There are more than 114 banks in Bahrain, including 23 retail banks, 69 wholesale banks, two specialized banks, as well as 36 representative offices of overseas banks. The country’s banking system consists of Islamic banks and conventional banks.
Bahrain is the financial hub of the Middle East. The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) regulates the banking and insurance sectors in the country. The legal, regulatory, and accounting systems in Bahrain’s financial sector are transparent and consistent with international standards.
According to Moody’s, the outlook for Bahrain’s banking system is negative due to the government debt burden and debt affordability, which is expected to deteriorate significantly in the next two to three years.
For anyone considering a career in banking in Bahrain, this list of top banks in Bahrain is a helpful guide on where to start. To learn more, see our lists of financial institutions.
The Top Banks in Bahrain Include:
Ahli United Bank
Ahli United Bank is one of the largest banks in Bahrain and is located in Manama. Founded in 2000, it provides retail, commercial, Islamic, investment, and private banking products and services.
The bank operates 151 branches, which includes 23 branches in the Kingdom of Bahrain, 35 in the State of Kuwait, 42 in the Arab Republic of Egypt, 23 in Oman, 11 in Lybia, 10 in the Republic of Iraq, and 1 in the United Kingdom. The bank employs around 4,070 individuals.
Net income: USD 452.2 million (2020)
Total assets: USD 40.1 billion (2020)
Arab Banking Corporation
Established in 1980, Arab Banking Corporation provides wholesale banking services in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, the Americas, and Asia. Headquartered in Manama, the bank employs around 344 individuals.
Net income: USD -89.0 million (2020)
Total assets: USD 30.4 billion (3/2021)
Albaraka Bank Group
Founded in 2002, the Albaraka Bank Group offers retail, corporate and investment banking, and treasury services. The bank functions according to the principles of Sharia law and is present in 15 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey, Lebanon, Tunisia, Algeria, South Africa, Sudan, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, and Syria.
The bank currently employs 12,937 staff and manages 697 branches worldwide.
Net income: USD 66.5 million (2020)
Total assets: USD 28.0 billion (3/2021)
Gulf International Bank
Established in 1975, Gulf International Bank offers wholesale, commercial, asset management, and investment banking services worldwide. The bank operates through four segments – Wholesale Banking, Treasury, Asset Management, and Financial Markets. It employs around 7,700 staff and is headquartered in Manama.
In addition to its main subsidiaries, London-based GIB (UK) Ltd. and Riyadh-based GIB Capital LLC, it manages several branches in London, New York, Abu Dhabi, Dhahran, Riyadh, and Jeddah, and maintains a representative office in Dubai.
Net income: USD -308.0 million (2020)
Total assets: USD 29.5 billion (2020)
Bahrain Development Bank
Founded in 1991, Bahrain Development Bank provides financial services customized to meet the needs of small and medium businesses for banks in Bahrain. It is headquartered in Manama.
The bank employs 203 individuals and is also present in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Norway, through 110 branches.
Net income: BHD 500,000 (2020)
Total assets: BHD 226.4 million (2020)
Ithmaar Bank was founded in 1984. It is one of the Islamic retail banks in Bahrain. The bank provides retail, commercial, treasury, institutional, and other banking services.
Ithmaar Bank is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ithmaar Holding B.S.C. (formerly named Ithmaar Bank B.S.C.). It is headquartered in Manama, currently employing around 700 staff.
Net income: BHD -10.9 million (2020)
Total assets: BHD 3.0 billion (2020)
National Bank of Bahrain
Established in 1957, the National Bank of Bahrain was the first of the indigenous banks in Bahrain. It operates 26 branches and is present in locations such as Abu Dhabi and Riyadh. The bank provides retail and wholesale commercial banking, treasury and investment services, and investment advisory services.
Net income: BHD 53.5 million (2020)
Total assets: BHD 4.39 billion (3/2021)
Al Mashrek Bank
Al Mashrek Bank was founded in 1967 and is into providing banking and financial services to customers. The bank is a branch of Al Mashrek Bank UAE.
Net income: AED -1.28 billion (2020)
Total assets: AED 158.5 billion (2020)
Investcorp was established in 1982. Headquartered in Manama, the company manages alternative investment products for institutional and private clients. It is a private equity and venture capital firm specializing in investments in buyouts, emerging growth, late venture, and later-stage companies.
The bank invests in small and medium-sized companies and family-owned businesses, and also makes large investments in mostly illiquid asset classes such as corporate and commercial real estate equity and high-yield debt investments. It typically invests in the industrial, retail, consumer products, and technology sectors within the European region.
Founded in 1997, Arcapita is headquartered in Manama, Bahrain. It provides capital to growth-oriented corporate acquisitions. Arcapita also specializes in buyouts. The bank seeks to invest in consumer, healthcare, energy, business services, industrial, technology, and manufacturing sectors. However, target acquisitions are not necessarily sector-specific.