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Wed 24 Aug 2016 03:27 PM

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Emirates NBD's Islamic unit said to cut over 100 jobs

Sources say Emirates Islamic has made lay-offs as part of cost-cutting plan to adjust to slower economy

Emirates NBD's Islamic unit said to cut over 100 jobs

Emirates Islamic, the sharia-compliant arm of Dubai's largest bank Emirates NBD (ENBD) , has laid off more than 100 people as part of cost cutting to adjust to a cooler economy, sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Growth in much of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has slowed this year because of low oil prices. Earlier this year, Emirates Islamic cut around 200 jobs.

Emirates Islamic employs around 2,000 people, an ENBD spokesman said in April after the previous cuts.

Most of the latest jobs to go were in the department servicing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the sources said. One added the layoffs occurred between April and the end of July. ENBD declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

After years of helping to propel rapid growth in the UAE economy, SMEs started to suffer last year when prices of the commodities which they trade sank, causing some to default on their debts. Their plight has been worsened by a slowdown in the local economy.

Speaking on an analysts' conference call after the release of ENBD's second-quarter results last month, chief executive Shayne Nelson said the bank continued to focus on cost control, a process that included headcount freezes and "some limited redundancies in some areas". He didn't elaborate.

The bank had already made cuts in another part of its SME business operations. It made around 100 people redundant from its subsidiary Emirates Money as part of a move to merge the small business finance provider with ENBD's operations to save costs, Reuters reported in April.

National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah said in January it would cut up to 250 jobs, while Abu Dhabi-based First Gulf Bank and the UAE operations of HSBC have reduced their headcounts since late 2015.

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