Douwe Oppedijk, the chief executive of Commercial Bank International (CBI).
Douwe Oppedijk, the chief executive of Commercial Bank International (CBI).

CBI chalks out huge expansion plans

DUBAI // Commercial Bank International (CBI), listed in Abu Dhabi, plans to double its branch network across the country within two years, as well as expand into other GCC and emerging markets next year. "We will determine in the next year or so about expansion in markets where we see development," said Douwe Oppedijk, the chief executive of CBI. "So far there are no concrete plans. But we always have an eye open for opportunities."

Mr Oppedijk said the "phenomenal growth" in the UAE banking market needed attention. CBI currently has a network of more than 10 branches in every emirate and will open up the same number in the next two years, beginning with Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. "We have principle approvals for expansion and are currently in a feasibility stage," Mr Oppedijk said, adding that the new branch network would blend retail and corporate business branches to tap into smaller companies.

He would not say how much the bank was planning to invest in branch expansion, but added that offering a wider service base was part of CBI's overall strategy - set in motion two years ago - that includes raising capital, introducing a new product mix and expanding on client relationships. Corporate business accounts for more than 60 per cent of the bank's balance sheet and CBI has plans to further strengthen its core business.

Mr Oppedijk said the increase in the bank's capitalisation by Dh1.2 billion (US$340 million) via bonus shares in March this year was aimed at supporting its lending book and increasing the bank's solvency. "In peer comparison, we are the best capitalised bank," he said. "Direct exposure to subprime is relatively small if at all. But this [credit crunch] will determine the growth of economies in the West and here as well.

Mr Oppedijk said inflation was probably a bigger concern for the region than the effects of subprime. "Growth in the economy has fuelled inflation. But we need to be careful that it doesn't get out of the hand." He did not see de-pegging from the US dollar as a solution for imported inflation. "Countries at GCC level are being careful and testing the waters, but are wary of a move that will negatively affect the GCC block."

If you go

Flight connections to Ulaanbaatar are available through a variety of hubs, including Seoul and Beijing, with airlines including Mongolian Airlines and Korean Air. While some nationalities, such as Americans, don’t need a tourist visa for Mongolia, others, including UAE citizens, can obtain a visa on arrival, while others including UK citizens, need to obtain a visa in advance. Contact the Mongolian Embassy in the UAE for more information.

Nomadic Road offers expedition-style trips to Mongolia in January and August, and other destinations during most other months. Its nine-day August 2020 Mongolia trip will cost from $5,250 per person based on two sharing, including airport transfers, two nights’ hotel accommodation in Ulaanbaatar, vehicle rental, fuel, third party vehicle liability insurance, the services of a guide and support team, accommodation, food and entrance fees;

A fully guided three-day, two-night itinerary at Three Camel Lodge costs from $2,420 per person based on two sharing, including airport transfers, accommodation, meals and excursions including the Yol Valley and Flaming Cliffs. A return internal flight from Ulaanbaatar to Dalanzadgad costs $300 per person and the flight takes 90 minutes each way;

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Visit Abu Dhabi culinary team's top Emirati restaurants in Abu Dhabi

Yadoo’s House Restaurant+& Cafe

For the karak and Yoodo's house platter with includes eggs, balaleet, khamir and chebab bread.

Golden Dallah

For the cappuccino, luqaimat and aseeda.

Al Mrzab Restaurant

For the shrimp murabian and Kuwaiti options including Kuwaiti machboos with kebab and spicy sauce.

Al Derwaza

For the fish hubul, regag bread, biryani and special seafood soup. 


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Aayan’s records

Youngest UAE men’s cricketer
When he debuted against Bangladesh aged 16 years and 314 days, he became the youngest ever to play for the men’s senior team. He broke the record set by his World Cup squad-mate, Alishan Sharafu, of 17 years and 44 days.

Youngest wicket-taker
After taking the wicket of Bangladesh’s Litton Das on debut in Dubai, Aayan became the youngest male cricketer to take a wicket against a Full Member nation in a T20 international.

Youngest in T20 World Cup history?
Aayan does not turn 17 until November 15 – which is two days after the T20 World Cup final at the MCG. If he does play in the competition, he will be its youngest ever player. Pakistan’s Mohammed Amir, who was 17 years and 55 days when he played in 2009, currently holds the record.

Fixtures and results:

Wed, Aug 29:

  • Malaysia bt Hong Kong by 3 wickets
  • Oman bt Nepal by 7 wickets
  • UAE bt Singapore by 215 runs

Thu, Aug 30: UAE v Nepal; Hong Kong v Singapore; Malaysia v Oman

Sat, Sep 1: UAE v Hong Kong; Oman v Singapore; Malaysia v Nepal

Sun, Sep 2: Hong Kong v Oman; Malaysia v UAE; Nepal v Singapore

Tue, Sep 4: Malaysia v Singapore; UAE v Oman; Nepal v Hong Kong

Thu, Sep 6: Final

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire

Director: Adam Wingard

Starring: Brian Tyree Henry, Rebecca Hall, Dan Stevens

Rating: 4/5


Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

The specs

Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 620hp from 5,750-7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm from 3,000-5,750rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh1.05 million ($286,000)

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