Sohar International Bank, listed in Muscat, requests the opening of a branch in Saudi Arabia

RIYAD: Sohar International Bank, which is listed on the Muscat Stock Exchange in Oman, has asked the Saudi Central Bank to open a branch in the Kingdom, it said in a statement from the exchange.

“Sohar International is uniquely positioned to make this venture a success,” the statement said.

Sunday’s announcement came as Sultan of Oman Haitham bin Tariq and King Salman spoke to NEOM during the Omani leader’s official visit to Saudi Arabia.

There are currently 16 foreign banks operating in Saudi Arabia, according to Argaam, the financial news site. These include Emirates NBD (six branches), Gulf International Bank (three branches), National Bank of Kuwait (three branches) and First Abu Dhabi Bank (three branches).

BNP Paribas of France, Deutsche Bank of Germany, Bank Muscat, National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. of the United States, Pakistan National Bank, Ziraat Bank of Turkey, Qatar National Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of La China, Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Credit Suisse Group and Standard Chartered each have a branch.

The potential addition to the Kingdom’s banking scene comes as it was reported last month that the cumulative revenues of Saudi Arabia’s 10 largest banks grew 34.1% in the first quarter of 2021, compared in the previous quarter.

A&M’s Banking Pulse for Saudi Arabia said the Kingdom’s lenders “rebounded to hit first-quarter earnings”, mainly due to improving macroeconomic conditions, the country’s dynamic capital market and a significant reduction in depreciation.

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© Arab News 2021

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