The second-quarter earnings of top UAE banks last week , pointed towards a healthy growth in profits and a sustainable recovery in their loans growth, say banking industry experts.
“The second quarter earnings for the three major UAE banks, Emirates NBD, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank displayed solid loan growth that is currently pacing at 10 per cent, year-on-year, and looks set to continue if not accelerate for the rest of the year as the risk appetite from banks keeps increasing, reflecting the improving macro environment in the UAE,” a Dubai-based analyst told Gulf News.
He added: “It remains to be seen how the Central Bank reacts as the loan growth outpaces their objectives suggesting potential overheating.”
Another banking expert said: “Loan growth picked up further in the second quarter of 2013, which suggests that UAE’s credit appetite continues to improve.”
The UAE, the second-largest Arab economy  is picking up after a marked drop in property prices in the aftermath of the global financial crisis that started in 2008. Loans and advances at the nation’s banks grew 5 per cent in the year to May, compared with expansion of 2.6 per cent in December, according to central bank data.
The economy of the Gulf-Arab nation is poised to grow 4.6 per cent, on average, between 2012 and 2015, more than twice as fast as the prior four years, according to government forecasts.
Emirates NBD (ENBD) said its second-quarter net profit rose 50 per cent, beating analysts’ forecasts, as Dubai’s largest lender benefited from an recovery in the emirate’s economy.
ENBD, 55.6 per cent owned by state fund Investment Corp of Dubai, made a net profit of Dh972 million in the three months to June 30, compared with Dh647 million in 2012. The stock has benefited in 2013 as investor confidence that Dubai’s economy is recovering, helped by a revival in real estate and tourism, has fed through into the banking sector .
ENBD booked impairments of Dh997 million in the second quarter of this year, marginally up on the Dh954 million recorded in the same three months of 2012. Loans and advances stood at Dh231.8 billion at the end of June, up six per cent on the end of 2012. Meanwhile, deposits increased 8 per cent over the same timeframe, standing at Dhs230.4 billion at the end of June.
The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), the biggest lender in Abu Dhabi said its fiscal second-quarter net profit rose 15.8 per cent on year to Dh1.21 billion. NBAD said revenues were up 14.1 per cent on year in the second quarter, driven by increases in non-interest income and net interest income, while net loans increased 6.8 per cent on year in the quarter ended June to Dh173 billion. Net impairment charges were Dh301 million in the second quarter, up 3.1 per cent from the same quarter a year ago.
NBAD said it earned Dh2.62 billion for the first half of 2013, 25.6 per cent higher than the Dh2.09 billion in the corresponding half of 2012.
Giving its economic overview, NBAD said that in the UAE, economic growth  is expected to slow in 2013 mainly due to slower growth in hydrocarbon production, while non-oil activity continues to improve. “Liquidity in the UAE banking system has improved with the net loan to deposit ratio at its lowest level in several years while lending growth has been modest year-to-date, and momentum seems to be picking up,” it noted.
Another Abu Dhabi-based lender, First Gulf Bank (FGB) said last week its fiscal second quarter net profit rose 15 per cent on year to Dh1.17 billion.
“FGB achieved record revenues of Dh2,018 million in the second quarter of 2013, thanks to the continuation of its successful revenue diversification strategy in term of geographies, locally and internationally as well as by enhancing its product offerings. The positive results were reflected in the loans portfolio which grew by 7 per cent during the first half of 2013 and grew by 11 per cent over the past 12 months,” the bank said at the time.