ADIB first UAE bank to launch in Iraq

Gulf state's second biggest Islamic lender has set up operations in Baghdad

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), the UAE’s second- biggest Shariah-compliant bank, has become the first lender in the country to establish a branch in Iraq, it was announced on Wednesday.

The ADIB branch is located at Baghdad and marks the first UAE-based financial institution to receive a full operations banking license from the Iraqi Central Bank.

Unveiling the expansion plans, Tirad Al Mahmoud, CEO said: "Iraq has been on our agenda for some time now and we believe that this is the opportune time to launch our presence there. The country is on a comeback trail, business conditions have improved considerably and it's the right time to get in. Its vast oil reserves, a great rebuilding and infrastructure development effort and a growing population present great opportunities for growth. We aim to play a pivotal role in the development of its economy."

ADIB was also granted approval from Central Bank of Iraq to confirm Iraq oil export letters of credit issued by multinational oil corporations, multinational commodities and oil traders and financial institutions that issue letters of credit on behalf of their clients.

"Our challenges are clear. We aim to increase the private sector banks' share of the Iraqi market from the current level of less than 20 percent and to develop the Islamic banking industry there," Tirad added.

Established in May 1997 as a Public Joint Stock Company, ADIB’s net profit for the first quarter of 2012 was AED307.3m (US$83.6m), an increase of 1.4 percent. Net profit announced for 2011 was AED1.16bn, an increase of 13 percent.

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