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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

Emirates NBD expands network in Saudi Arabia with Khobar branch 

Dubai biggest lender now has three full-fledged branches in the kingdom

Dubai’s Emirates NBD further expanded its branch network to three large cities in Saudi Arabia as the lender aims to solidify its foothold in the Arabian Gulf’s largest economy.

Emirates NBD, the biggest bank in Dubai by assets, has opened a new branch in Khobar in the kingdom's oil-rich eastern province, the bank said in a statement on Sunday. Emirates NBD now covers three key regions in the country with presence in Riyadh, Jeddah and Khobar. With the latest expansion, Saudi Arabia hosts Emirates NBD’s biggest branch network outside of the UAE and Egypt, it said.

“Our presence in Saudi is integral to Emirates NBD’s growth strategy as we continue to explore opportunities in the GCC,” Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim, vice-chairman and managing director at Emirates NBD, said. “Saudi is in the midst of a landmark economic transformation and we look forward to continuing to support Saudi individuals and businesses looking for a trusted banking partner.”

Regional and international financial institutions and banks are keen to establish a presence in Saudi Arabia, as Opec’s top oil producer continues to diversify its economy away from oil. The kingdom’s economic overhaul agenda includes development of local non-oil industries and the sale of some state assets. A booming population in the country and coupled with economic diversification offer growth opportunities for local, regional and international banks.

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Emirates NBD recently renewed its partnership with the kingdom’s Kafalah programme, which aims to promote financing to small and medium-sized enterprises within Saudi Arabia, the lender said.

The bank which is investing heavily in digitisation offers retail, private, business and wholesale banking across its network of three branches in the kingdom. The lender also offers corporate finance advisory, project and syndicated finance through Emirates NBD Capital KSA, the bank’s investment banking arm in the country. The Dubai-headquartered lender also operates in Egypt, India, Singapore, and the UK with representative offices in China and Indonesia.

“Emirates NBD’s expanded network strengthens our offering to individuals and corporates in the kingdom looking to invest and trade across the Mena region and beyond,” Loai Abduljawad, CEO of Emirates NBD in Saudi Arabia. “We continue to support the country’s long-term growth and development goals, as outlined in Saudi Vision 2030.”

The bank is building its presence on the back of growing economic and trade ties between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the two top economies in the region. Following the establishment of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council, the UAE and Saudi Arabia have recently announced The Strategy of Resolve, a joint vision for economic development through 44 joint strategic projects within a five-year time-frame, the bank noted.