Private sector lending exposure of banks in Saudi Arabia reached close to SAR 2 trillion ($533.14 billion) with total assets growing by 6.3 percent in the first nine months of the year to SAR 2.946 trillion, KPMG said in a report. 

Banks recorded a net profit after zakat and tax at SAR 36.28 billion in the third quarter of 2021, up from SAR 32.6 billion in the third quarter of 2020.

Expected Credit Losses (ECL) declined by an average of 18.3 percent to SAR 9.7 billion for the nine-month period. 

The number of physical bank branches also declined by five percent to 2,000, the report said, reflecting efficiencies through digitalisation.

Ovais Shahab, head of financial services, KPMG in Saudi Arabia, said: “In our latest KPMG CEO Outlook, 78 percent of surveyed CEOs in Saudi Arabia pointed to increased demands from stakeholders - including investors, regulators and customers, for enhanced reporting and transparency on ESG issues.

“Growing exposure to global financial markets and heightened attention from ratings agencies have invigorated Saudi banks on their ESG priorities.”

(Writing by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Daniel Luiz)         


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