Gulf banks lead overseas expansion

The Gulf banks are fast replacing European lenders in expansion within the Middle East region and into some of the fast growing emerging markets in Asian and Africa in the context of improving health of their balance sheets and strong support from shareholders. Banks from GCC, particularly those from the UAE and Qatar are in the forefront of overseas expansion.First Gulf Bank (FGB), for example, announced last month that it has a new representative office in South Korea as part of plans to expand its presence in Asia Pacific. Qatari banks have been seeking overseas expansion to cut dependence on local markets and access trade flows across the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Doha Bank is expanding its presence in Hong Kong, India and Saudi Arabia.