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Just 40 years ago, Dubai was simply a trading post at the mouth of the creek, without electricity, piped water or paved roads. As the finest natural creek in the Gulf, its trading history could be traced back almost 600 years. Fleets of merchant dhows lined its banks and sailed far and wide to earn rich rewards from their dealings in silk, spices, pearls and gold. But the discovery of oil, or black gold, was to launch Dubai to the future. As the first oil platform was towed out to sea from the creek, the waters began to reflect more than ancient wind towers. The business that would create a city within a few years had begun to gather pace. At this time of growing prosperity, a leading group of merchants including Ali Bin Abdullah Al Owais, the father of the late Chairman of the Bank, Sultan Ali Al Owais approached the Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, to discuss forming the first national bank. This played a vital role in developing Dubai into a leading business centre. The National Bank of Dubai was established in 1963 with one branch on the other side of the creek, which was usually reached by abra. And this was how the paperwork and the money reached head office every day! The Bank was an immediate success, and before long, in 1970, a new Headquarters inaugurated by H. H. Sheikh Rashid, opened beside the creek. The Bank has kept pace with every stage of Dubai's development, from its foundation as a simple trading harbour in the Middle East, through its years of expansion as an importer and exporter, to its position today as one of the premier cities between Europe and Asia. In this enterprise oriented business environment, National Bank of Dubai established a very conservative image with total dedication to sound banking practices, efficient service and a protective attitude towards depositors. Over the years, this prudent approach has proved to be successful for both shareholders and customers alike. Soon after the Headquarters opened, Dubai joined forces with the other emirates and was on its way to becoming one of the world's most vibrant cities. Today, the association between the oil business, the port, the merchants and the Bank is as strong as ever. The Bank's involvement now stretches to virtually every sector of the business community. The ancient creek-based industry of trading silk, spices and gold has now been enhanced by textiles, electronics, furniture and machinery as Dubai expands its trading links. Due to its pivotal role in the past and present prosperity of Dubai, the creek, exemplifies in microcosm the whole of Dubai as an industrious, multi-cultural society. The sleek, futuristic architecture that lines its banks is in sharp contrast to the traditional shipping reflected in its mirrored frontage. But the two work hand-in-hand to mutual benefit. Long may they coexist. The philosophy of the Bank has always been to protect valuable traditions whilst embracing the best contemporary business practices. This spirit has been the inspiration behind the design and layout of the new creek side Headquarters building. We hope this building reflects the good fortune of Dubai, as we continue to provide banking for this ever-changing world.

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  • July 25, 2013
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