Dubai: Leading professionals from the government and financial services industry on Tuesday hailed the successful conclusion of the merger between Emirates Bank and National Bank of Dubai.
In emailed statements to Gulf News, these leaders expressed their views about Emirates NBD, the Middle East's largest bank by asset size as the new entity began the UAE-wide brand integration of all 110 bank branches and 650 ATMs, the largest network in the country.
Sami Al Qamzi, director-general, Dubai Department of Economic Development, said: "The banking industry serves as a pillar of Dubai's economic growth and diversification.
"Emirates NBD will increasingly support the growth of business activity, trade and commerce, supporting the overall economic fundamentals of the national economy."
Khalid Al Kamda, director-general of the Community Development Authority (CDA), said: "Emirates NBD plays a critical role in the betterment of UAE society. At CDA we are focused on enhancing social development, strengthening national identity and promoting citizens' role in society. As a keen contributor to social development activities."
Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO, Mohammad Bin Rashid Establishment for Young Business Leaders, said: "The bank has been an active supporter of entrepreneurship and has consistently supported small and medium enterprises in achieving their business goals. Such commitment to supporting business activity is crucial to the development of the economy."
Arif Naqvi, founder and group CEO, Abraaj Capital, said: "Emirates NBD is unequivocally today a national banking champion — providing products and services to more than a million customers, and contributing significantly to the growth of the local economy."
"This is a milestone for the region's financial services sector."
Laila Suhail, CEO, Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment, said: "The Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) has shared a longstanding relationship with Emirates and NBD.
"We are confident that this will be strengthened further in the years to come. Now as the Middle East's largest bank, Emirates NBD's spread of financial services creates immense appeal to a diverse range of people representing all walks of life."
Dr. Nasser Saidi, chief economist, DIFC Authority, said: "The successful completion of the merger between Emirates Bank and National Bank of Dubai, during a period of global economic instability and severe financial disruption, is demonstrable evidence of the strength and resilience of the UAE's banking sector and its ability to withstand financial shocks.
"As the global banking sector undergoes restructuring and downsizing as a result of deleveraging, we will witness increased mergers and acquisitions in the years to come — both globally and in the region.
"The efficient merger of Emirates NBD has created the Middle East's largest bank by asset size, and set a direction for the industry and the region at large."
Faisal Bin Juma Belhoul, founder and managing partner, Ithmar Capital, said: "The completion of the merger between two of the country's most established banks provides additional assurance to local and internal markets of the long-term stability and competitiveness of the UAE economy.
"At Ithmar Capital, which is focused on identifying investment opportunities in this young and vibrant region, we recognise the importance of Emirates NBD, the Middle East's largest bank, to the sustained growth and diversification of the national and regional economy."
Ali Ebrahim, managing director, Emcredit, the UAE's first government-backed credit bureau, said: "The merger has drawn upon the best attributes of both entities, creating a financially sound institution with strong strategic expertise.
"A bank of this magnitude will play a major role in the credit industry. Their sustained growth and continued commitment to effective risk management will positively impact the UAE retail banking market, as well as drive economic growth."