Client Situation

Our client is an Islamic bank established in January 2008, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It has a presence across the country, at multiple locations in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Al Ain, and Sharjah. Cedar has previously engaged with the client across multiple strategic initiatives. In the case of this project, Cedar worked to provide the bank with a diagnostic review of its existing cost structures, determining focus areas for potential cost reduction. The primary areas of focus for the project were the cards business, retail banking, operations function, and support unit.

Cedar’s Approach

Cedar was mandated to run a diagnostic review on the cost structure of the bank, assessing key drivers of cost while recommending areas for cost optimisation.

  • Conducted a detailed review of bank’s internal data.
  • Analysed the current and future loading of sales staff.
  • Assessed the average handling time of key back-office processes and arrived at optimal loading.
  • Conducted over 35 internal and external meetings across key bank stakeholders and market interviews.
  • Assessed potential for outsourcing certain roles such as sales and operations.


This program resulted in Cedar developing a cost optimisation strategy for the bank.

  • Recommended a two-wave approach across 4 parameters suggesting a headcount optimisation of 140-160 resulting in savings of AED 18-20mn as part of phase 1.
  • Provided a recommendation to outsource end to end cards process activities as key to cost reduction.
  • Identified moving sales staff to a variable outsourced and outsourcing of DSA’s to a third part variable model allowing 100+ headcount optimisation with AED 3-4mn savings as key to the second wave.
  • Suggested renegotiation of the current outsourcing contract leading to 300-350 headcount off the client’s books with an additional 10-15mn in savings.
  • Provided the next steps with 6 key initiatives identified.

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