RIYADH: Standard Chartered has begun offering banking services at a new branch in Saudi Arabia.
The British bank was granted a capital markets license in 2011 and in 2019 it was given approval by the Saudi Central Bank to conduct banking activities in the Kingdom.
The new headquarters is based in Al Faisaliah. The branch currently employs 25 staff and aims to grow its local workforce in due course.
“We will leverage our presence in the Kingdom to promote trade, investment and capital flows in support of the Saudi Vision 2030 under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz, and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, from our network spanning 60 countries, now with the Kingdom included,” Sarmad Lone, regional head of client coverage for corporate, commercial and institutional banking, said in a statement.
The latest edition to the Kingdom’s banking scene comes as it was reported in June that the accumulated income of the Top-10 banks in Saudi Arabia increased by 34.1 percent during the first quarter of 2021, compared to the previous quarter
The A&M’s Banking Pulse for Saudi Arabia said lenders in the Kingdom “have rebounded to deliver blockbuster first-quarter profit,” mainly due to improving macroeconomic conditions, the country’s buoyant capital market, and a significant decrease in impairments.
“Looking ahead, credit growth is likely to be driven by continuous strength in mortgage lending and a pickup in corporate credit demand in the second half of 2021, as economic activity continues to improve,” said Asad Ahmed, A&M managing director and head of Middle East financial services. “Corporate lending is expected to gain traction as the Public Investment Fund plans to invest $40 billion into the economy annually until 2025, to support business activity.”
Ahmed said that following the merger of Saudi banking titans National Commercial Bank and Samba to form Saudi National Bank, other lenders in the Kingdom would also look to consolidate their position and improve their capital base.