x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

NBAD targets lending growth

Alex Thursby, the lender’s chief executive, said he was focusing on profit growth from other parts of the bank such as wealth management investment products.

National Bank of Abu Dhabi said it expects lending growth of between 8 and 10 per cent this year as cheap financing boosts appetite for corporate expansion, mortgages and personal loans.

That’s lower than last year’s 12 per cent loan growth but Alex Thursby, the lender’s chief executive, said he was focusing on profit growth from other parts of the bank such as wealth management investment products. The bank’s drive to beef up its retail and commercial banking businesses in this country and its focus on trade finance will, however, contribute greatly to loan growth this year, he said.

“I don’t think the loan growth is the piece that’s growing at the moment. I think it’s a lot of the wealth management products, foreign exchange that are growing very well,” Mr Thursby said after the bank’s annual general meeting yesterday.

“So loan growth is not as much as people generally purport. Banks are growing in different areas. We’re getting new models that are not just reliant on lending.

“There are other drivers now, apart from loan growth, that are coming in as banks build themselves. What’s important for us is to grow current accounts, foreign exchange to grow trade,” he added.

The lender, the country’s largest by market value, is on a hiring spree for its local operations but it is also focusing on building its business outside the country. It will bolster its offices in Hong Kong and London this year and open one in Singapore next year. That is all part of its ambitious plan to capture a part of the US$137 billion commercial banking market in the corridor of emerging markets from Africa to Asia as banks in the UAE look outside their crowded home market.

“This year we are focusing on getting our London office dealing room set up. We’re building out Hong Kong,” Mr Thursby said.

“We’re continuing to build here in the UAE. So we’ve brought some recent hires in terms of our market sales, capital markets. We’ve brought in more trade sales people, direct sales people in our retail banking.”

mkassem@thenational.ae

Follow us on Twitter @Ind_Insights