between Bank of America and ADCB," said Jaap Meijer, a financial analyst at Alembic HC Securities.

The move is Bank of America Merrill Lynch's first venture into the UAE, though Merrill Lynch's separate wealth management arm has been present in the Middle East for more than 40 years.

The deal follows ADCB's takeover of Royal Bank of Scotland's private banking business last year. Though Merrill Lynch has considerable strength in its wealth management arm, a company spokesman said the deal would not add to ADCB's private banking offerings.

One analyst, who asked not to be named, said the deal would help ADCB to better target its home market, adding that the bank had been reluctant to expand overseas because of the global financial crisis. "They did have bigger ambitions before, but they had their fingers burnt, so they're [now] focusing on the domestic market," he said.



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