Dubai-based banks EBI & NBD merge to creat UAE`s largest bank

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Dubai, Two Dubai-based banks will merge to create one of Middle East's largest banks with assets of Dh 165 bn, a move seen to extend Dubai's reach as the region's financial hub.

The merger plans were approved by Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, on March 6, 2007. The government of Dubai is EBI's majority shareholder and also one of the largest single owners of NBD.

"The objective of this merger is to create a strong entity that will play a major role in the banking industry," Ahmad Humaid al Tayer, chairman of EBI, said.

al- Tayer said the merger had been under discussion for some time. "This move has come very late for the Arab region and the UAE," he said adding "The country has not seen major mergers like this in awhile."

EBI has been very much entrenched in the domestic corporate and retail markets, and has developed good business diversification out of pure lending; NBD has been more focused on corporate banking, and has been a late, but successful, entrant in retail and investment banking, as well as operating in private banking fields.The move is also a clear sign of Dubai's intention to extend its reach as the region's financial hub.

The new bank will be the one of the largest financial institutions in the middle east and north Africa, according to emirates bank's chief manager for group affairs Sulaiman Hamid al Mazroui.

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