A rundown of the top banks in Egypt, including domestic and foreign players.
From ancient times, Egypt has been fertile ground for the development of forms of credit, accounting systems, and legal frameworks to protect property rights and regulate transactions. Today, much like yesterday, this nation of over 110 million remains at the crossroad of ideas, cultures, and trade routes.
Its banking system reflects the country’s rich heritage and the needs of its increasingly sophisticated and globally engaged citizens. As a result, Egypt has witnessed in recent decades a gradual liberalization of the banking sector, facilitating the entry of private institutions and the introduction of new and ever more advanced financial products and services.
Today, through times of both prosperity and challenge, the Egyptian banking sector stands as a backbone of the country’s economic infrastructure and a key driver of future growth. These are the leading banks in Egypt, listed alphabetically, each with its own distinctive strengths and unique history.
Arab African International Bank
Arab African International Bank (AAIB), Egypt’s first multinational bank, was established in 1964 as a joint venture between the Central Bank of Egypt (49.37%) and the Kuwait Investment Authority (49.37%). Since then, AAIB has grown into a comprehensive regional banking institution offering products and services in retail, corporate and investment banking, and one of the best banks in Egypt as well as across the region.
Further, AAIB has played an important role in shaping the Egyptian economy and fostering economic growth: in 1982, it became the first bank to introduce credit cards in the market; in 2009, it was the first Egyptian institution to adopt the Equator Principles, a financial industry benchmark for environmental and social risk management in project financing; and, in 2017, it expanded into the microfinance sector to provide financial services to underserved communities. Over the years, Arab African International Bank has won numerous Global Finance awards, including for Best Investment Bank and Best Foreign Exchange Bank in Egypt.
Established in 1920 by industrialist and politician Joseph Cattaui and businessman and economist Talaat Harb, Banque Misr (BM) was the first national bank to be financed and wholly owned by Egyptians. Their ultimate goal was mobilizing national savings and channeling them towards economic and social development. Over the following 100 years, the bank they founded fulfilled that pledge, supporting both traditional and nascent industries ranging from textiles and shipping, to aviation and filmmaking. With over 800 branches and 20,000 employees across Egypt, Banque Misr stands as the second-largest bank in the country with assets of about $120 billion and a customer base of more than 13 million. Branches, offices and representatives are also present in the United Arab Emirates, France, Lebanon, Germany, China, Russia, South Korea and Italy. Banque Misr is a repeat winner of the Global Finance award in the Best Treasury & Cash Management category, and has been recently recognized as one of the safest 50 banks worldwide.
Banque du Caire
Founded in 1952 by a group of wealthy Jewish families, Banque du Caire is one of the oldest and largest Egyptian banks. Over the past seven decades, it has grown into a full-service institution offering an extensive range of products to both retail and corporate sectors. In the retail sphere, Banque du Caire can boast a network of 248 branches and 1640 ATMs serving a customer base of more than 3 million. In the corporate domain, it provides financing solutions for businesses of all sizes, including microbusiness, where Banque du Caire manages a portfolio of over 300,000 client accounts and holds a share of roughly a quarter of the local microfinance market. A state-owned institution, the Egyptian government has recently disclosed plans to offer up to 49% of its capital on the Egyptian Exchange. Banque du Caire is a winner of the Global Finance award for Best Sub-Custodian Services in Egypt.
Bank of Alexandria
As one of the oldest and largest banks in Egypt, Bank of Alexandria boasts a network of 175 branches serving over 1.6 million customers. It was established in 1957, when the Egyptian government nationalized the British bank Barclays following the Suez Crisis, in which Anglo and French troops invaded the country and occupied the Suez Canal. In 2006, in the first privatization of a fully state-owned bank, the Egyptian government sold 80% of its capital to Italy’s largest bank Sanpaolo. Rebranded as AlexBank in 2010, today it provides banking and investment services to retail, small and medium businesses, and corporate enterprises.
