Over the years, the UAE banking sector has made great strides in the adoption of new technology, investing heavily in it. While COVID-19 has hastened the adoption of digitalization, this report delves into the other drivers of digitalization in the local banking sector. Looking ahead, we expect to see the competitiveness of UAE banks improve on collaborative innovation in the local banking sector.
On a micro level, branch network has been on a decline since 2014 due to digitization and mergers. We expect this trend to continue albeit at a much slower pace, going forward. This is largely due to two reasons: 1. further branch closures could affect deposit share; and 2. branches account for a sizable chunk of Emirati headcount, cutting which could make Emiratization targets mandated by the government, harder to achieve.
UAE is proving itself as the fintech hub supported by young, wealthy and savvy domestic consumers on one hand and solid infrastructure and government thrust to innovation and efficiency on the other.
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