The KFH/Ahli United merger is moving forward; Fitch downgraded Saudi Arabia; Lebanese central bank Governor Riad Salame sought to reassure depositors that they would be able to withdraw dollars from banks, and the UAE dropped its ban on citizens travelling to Lebanon.
Credit Suisse is latest to get Saudi banking license
Credit Suisse has become the latest foreign bank to be awarded a license to open a branch in Saudi Arabia. The decision was announced by Central Bank Governor Ahmed al-Kholeify at a conference in April.
In February, the Saudi Council of Ministers announced that Standard Chartered would receive a license to open a branch in the Kingdom.
Both Credit Suisse and Standard Chartered have been operating in Saudi Arabia under a Capital Markets Authority license for some years, but this license does not enable them to undertake commercial banking business or deposit taking. Banking licenses are issued by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA).
First Abu Dhabi Bank and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ opened branches in November 2018.
In April this year, Bahrain-based Saudi-owned Gulf International Bank (GIB) announced that it had completed converting its three branches into a locally-incorporated bank.
Banking in Saudi Arabia is dominated by the locally-incorporated banks. There are 12 of these, the addition of GIB being offset by a reduction of one, following the merger of Saudi British Bank and Al-Awwal Bank.
After taking into account the Credit Suisse and Standard Chartered licenses, there are now 16 foreign banks which each have a single branch in the Kingdom.
From the GCC there are National Bank of Bahrain, National Bank of Kuwait, Bank Muscat, Qatar National Bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank and Emirates NBD.
From Europe there is now, Banque Paribas, Deutsche Bank and Standard Chartered and Credit Suisse. From the US there is JPMorgan Chase and from Asia there is Ziraat Bankasi (Turkey), National Bank of Pakistan, State Bank of India, ICBC (China) and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi.
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