Commercial International Bank
As Egypt’s largest private lender, the Commercial International Bank holds a clear place among the top banks in Egypt. Established in 1975 as joint-venture between the National Bank of Egypt (51%) and Chase Manhattan Bank (49%), which sold its participation in 1987, today, CIB is the top listed company by market capitalization in the Egyptian Exchange (EGX), and counts among its top shareholders the National Bank of Egypt and Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund ADQ. As a provider of banking services to individuals, institutions and companies, including more than 500 of country’s largest corporations, the Commercial International Bank has held the title of the most profitable commercial bank in the nation for more than four decades. Over the years, CIB has won numerous Global Finance recognitions, including the GW Platt Foreign Exchange Bank Award, the Best Bank in Egypt and World’s Best Emerging Markets Bank awards, as well acknowledgments in the Best Treasury & Cash Management category.
Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt
Set forth by a proposal of Saudi prince Mohammed al-Faisal to the Egyptian authorities, in 1979 Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt (FIBE) became the first Shariah-compliant financial institution to operate in Egypt. With a shared focus on both retail and corporate banking, it provides products and services to over 1.9 million customers through more than 40 branches across the Republic. Further, the bank offers interest-free loans (Al qard Al-Hassan) to individuals experiencing hardship or unexpected situations, without any extra fees or charges. With total assets of about $7 billion, today the Al Awqaf Egyptian Authority is the largest shareholder in the bank, followed by Bahrain-based Ithmaar Bank. Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt is a winner of the Global Finance award in the Best Islamic Financial Institution category.
HSBC Bank Egypt
Established in 1982, HSBC Bank Egypt is the largest foreign bank in Egypt, with an estimated market share of around 7% and a network of 100 branches and 20 mini-bank units nationwide. As a subsidiary of one of the largest and most financially stable banking groups globally, its customers can access a comprehensive suite of banking products and services in personal, commercial, corporate and investment banking, as well as across the treasury and capital markets, insurance, and wealth and asset management segments. Additionally, they can rely on the expertise and strength of one of the world’s premier financial institutions. Over the years, HSBC Bank Egypt has been recognized by Global Finance with awards in the Treasury & Cash Management, Sub-Custodian and Consumer Internet Bank categories.
National Bank of Egypt
Established in 1898 with British capital, the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) is synonymous with the birth of modern banking activities in Egypt. In the decades that followed, it played a pivotal role in driving Egypt’s economic growth, effectively functioning as a central bank, a status officially recognized by the government in 1951. It was only ten years later that the Central Bank of Egypt was instituted as a separate entity, and the National Bank of Egypt became the commercial bank we know today. With over $170 billion in assets, 640 branches, and offices and banking units serving nearly 19 million customers, NBE is the largest financial institution in the country and one of the very largest in the region and in the continent as a whole. Over the years, NBE has won numerous Global Finance awards, most notably for Safest Bank in Egypt.
Established in 1978 as NSGB Bank, it changed its name QNB Alahli in 2013, when Qatari multinational commercial bank QNB Group acquired a majority stake. With assets of about $20 billion, today QNB Alahli is Egypt’s second-largest private bank, serving 2 million clients through a network of more than 200 branches and 900 ATMs. QNB Alahli provides products in corporate banking, financial advisory, project financing and foreign exchange, as well as leasing, insurance and factoring services through its dedicated subsidiaries. With a special commitment to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), women-focused programs and its new green retail-financing program, QNB Alahli is committed to promoting sustainable development and financial inclusion. QNB Alahli is a two-time winner of the Global Finance award for Best SME’s Bank in Egypt.
United Bank of Egypt
One of the youngest, and already one of the largest, financial institutions in the country, the United Bank of Egypt (UBE) was established in 2006 by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) through the merger of three banks that were facing bankruptcy at the time. The merger was part of a series of reforms aimed at consolidating the banking sector and creating institutions capable of competing globally. With assets of about $40 billion and 70 branches nationwide, UBE provides a comprehensive range of services and products in retail banking, microfinance, corporate banking and Islamic banking. In 2023, the Central Bank—which owns 99.9% of United Bank’s capital—announced plans to sell its entire stake as part of a broader program to privatize state-owned companies. Yet, as of January 2024, no sale had yet been finalized.