Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

UAE’s bank branch network shrinks amid digital push

GCC banks can save more than $3bn per year by merging branches and accelerating digitalisation Shutterstock/Kdonmuang
GCC banks can save more than $3bn per year by merging branches and accelerating digitalisation

The number of bank branches in the UAE is expected to decline by 10 to 15 percent in the next two years.

Between 2019 and 2022, 157 branches merged or closed due to digital transformation, according to German strategy consultancy Roland Berger.

“The UAE has been one of the leading countries in reducing the number of bank branches by relying on technology and digital transformation over the past three or four years,” the UAE state-run Wam news agency reported, quoting Saumitra Sehgal, head of financial services in the Middle East at Roland Berger.



He said there is still the possibility of reducing branches by 10 to 15 percent within two years, expecting 80 branches to close in the Gulf state in the coming years. 

Digitalisation enabled the Gulf banks to reduce their branch networks by 328 branches from 4,067 at the end of 2019 to 3,739 at the end of 2022.

The UAE topped the list with 157 branches merged and closed during the period, followed by Saudi Arabia at 82, Bahrain at 57, and Qatar and Kuwait at 20 each. However, banks in Oman increased their branch network by eight.

Sehgal expects consolidation to take place across the Gulf, with the number of branches falling by 623 in the coming years. 

Bank branches cater to more complex matters, such as obtaining mortgages, with simple transactions being conducted online.

Sehgal said that the cost of bank branches in the GCC remains high, with annual expenses hitting $14.8 billion. 

“GCC banks can save more than $3 billion per year in branch costs by merging branches, reducing their number and accelerating the adoption of digitalisation.”

The revenue from UAE bank branches was the highest in the GCC region at $19 million per branch for retail services, up 27 percent at the end of 2022, compared to its levels at the end of 2019.

Latest articles

Over 400 global food brands are taking part in the SaudiFood Manufacturing show in Riyadh this month

Saudi Arabia’s food factory count rises to 1,300

The total number of food factories operated by the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones (Modon) has reached 1,300, across 36 cities. The increase signifies the growing capacity of the domestic food industry and its localisation efforts, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported. Food industry companies have recorded a growth rate of more […]

Garden, Nature, Outdoors

UAE commits $50m to development fund

The UAE has committed $50 million to the second phase of the Lives and Livelihoods Fund 2.0 (LLF 2.0), a multi-donor initiative targeting sustainable economic development in the Islamic Development Bank’s (ISDB) 57 member countries. The funding will be deployed by LLF 2.0 to support critical projects in health and infectious diseases, agriculture, and social infrastructure in low […]

Oman UAE deals Sultan of Oman president of UAE

Oman and UAE sign deals worth $35bn

The UAE and Oman have announced a host of new commercial and business deals worth a total of AED129 billion ($35 billion). The partnerships were agreed during Monday’s state visit to the Emirates by the ruler of Oman, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al Said.  Investment and collaboration agreements covered areas including renewable energy, green metals, […]

A silver trader in his shop in Ahmedabad, India. India is sourcing an increasing amount of its silver from the UAE

India’s silver imports from UAE on the rise

Supplies of silver to India from the UAE have increased this year, as the Emirates’ exporters benefit from an agreement signed between the countries two years ago. The India-UAE comprehensive economic partnership agreement signed in 2022 has significantly boosted imports, according to a report by Indian English-language business newspaper The Financial Express.  The UAE route […]