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First Abu Dhabi Bank joins Mideast lenders in raising provisions

First Abu Dhabi Bank joins Mideast lenders in raising provisions

First Abu Dhabi Bank increased impairments to Dhs1.06bn ($289m) from Dhs467m a year ago

First Abu Dhabi Bank

Abu Dhabi’s biggest lender joined its regional Gulf competitors in setting aside higher provisions to cover a spike in bad loans brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

First Abu Dhabi Bank increased impairments to Dhs1.06bn ($289m) from Dhs467m a year ago. That resulted in second-quarter profit dropping 25 per cent.

Banks in the Gulf region are raising provisions to offset an expected increase in sour loans due to the twin shock of plunging oil prices and the coronavirus fallout.

First Abu Dhabi Bank follows Qatar National Bank, Emirates NBD and Dubai Islamic Bank in increasing impairments charges.

The challenges are renewing the prospect for further consolidation among banks in the Middle East, with potential mergers being discussed in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

First Abu Dhabi Bank was created with the merger of two banks in 2016.

First Abu Dhabi Bank 2Q numbers:

  • Profit – Dhs2.41bn vs Dhs3.22bn
  • Net interest income – Dhs3.26bn vs Dhs3.3bn
  • Non-interest income – Dhs1.53bn vs Dhs1.85bn
  • Total operating income – Dhs4.8bn vs Dhs5.15bn
  • Group CFO James Burdett: “In the context of a challenging and uncertain environment, we continued to build our provision buffers, leading to a substantial increase in impairment charges, while our high-quality portfolio and conservative asset mix are key differentiators”
    • Ongoing focus on cost discipline also led to significant savings, with various initiatives underway to create future efficiencies
    • “While economic activity is gradually resuming, we remain cautious as the shape and timing of the recovery remain uncertain”

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