Top 10 largest banks in the Middle East and Africa

With banks across the region reporting record profits, we rank the top 10 by assets – and with insight on how the rest of 2023 might shape up

It’s boom time for banking – especially in the Middle East and Africa. High interest rates globally are driving profits, but this region has an extra edge.

Africa’s potential is being met by digital banking solutions and foreign direct investment, while the Middle East continues to prove attractive for global talent. Then there is the ongoing real estate and mega construction booms – particularly in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – that are requiring huge financial muscle.

Mortgages are also delivering exponential growth in Saudi’s banking sector – as witnessed by the biggest mover on this list Al Rajhi, which almost doubled assets in just three years.

Now, with banks across the region reporting record profits, many of these institutions are going to be making moves. So who are the winners and losers?

Here are the banks ranked by assets by S&P Global market Intelligence, and with insight on how the rest of 2023 could shape up.


Qatar National Bank


CEO: Abdulla Mubarak Al-Khalifa

Total assets: US$323.56 billion

The region’s biggest lender by assets, QNB retains its position at the top of the pile by some margin. Like many of the banks featured in this list, QNB has also had a stellar start to 2023, with profits touching US$2.1 billion in H1.

Part of QNB’s ongoing success is the ability to spot shrewd acquisitions and investments, from Turkey to Togo. This is all part of the QNB Group’s mission to become a leading bank not only in the Middle East but also Africa and Southeast Asia.

That extended footprint means 29,000 employees across 900 locations, which may go some way to explaining why profits ‘only’ rose 8% in H1 compared to some other institutions.

Qatar’s first sovereign bank was founded in 1964, and is 50% owned by the Qatar Investment Authority.


First Abu Dhabi Bank


CEO: Hana Al Rostamani

Total assets: US$302.22 billion

First Abu Dhabi Bank (appropriately known as FAB), is the largest bank by assets in the UAE – and is only getting bigger. High interest rates saw the bank deliver record profits in H1 2023, up a staggering 61% year-on-year, with net profit in the first half of the year topping AED8.1 billion (US$2.2 billion).

According to Global Finance Magazine, FAB is the safest bank in the UAE and wider Middle East, fifth safest in emerging markets, and 14th worldwide. FAB says it has more than 3 million customers in the UAE and a presence in 20 global markets.

Total assets have grown at a CAGR of 12% since December 2017, with customer deposits up 14% in the same period.

Investment banking accounts for 39% of revenue, corporate and commercial banking 25%, and consumer banking 12%.

Mubadala Investment Company is the largest shareholder, with a 37.9% stake in FAB.


The Saudi National Bank

Saudi Arabia

CEO: Saeed Mohammed Al Ghamdi

Total assets: US$250.80 billion

The Saudi National Bank retains its position in third place on the list but may well be looking over its shoulder at another Saudi rival on the rise.

Also known as SNB AlAhli, the bank is playing a pivotal role in the rapid economic transformation and megaprojects being developed in the Kingdom as part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

The bank will mark its 70th anniversary in December but has no intention of looking backwards as it steers a steady course towards the future. Part of this is a commitment to sustainability – epitomised by being recognised as a leader in digital banking in the region, and the LEED v$ Platinum Certification of its new head office in Riyadh.


Al Rajhi Bank

Saudi Arabia

CEO: Waleed A. Al-Mogbel

Total assets: US$202.86 billion

The world’s largest Sharia-compliant bank soars up the rankings from ninth to fifth place, boosted by a growing domestic mortgage market.

Al Rajhi breaks the US$200 billion barrier and just pips another UAE bank who also made the grade.

Islamic finance principles are vital to form a bridge between traditional values and modern demands, especially as Saudi Arabia works towards its Vision 2030. In this regard, Al Rajhi has a strategy to build the Bank of the Future – with a focus on customer experience and digital solutions.


