National Bank of Fujairah (NBF), said it is positioning itself to support short-term purchase and sales financing to stakeholders in the diamond industry, filling the void left by the winding down of the Antwerp Diamond Bank (ADB) in September 2014.

In the withdrawal of ADB’s operations from Dubai, NBF recruited various industry experts from the former Belgian-based lender to help support its operations as it aims to provide financing for both established diamond businesses, including raw diamond trading from Africa to manufacturers in India, Far East and Europe.

Speaking on behalf of the NBF, head of corporate and institutional banking, Vikram Pradhan, commented; “Our competitive advantage lies in the bank’s track record for operational excellence and compliance, its strong client relationships in the jewellery and gold sectors and now the in-house expertise from ADB, all of which would help NBF play a definitive role in the development of the diamond trade in the UAE.”

Dubai, which as a destination has been competing with Antwerp to be the largest diamond trading centre in the world by volume of trade has seen an meteoric rise in the industry, trading just $5 million in 2001 to $35 billion in 2014.

Speaking on behalf of the DMCC, executive chairman Ahmed bin Sulayem said; “One of the factors crucial to Dubai’s ongoing success as a global diamond centre is financial support. With the gradual withdrawal of multinational banks from the diamond market, it is heartening to see strong local names such as National Bank of Fujairah stepping in to take their place.”

ADB owners, KBC Group NV announced it was abandoning plans to sell to China’s Yinren Group last year, instead choosing to wind down its business in a ‘gradual and orderly manner’.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal in September 2014, KBC Chief Executive Johan Thijs, said; “It’s a pity that, despite long and intense efforts, the Yinren Group was unable to complete the acquisition of Antwerp Diamond Bank within the set deadline. We regret that a strong brand and a leading player in the diamond banking industry, with a long and rich history, will have to cease operations as a result.”