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Sun 6 Jan 2019 10:56 AM

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Video: 1,000 jobs at risk in proposed banking merger

A proposed three-way bank merger in Abu Dhabi may lead to about 1,000 jobs being cut, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

Talks among Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Union National Bank and privately-held Al Hilal Bank are at an advanced stage, the people said on condition of anonymity because the topic is private. The lenders are working on issues such as valuation and are conducting due diligence, two of the people said.

No final agreements have been reached and the discussions may not result in a transaction, the people said. A combination of the companies would create a lender with about $115 billion in assets and the Gulf Cooperation Council’s fifth-largest bank.

Abu Dhabi, home to 6 percent of global oil reserves, has stepped up efforts to create leaner and more competitive financial institutions. There are almost 50 banks operating in the United Arab Emirates serving a population of about 9 million, compared with 28 lenders in Saudi Arabia catering to more than 30 million people.

The job cuts, however, may weigh on an already-subdued consumer demand in the non-oil economy, which is largely driven by expatriate workers. In the UAE, where residency is tightly linked to employment, job losses often lead foreign workers to move back to their home countries along with their families.

ADCB and UNB employ about 7,000 people, according to official data. Al Hilal has about 1,500 employees, according to an April 2018 interview with its chief executive officer by the Arabian Business.

Job losses from last year’s merger between National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank, which created First Abu Dhabi Bank, were never officially disclosed.

(Source: Arabianbusiness.com YouTube channel)