Emirates NBD is putting the India network in place as CEPA with UAE builds serious prospects. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai’s biggest bank Emirates NBD is making timely additions to its India network, as the full lift-off from UAE’s CEPA deal with that country starts to show up.

“The agreement was put in place just few months ago and corporates are reworking their strategy based on the various concessions agreed by the Government,” said Neeraj Makin, Senior Executive Vice-President and Group Head – International & Group Strategy at Emirates NBD. “They are exploring further areas which can be serviced out of the UAE to the wider Middle East and Africa region.

“CEPA is a forward-looking document, and we see significant benefits in the long term with increased opportunities in trade finance kickstarting from 2023.

“With enhanced geographical coverage and its extensive network across key trade corridors, Emirates NBD is well poised to facilitate increased volumes of trade and capital flows between the two countries as well as the larger MENAT region. Over the next couple of years, our focus would be to deepen our coverage with access to wider markets and support more business and trade flows within the region.”

Emirates NBD in 2017 opened its first full-fledged branch in Mumbai, marking the sixth country where the bank has onshore presence after the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Singapore and the UK. Then, there was the acquisition of Deniz bank in Turkey, while Austria, Germany and Russia were added to onshore presence markets.

Emirates NBD India offers trade finance, treasury services, and bilateral and syndicated loans to corporates and financial institutions, in addition to supporting NRI customers. The new branches are in Gurugram and Chennai and ‘offer improved geographical coverage, allowing us to cater to both the northern and southern markets of India (in addition to the western region covered by our India branch in Mumbai)’.

CEPA and non-CEPA benefits are already starting to flow into key sectors defining UAE-India trade. Next up would be for investment pipeline to gain some serious scale.

“Emirates NBD has historically supported and banked many Indian industries and institutions, and has relationships with major Indian banks and financial institutions and large and prominent Indian companies across key sectors such as petrochemicals and chemical manufacturing, financial services, retail and pharma, as well as IT,” said Makin.

“We continue to explore mutual business opportunities with all existing and potential relationships. We would facilitate and support funding requirements that large UAE corporates may have in India or our other international markets.” - Neeraj Makin, Senior Executive Vice President, Group Head – International & Group Strategy at Emirates NBD. Image Credit: Supplied

International operations represented 40 per cent of total income in the first nine months of this year. “Income from our international operations - (Deniz Bank, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UK, Singapore and India) has grown a strong 42 per cent in in year to end September, alongside a 67 per cent growth in operating profits,” said Makin.

“We have been continuing our journey of expansion in Saudi Arabia. In 2021, we opened three branches and three sales offices, and opened one additional branch in 2022; with another branch due early Q1-2023. We are the first foreign bank to have branches in the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina. Our operations in KSA have matured, delivering robust performance through the lasting effects of the pandemic while maintaining strong operational and service standards. We delivered strong financial results in 2021-22 on the back of sustained growth in corporate exposure along with commendable performance on retail volumes.

“We experienced a slightly slower pace of expansion during the last couple of years due to the pandemic, but we are planning to fast track our expansion in KSA and are working to open another 10 branches in the next 18 months.”

"The actual impact of the UAE-India CEPA deal may be realized over a period of time."