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First Abu Dhabi Bank seeks commercial banking presence in Saudi Arabia

First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC has applied for a commercial banking license in Saudi Arabia and plans to enter the market in 2018, Reuters and Gulf News reported Feb. 25, citing the United Arab Emirates-based lender's group head of subsidiaries, strategy and transformation, Karim Karoui.

"We submitted the application for commercial banking with [the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority]," Karoui reportedly said. "We think that the year 2018 is going to be the year for us to establish physically in Saudi Arabia and open a branch."

Earlier in February, First Abu Dhabi Bank secured a license from Saudi Arabia's Capital Market Authority to launch an investment banking subsidiary in the country.

Meanwhile, CFO James Burdett said the bank expects mid-single-digit growth for its balance sheet in 2018, Gulf News reported. The bank booked full-year 2017 group net profit of 10.92 billion United Arab Emirates dirhams, down from 11.32 billion dirhams a year ago.

As of Feb. 23, US$1 was equivalent to 3.67 United Arab Emirates dirhams.