Emirates NBD


CEO Shayne Nelson

Total assets: US$202 billion

Coming in less than a billion behind Al Rajhi is a great achievement for Emirates National Bank of Dubai (NBD). The bank was originally formed in 1963 as National Bank of Dubai and was merged with Emirates Bank International in 2007 to form the Group we know today.

Few years have been as successful as this, the bank’s 60th. In H1, profits surged an astonishing 130% to AED12.3 billion (US$3.35 billion). This was due to strong growth in current and savings accounts which is showing no signs of slowing – Q2 was even better than Q1 and the population of the UAE is growing fast as more people are attracted to the country thanks to its lifestyle and economy.

The Group also has operations in Egypt, India, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the UK, Austria, Germany, Russia and Bahrain, with representative offices in China and Indonesia.


Bank Leumi 


CEO Hanan Friedman

Total assets: US$198.84 billion

Israel’s largest bank by assets, with a market share of 30% in the country, and one of the largest corporations in the Middle East, the 120-year-old Bank Leumi posted the highest profit among Israel’s banks for 2022, reporting a nearly 60% rise in net profits in the fourth quarter.

As well as 270 branches in Israel, the bank has 61 branches and representatives in 17 countries, including Switzerland, the UK, Uruguay, and the US, along with 7,893 employees worldwide.

The bank, which is the parent company of the Leumi Group, offers corporate banking services, commercial banking to middle-market firms, private banking to HNWIs, retail banking, and financial management.


National Bank of Egypt


CEO: Hisham Ahmed Okasha

Total assets: US$193.53 billion

The highest ranking bank in Africa on this list, National bank of Egypt is also the country’s oldest bank, established in 1898. 

Since 2022, the bank has adopted a strategy around digital transformation and artificial intelligence, and has won numerous awards for its future vision.

With almost 18 million customers, National bank of Egypt remains a force to be reckoned with, and has expanded across the region – as well as the US and China.


Bank Hapoalim


CEO: Zion Kenan

Total assets: US$189.12 billion

Israel's Bank Hapoalim also operates globally in 30 countries

Operating in Israel since 1921, Bank Hapoalim is the nation’s second largest lender and has played a key role in the rapid growth of the country’s economy. The bank has 250 full-service branches within Israel making it the largest distribution network in the country.

The bank also operates globally in 30 countries, in Europe, the US, Canada, Latin America, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia, via branches, representative offices, subsidiaries and partnerships with thousands of correspondent banks.

The bank, which has 8,562 employees, offers a range of retail, commercial, corporate, and private banking and other financial solutions with a product portfolio that includes loans for mortgages, real estate, working capital, and lines of credit.

Headquartered in Tel Aviv, Bank Hapoalim has secured profits of US$1.94 billion in the last year, and in the first quarter of 2023 saw its net profit jump 21.3%.

Standard Bank Group

South Africa

CEO: Sim Tshabalala

Total assets: US$169.63 billion

One of only two African banks on the list, Standard Bank Group is based in South Africa but covers the continent. Established in 1862, it has 15 million clients in 20 countries in Africa.

Africa’s largest bank is proud of its roots and aims to meet the diverse banking needs of this vibrant market. It is clearly meeting those objectives, witnessing strong performance and profits in 2022.

The bank expects 2023 to be just as fruitful thanks to growth in renewable energy and infrastructure, plus those high interest rates.

China is a key trading partner and source of foreign investment in Africa and Standard Bank Group has a strategic partnership with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to help facilitate financial services.


Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank


CEO: Ala’a Eraiqat

Total assets: US$136.53 billion

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank rises two places to grace the top 10 – making it the third entry from the UAE. 

A relative newcomer compared to some of the banks featured, ADCB was founded in 1985 and has risen through the ranks, delivering a H1 profit hike of 25%, while welcoming 260,000 new retail customers and 3,500 new corporate clients. Digital delivered 86% of onboarding for the bank.

Retail banking income rose 19% YoY while corporate and investment banking rose by 29%.

With a focus on digital banking and sustainability, ADCB is making all the right moves to rise even higher in this list in the near future.


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