Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) said it has become the first UAE-based financial institution to receive a full operations banking licence from the Iraqi Central Bank to start its operations in the country.
Announcing its regional expansion, ADIB said the first fully-fledged ADIB branch is located at Baghdad and is being led by Jawdat Mahmoud Jawdat.
ADIB is now poised to support and guide UAE and GCC investments in Iraq and its surrounding areas, it will also develop the Islamic finance industry in Iraq by bringing best in class Islamic banking products, said a statement from the bank.
During the initial months of operations, ADIB’s market entry strategy will see it serve corporate and private banking customers. It will offer corporate finance, investment banking and treasury products to the Iraq market.
In addition, ADIB will offer traditional commercial banking services such as international trade finance solutions.
Unveiling the bank’s Iraq expansion plans, CEO Tirad Al Mahmoud said: "Iraq has been on our agenda for some time now and we believe that this is the opportune time to launch our presence there. The country is on a comeback trail, business conditions have improved considerably and it’s the right time to get in."
"Its vast oil reserves, a great rebuilding and infrastructure development effort and a growing population present great opportunities for growth. We aim to play a pivotal role in the development of its economy," he remarked.
ADIB was also granted approval from Central Bank of Iraq to confirm Iraq oil export letters of credit issued by multinational oil corporations, multinational commodities and oil traders and financial institutions that issue letters of credit on behalf of their clients.
“Our challenges are clear. We aim to increase the private sector banks’ share of the Iraqi market from the current level of less than 20% and to develop the Islamic banking industry there,” he added.