FAB to open representative office in Iraq to expand Mena operations

New office will service sovereign and government-related entities, financial institutions and Iraqi institutional clients

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - February 7th, 2018: FAB (First Abu Dhabi Bank) Head office - Business Park. Wednesday, February 7th, 2018. Twofour54, Abu Dhabi. Chris Whiteoak / The National

First Abu Dhabi Bank, the UAE’s largest lender by assets, will open a representative office in Iraq to expand its operations in the Mena region and support trade between different countries.

The new representative office will primarily service sovereign and government-related entities (GREs), financial institutions and Iraqi institutional clients, in addition to clients with business interests in Iraq, FAB said on Thursday.

“The opening of FAB in Iraq supports our international expansion strategy and underlines our commitment to facilitate trade between the UAE and growth economies,” said Hana Al Rostamani, group chief executive of FAB.

“By leveraging our strong UAE and regional core, and focusing on top-tier, identified clients, our presence will position FAB to drive opportunities in support of Iraq’s economic development, including ongoing investment required to rebuild and enhance the country’s infrastructure.”

With total assets of more than Dh1 trillion ($272 billion) as of December 31, 2021, FAB continues to focus on expanding its operations globally. In November, the bank announced plans open its first branch in China this year.

Last month, FAB also made a non-binding offer to buy a majority stake in Egypt's largest investment bank EFG Hermes to expand its footprint in the Arab world’s most populous country.

The success of the proposed transaction will mark FAB’s second acquisition in Egypt.

FAB agreed to buy Bank Audi Egypt in January 2021 and received regulatory approval in April for the deal. It began integrating the Lebanese bank's operations in May and said it expects to complete the process by 2022.

In 2020, UAE exported $13.11bn worth of goods to Iraq, a key member of Opec and the second-largest producer of oil within the group. FAB’s international footprint currently covers about 70 per cent of Iraq’s crude export trade destinations, according to the lender.

FAB reported a 19 per cent jump in its 2021 profit on the back of higher net fee and commission income and gains on investments.

Updated: March 10, 2022, 12:22 PM