Economic growth across the GCC region weakened last year as governments’ revenues fell. This in turn negatively impacted the commercial and corporate sectors while consumer confidence and spending weakened. As a result, the GCC banking sector recorded lower returns in 2016, particularly due to increased provisioning and impairment charges as loan asset quality remained under pressure.

As a result of tighter liquidity, banks issued more debt in 2016 and this is continuing in 2017. Another option used by many banks has been to tap the international syndicated loan market to refinance maturing debt. Many investors (notably in Asia, but also in the US and Europe, where interest rates are low) have been willing to increase their exposure to GCC sovereigns and banks, due to high credit ratings and good yields. This is set to continue.

Basel III implications for liquidity are significant for most GCC banks as there is a large maturity mismatch between medium-term lending and short-term customer deposits. Some banks have started to issue longer-tenor debt to reduce this mismatch.

Overall, GCC banks’ financial fundamentals remain sound. Bank capital ratios are solid and a number of banks issued new Tier 1 and Tier 2 type capital securities in 2016 as part of the Basel III framework.

BANKASSETSNET PROFIT($000)RANKCOUNTRY
Qatar National Bank197,718,2733,407,7691Qatar
Emirates NBD121,972,2331,970,9132UAE
National Commercial Bank117,731,0192,510,8893KSA
National Bank of Abu Dhabi114,542,2001,441,8854UAE
Al Rajhi Banking Corporation90,589,8182,166,9235KSA
National Bank of Kuwait79,085,3421,019,9646Kuwait
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank70,321,0611,131,7917UAE
First Gulf Bank66,732,4431,652,5468UAE
Samba61,730,2901,334,8439KSA
Riyad Bank58,031,734891,33010KSA
Banque Saudi Fransi54,247,656936,06211KSA
Kuwait Finance House53,910,645529,12612Kuwait
Saudi British Bank49,614,9051,038,59513KSA
Dubai Islamic Bank47,636,9471,102,65514UAE
Arab National Bank45,335,659763,16715KSA
Qatar Islamic Bank38,415,969579,86916Qatar
Commercial Bank of Qatar35,818,760137,74117Qatar
Mashreqbank33,436,846531,96618UAE
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank33,294,235531,87019UAE
Ahli United Bank31,322,484624,31020Bahrain
Arab Banking Corporation30,141,000234,00021Bahrain
Union National Bank28,291,749430,86822UAE
Bank Muscat28,104,000458,59723Oman
Alawwal Bank28,018,800283,92724KSA
Alinma Bank27,927,963400,60625KSA
Saudi Investment Bank25,163,066280,78926KSA
Al Rayan25,145,879570,05527Qatar
Doha Bank24,825,535289,50028Qatar
Burgan Bank23,750,616218,08529Kuwait
Albaraka Bank Group23,425,265267,63630Bahrain
Gulf International Bank22,905,80037,30031Bahrain
Gulf Bank17,863,470140,31432Kuwait
Bank Al Jazira17,685,165232,51833KSA
Commercial Bank of Dubai17,446,168273,09134UAE
Al Khaliji Commercial Bank16,647,596117,19335Qatar
Bank Al Bilad14,371,358215,73936KSA
Al Ahli Bank Kuwait14,000,369106,23137Kuwait
Commercial Bank of Kuwait13,479,134164,68638Kuwait
Barwa Bank12,651,011202,96839Qatar
Qatar International Islamic Bank11,689,824215,59640Qatar
RAKBANK11,573,708180,50041UAE
Boubyan Bank11,359,892134,75042Kuwait
Noor Bank10,744,478152,69043UAE
Bank Dhofar10,265,036123,69344Oman
Bank of Bahrain Kuwait9,847,321150,92445Bahrain
National Bank of Fujairah9,710,895125,35946UAE
National Bank of Oman9,175,800144,88047Oman
Sharjah Islamic Bank9,131,289126,02448UAE
Ithmaar Bank8,341,31013,79849Bahrain
National Bank of Bahrain7,917,830154,88050Bahrain