mergers-overdue-in-uae-banking-sector

Mergers overdue in UAE banking sector

The sector is headed for a round of consolidation, but how and when this will happen is still unclear.

How many local banks does your country have Hong Kong has 23 licensed banks and Singapore six -- run-of-the-mill numbers for countries with around seven million and five million residents apiece.

Shift gears to the Middle East. The United Arab Emirates UAE, the financial and logistics hub of the region, has more than 50 banks. Admittedly half of these are locally incorporated subsidiaries of foreign banks, but that still leaves around 25 local banks -- both conventional and Islamic -- to serve the country's 4.5 million residents.

That to us is an over-banked market, said Kamran Butt, director and head of Middle East equity research for Credit Suisse Private Banking in Dubai. We definitely...

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