Sharjah’s financial services sector has grown at an average rate of 12.7% per year over the past half decade to reach 10.3% of GDP in 2015, in line with the figure for the UAE as a whole. It primarily consists of four locally headquartered banks and two locally based insurance companies, though institutions based in other emirates are also active in the local market. Assets of locally headquartered banks contracted slightly in the first nine months of 2016 as non-performing loans in the small and medium-sized enterprise segment saw banks take provisions and scale back lending, but assets remained well above their 2014 levels, with profits recovering at some institutions that had suffered in 2015. Premiums and profits at locally headquartered insurance firms have meanwhile risen in recent years.
This chapter contains an interview with Ahmad Saad, Deputy CEO, Sharjah Islamic Bank.