Jun. 17, 2015


Mohammad Nasr Abdeen

UAE, Abu Dhabi

Mohammad Nasr Abdeen

CEO, Union National Bank (UNB)

TBY talks to Mohammad Nasr Abdeen, CEO of Union National Bank (UNB), on the bank's position in the financial market and its performance.

BIO

As CEO of UNB, one of the leading banks in the UAE, and the only bank owned by the governments of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Mohammad Nasr Abdeen is as dynamic and success driven as the organization he heads. He oversees the activities of the UNB Group and its subsidiaries, managing a team of over 1,800 employees. He has led the bank’s expansion strategy through subsidiaries including the Union Brokerage Company and the Al Wifaq Finance Company, offering sharia-compliant solutions. UNB has significantly expanded its retail reach in recent years, with branches in Egypt, Qatar, Kuwait, and an office in Shanghai.

What have been some of the key highlights at UNB over 2014?

Reviewing our financials, we have maintained a consistent growth course, recording a profit of AED1.584 billion for 9M2014, achieving an increase of 10% compared to the corresponding period of the previous year. Our profit for 3Q2014 was AED552 million, up notably by 22% compared to the same quarter of 2013 and an impressive 6% QoQ, principally driven by an increase in volumes across our various business segments. The UNB Group's performance in 3Q2014 maintained its upward trend, with the Group announcing a record profit. We remain focused on sustainably growing our franchise and business. The key to the success of our business model is its strong customer-oriented strategy, providing a wide array of award-winning products and services and our persistent endeavor to enhance customer experience.

How would you describe the position of UNB in the UAE's financial sector?

We have consistently strong ratings from Moody's Investors' Service Ratings, Fitch Ratings, and Capital Intelligence, with all three ratings reporting a “stable" outlook for the bank. At UNB, we have improved our activities, services, and products over the years in order to be a good partner in the banking industry so as to support the economy and the country. We have an Islamic finance arm called Al Wifaq Finance Company. UNB established the first brokerage company in the UAE, Union Brokerage Company (UBC), as well as a sales and marketing services company, Injaz Marketing Management. We understand the market fully, and we focus on this aspect of our business. We are selective about where we engage outside the UAE. Currently, we have a presence in Egypt through a 96.6% owned subsidiary. While UNB has a representative office in China, and a presence in Kuwait and Qatar, we are not aggressive about expanding to every country in the world. We select markets in which we are able to manage our business.

What is your analysis of UNB's 10% increase in profit in 3Q2014 compared to the corresponding period in 2013?

First, we have a strong credit culture. We plan our actions well, and we do not take excessively high risks. It is well known that UNB is more conservative, which was at one point taken as a negative. When 2008 came, it turned out to be a great point in our favor. Many others began complimenting what we had done. We are consistent. We stick with credit principles and take calculated risks. We identify the segments we want to deal with, and we understand them. We have specialized people in each industry. The bank understands in detail customer needs and plans, and it works as a partner with the client. We take the necessary action when the time is right. We are not the kind of bank that changes according to the news. We are consistent because of our conservative approach.

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