Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC, which completed a three-way merger earlier this year, may cut about 2,000 jobs as the lenders integrate operations, people with knowledge of the plans said.

The state-controlled bank started the job cuts once it began combining with Union National Bank PJSC and Al Hilal Bank PJSC, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. It will complete the process in the next few months, the people said.

A spokesman for ADCB declined to comment.

The expected losses are about double the 1,000 cuts people familiar with the matter had estimated in December. Before the combination, the three banks employed about 8,500 people, according to Bloomberg calculations.

Cost Savings

The merger, which created the Gulf region’s fifth-biggest lender with about $114 billion (Dh418.6 billion) in assets, is expected to deliver cost savings of about $167 million annually, ADCB said in January.

Abu Dhabi, home to 6 per cent of global oil reserves, has stepped up efforts to create leaner and more competitive financial institutions. The merger follows a tie-up between the emirate’s two biggest banks and the combination of sovereign wealth funds.

The job cuts are likely to weigh on the second-biggest Arab economy that’s already being battered by falling home prices and slow growth. Although economic activity is expected to accelerate to 2.8 per cent this year, it’s still well below the average in the 15 years to 2015, according to the International Monetary Fund.