Emirates NBD was awarded Best Retail Bank in the Middle East at The Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards programme 2020.

Significant steps were taken in this year’s assessment of the Best Retail Bank in the Middle East to ensure that the programme remains the most rigorous, comprehensive and transparent of its kind in the financial services industry. In addition, it also incorporated customer derived net promoter score-based ratings from the BankQuality consumer survey on retail banks and how they helped customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on the evaluation scorecard, Emirates NBD scored high in digital journey, financial performance, sales, customer service, and process/technology management.

Bank’s focus on digital strategy and enhanced customer experience let to business improvement in 2019

Figure1:Emirates NBD recorded strong financial performance and scored the highest in Digital Journey and customer experience compared to its peers.


In the Middle East, the financial services sector has seen numerous changes and reforms, reflected by a competitive banking landscape where banks are increasingly searching to gain scale and stay competitive. Banks in the region, including United Arab Emirates (UAE), are going through consolidation by creating bigger banks to guarantee profitability in medium and long-term progress. Emirates NBD is one of the largest banking groups in the Middle East by assets after First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB). FAB is focusing on serving UAE corporates while Emirates NBD focuses on developing its digital strategy to significantly enhance the customer experience.

Emirates NBD demonstrated strength in retail banking and financial performance

Emirates NBD has the highest retail banking revenue in 2019 compared to other banks in the region. Its revenue and profit grew by 9% and 7%, respectively. The bank’s loans book is up by 6% in a flat market, led by strong credit card growth of 17% and personal loan of 27%, which supported market share gains. In addition, the bank’s deposits market share is 21.4% and credit card market share is 19.7%, the fourth in the Middle East for card spends.

Emirates NBD’s digital sales is dominated by personal loans at around 80%

Emirates NBD’s digital adoption continues to grow with 69% of individual customers using mobile or online banking on a monthly basis. It has high digital sales of around 80% in personal loans which are mostly due to sales via tablet banking. In contrast, the Commercial Bank of Qatar achieved 54% digital sales of current account and savings account (CASA) deposits while Emirates NBD had 52%.

Emirates NBD’s digital journey is driven by strong digital customer acquisition

In UAE, banks are taking the lead in adopting digital solutions. The banking sector witnessed various digital banking initiatives such as introducing digital-only banks to expand their online banking services. For instance, with the launch of the digital-only bank Liv, Emirates NBD attracted millennials and generated more than 10,000 new customers every month and helped double the bank’s acquisition with 90% new customers.

Emirates NBD received high net promoter scores in the BankQuality Customer Survey

Emirates NBD performed the highest among other banks in the net promoter score-based BankQuality Customer Survey and Rankings that was introduced in 2020 to incorporate the voice of customers into the award evaluation. With a score of 173, Emirates NBD scored the highest, followed by Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) with a score of 172.  Emirates Islamic Bank got a score of 51.

Banks in UAE have shown positive net promoter score in the BankQuality Customer Survey this year.

Figure 2: In the BankQuality Customer Survey, customers choose Emirates NBD and ADIB as top service providers


In 2019, Emirates NBD launched various initiatives to provide great experience to new brand customers. Worth mentioning is the instant account opening using the Emirates NBD mobile app. With this new process,  UAE residents can open an account by taking a selfie, uploading Emirates ID and passport pictures and filling the application form. In addition to the customer benefits, the new process effectively created a new sourcing channel for the bank and helped improve overall sourcing volumes by 10% to 15% with improved cross-sell indicators which is currently up by 15%.

Banks help to ease the financial impact of COVID-19

Emirates NBD implemented various initiatives such as providing repayment holiday of up to three months with zero interest and fees for retail loan customers who have been placed on unpaid leave by their employers to ease financial burdens as a result of the impact of COVID-19. Other banks also implemented the same initiatives, such as Mashreq Bank and Commercial Bank of Dubai.

Banks in the Middle East raised funds to support national initiatives and efforts against COVID-19

Figure3: Emirate NBD and Emirates Islamic have contributed $1.09 million to support online and distance learning initiatives launched for all UAE schools during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


In Bahrain, the Bank ABC Group, including ila Bank, Arab Financial Services and ABC Islamic Bank, raised a $10 million fund as a contribution to national initiatives across its Middle East and North Africa (MENA) network.

In Jordan, Arab Bank Group raised around $4.23 million and Jordan's Housing Bank offered $2.15 million to support the national effort in controlling the spread of the virus and providing medical care to those affected.

The next step

While digital transformation has led to continuous benefits for banks and consumers, there has been an increased potential for fraud and security issues. Therefore, Emirates NBD needs to build a strong security system and guarantee customer safety. The bank is currently taking the lead in educating customers on cybersecurity risks. Banks are now working hand in hand with bank regulators, law enforcement and all levels of government to address the growing challenges posed by cybercrime.

For the full list and details of Excellence in Financial Services Awards winners 2020 click here

For details of the Excellencein Financial Services Awards programme 2020 click here

For details of the BankQuality Consumer Survey and Rankings click here