Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Union National Bank and Al-Hilal Bank, all controlled by Abu Dhabi government agencies, will merge. Though driven by Abu Dhabi-specific factors, it forms part of a wider trend in the GCC
Four GCC Banks Named Among World's 50 Safest
Four GCC banks feature in Global Finance magazine's 2014 ranking of the World's Safest Banks. National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) is the safest bank in the Middle East, ranked 25th, followed by National Bank of Kuwait (41), Qatar National Bank (49) and Samba Financial Group (50).
Global Finance's rankings are based on long-term foreign currency credit ratings assigned by Fitch, Moody's and S&P. Banks are scored on their ratings, with a AAA rating attracting 10 points, down to one point for a rating of BBB-.
The safest bank in the world is Germany's KfW which has AAA ratings from all three agencies. Three other banks have AAA ratings from all three agencies: Zuercher Kantonalbank, Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank and L-Bank. Banks that have the same score are ranked by asset size, reflecting the strong positive correlation between large asset size and high ratings.
Global Finance Magazine also produces rankings of the world's safest Commercial Banks -- banks that are not majority owned by governments or government agencies. National Bank of Kuwait is the highest ranking Middle Eastern in this ranking, at 23rd, followed by Qatar National Bank (28), Samba Financial Group (29), Al-Rajhi (43) and Riyad Bank (45).
The safest Commercial Bank in the world is Canada's TD (Toronto Dominion) Bank Group, followed by three Singaporean banks, DBS, Oversea-Chinese Bank Corporation and United Overseas Bank. No commercial bank in the world holds a rating of AAA from any of the three rating agencies.
No Middle Eastern banks outside the GCC come close to being rated highly enough for inclusion in either the Safest Global or Safest Commericial Bank rankings. This year, Global Finance has also compiled a ranking of the safest bank in every country that has rated banks.
Al-Rajhi tops the ranking of the Safest Islamic Banks in the GCC, followed by Al Hilal Bank and Kuwait Finance House.
The full rankings can be seen on the Global Finance website: www.gfmag.com
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The directors of National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank have approved plans to merge their two banks. The new bank, which will be called National Bank of Abu Dhabi, will be the largest in the Middle East. Find out more about the transaction and the two banks in the accompanying article.
Michael Tomalin, the former Chief Executive of National Bank of Abu Dhabi was awarded a CMG in the UK's 2014 New Year Honours.