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UAE banks lay off 930 employees, close 49 branches

Waheed Abbas
Filed on February 23, 2020 | Last updated on February 23, 2020 at 07.03 am
UAE, banks, lay off, 930 employees, close, 49 branches, Central Bank of UAE, Al Hilal Bank

(Alamy Image)

The Central Bank of the UAE says that it is monitoring the downsizing situation in the financial sector.

UAE banks have laid off 930 employees, with local banks closing down 49 branches in the third quarter of 2019.

Due to consolidation in the sector and cost-cutting measures, the number of bank employees fell from 36,448 in 2019's second quarter to 35,518 in the third quarter, according to The Central Bank of the UAE's data.

The number of branches fell from 713 in June 2019 to 664 in September 2019.

In Q3 2019, a merger between 2 local banks caused the licensed commercial banks decreased by one, reaching 59 in total, of which 21 were national banks and 38 were foreign banks, including 11 wholesale banks.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank merged with Union National Bank in May 2019, with the combined entity acquiring Al Hilal Bank. The merger left hundreds of employees redundant.

A number of banks had also cut hundreds of jobs across divisions to reduce costs due to slower economic growth.

On Tuesday, HSBC announced 35,000 job cuts across its global network after its 2019 net profits plunged nearly 50 per cent. In November 2019, HSBC Holdings laid off 40 bankers in the UAE.

Commercial Bank International said in September it would offer voluntary retirement to employees, which sources close to the bank said resulted in over 100 job cuts.

First Abu Dhabi Bank cut hundreds of jobs earlier this month.

Emirates NBD, Dubai's largest bank, reportedly cut around 100 jobs.

The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) on Saturday said it is closely following the recent occurrences of downsizing amongst financial institutions in the country to ensure that downsizing is not adversely affecting regulatory compliance and market conduct.

"With an ever-changing business landscape and technological advancements, banks are reviewing their business lines, cost and revenue base, and make the necessary adjustments in view of the fast-evolving competitive environment," it said.

"The Central Bank continues its efforts towards Emiratisation in the banking sector and obliges banks in the UAE to achieve 40 per cent Emiratisation within 3 years. In addition, banks play a major role to increase the rate of Emirati workforce in the sector by offering career opportunities for Emirati graduates and professionals," the apex said in a statement.


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