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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

Emirates NBD expands its branch network in Saudi Arabia 

US-based Citi has also announced the launch of its new office in Riyadh 

UAE PMI improves in April. Pawan Singh / The National
UAE PMI improves in April. Pawan Singh / The National

Dubai’s Emirates NBD on Monday announced the expansion of it operations in Saudi Arabia, solidifying its foothold in the market as Opec’s biggest oil exporter continues to transform its economy.

Emirates NBD, the biggest bank in Dubai by assets, said it has expanded its footprint with the recent opening of its branch in Saudi Arabia’s commercial hub, Jeddah. The lender plans to “soon" open a branch in Khobar and a second branch in the kingdom’s capital Riyadh, it said in a statement. Saudi Arabia now hosts Emirates NBD’s biggest branch network outside of the UAE and Egypt, it said.

“Our presence in Saudi Arabia leverages the UAE’s strong economic, financial and commercial ties with the kingdom,” Hesham Al Qassim, vice-chairman and managing director of Emirates NBD, said. “As Saudi rolls out its transformative Vision 2030 plan, we are delighted to deepen our relationship and continue to support Saudi individuals and businesses looking for a trusted banking partner.”

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Financial institutions are keen to establish a presence in the Saudi Arabia, the biggest Arabian Gulf economy, as it continues to diversify away from oil. Its economic agenda includes development of local non-oil industries and sale of some of the state assets including Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil producer, in a public float. Deals such as these and a booming population in the country offer growth opportunities for local, regional and international lenders.

US-based Citi on Monday also announced the formal opening of its new offices in Riyadh, in a ceremony attended by Ibrahim Al Omar, Governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, and top Citi officials including its chief executive Michael Corbat.

“The expansion to Saudi is in line with our strategy to be present in the region’s biggest economy and contribute to its transformation,” said Mr Corbat. “Citi continues to support the Kingdom’s national agenda for a diverse and sustainable economy and we aim to play a key role towards realising this vision.”

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