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Assessing probabilities of financial distress of banks in UAE

Ehab Zaki (College of Business Administration, University of Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Rahim Bah (Grenoble Ecole de Management, Grenoble, Paris, France)
Ananth Rao (College of Business Administration, University of Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

International Journal of Managerial Finance

ISSN: 1743-9132

Article publication date: 28 June 2011




Commercial and Islamic banks are important players in the UAE financial market. However, little is known about their financial distress because these financial institutions usually resolve financial distress within their own organisations, which means that outsiders cannot explicitly observe distress. The purpose of the research is therefore to identify the main drivers of financial institutions' financial distress.


The paper estimates a probability distress prediction model using the BankScope Database and the annual reports of UAE financial institutions submitted to UAE Security Exchange Authority. The paper also analyses the impact of macroeconomic information for forecasting financial institutions' financial distress.


The fundamentals of financial institutions in terms of cost income ratio, equity to total assets, total asset growth and ratio of loan loss reserve to gross loans (all these variables with a lag of one year) positively impacted the probability of financial distress in the next year. Recent findings for emerging economies have cast some doubt on the usefulness of macroeconomic information for financial institutions' risk assessment. Similar results are found for UAE financial institutions in predicting the probability of financial distress.


This is the first study to provide empirical evidence on the drivers of financial distress of commercial and Islamic banks in UAE during 2000‐2008, and to examine the extent of the financial distress that can be can be attributed to internal bank‐specific fundamental factors and external factors in the economy.



Zaki, E., Bah, R. and Rao, A. (2011), "Assessing probabilities of financial distress of banks in UAE", International Journal of Managerial Finance, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 304-320.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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