Banking is a vital sector for global economics. It is through banks that governments control monetary policy and inflation. When the pandemic hit last year, banks made sure that economies stayed afloat by using measures like postponing loan payments, restructuring debt, lending to key sectors, etc. Let us look at the top banks in the UAE where there is absolutely no income tax for individuals.
Overview of the banks in UAE
The Central Bank of UAE, established in 1980, is the main financial regulatory authority in the country. The central bank is responsible for formulating and implementing bank credits and monetary policies across the country There are 22 local and 30 foreign banks in UAE . It acts as a Bank of banks in UAE by maintain the gold and foreign currency reserves. Even though there are 52 banks in total in the country, the 5 largest banks account for about 60% of the banking sector assets. Additionally, there are a total of 8 Islamic banks and 23 Islamic windows set up by the traditional banks in UAE .
Types of Banks in UAE
There are in total four different types of banks in the UAE:
- Commercial Banks
- Industrial Banks
- Merchant Banks
- Islamic Banks
Top banks in the UAE
The top banks in UAE provide various financial services to customers like banking solutions, commercial banking, loans, credit/debit cards, asset management, investment banking, etc. The top 5 banks in the UAE are:
- First Abu Dhabi Bank:
First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) is the largest bank in the United Arab Emirates. It was formed in the year 2017 following a merger between First Gulf Bank (FGB) and the National bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) . FAB provides many services across UAE, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia-Pacific.
- Net income: US$2.89 billion(2020) 
- Total Assets: US$256.3 billion 
- Emirates NBD:
Emirates NBD Bank is one of the largest banking groups in the Middle East and it is owned by the government of Dubai. Emirates NBD was initially formed as the National Bank of Dubai (NBD) in 1963, making it the first national bank in Dubai. The NBD later merged with Emirates Bank International in the year 2007 to form the Emirates NBD.
- Net income: US$1.91 billion(2020) 
- Total Assets: US$218.76 billion
- Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank:
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) was formed in 1985 following the mergers between Emirates Commercial Bank, Federal Commercial Bank, and Khaleej Commercial Bank. The Government of Abu Dhabi owns 62.65% of the shares of ADCB. It employs over 5000 people and has 56 branches in the UAE and 1 in New Jersey.
- Net income: US$1.04 billion
- Total Assets: US$148 billion
- Gulf Bank of Kuwait:
Gulf bank is one of the largest leading banks in Kuwait with a broad offering of consumer and wholesale banking. The bank was founded in the year 1960. Gulf bank has a large network of 58 branches. The bank is ranked ‘A’ by 4 leading international credit rating systems agencies.
- Net income: US$1.65 billion (2016)
- Total Assets: US$66 billion
- Dubai Islamic Bank:
Dubai Islamic Bank came into existence in 1975 and it has its headquarters in Dubai. It is the first Islamic bank to have incorporated the principles of Islam in all its practices and is the largest Islamic bank in the UAE . It serves around two million customers and maintains 66 branches across the UAE.
- Net income: US$870 million
- Total Assets: US$291.71 billion
Some other noteworthy and high-ranking banks are, QNB group, The Saudi National bank, Al Rajhi Bank, Riyad Bank, Arab bank, Muscat bank, Mashreq bank, Rakbank, Commercial bank of Dubai, etc.