Saudi banks building on long-term loan portfolio; demand deposits grow

Short-term credit grew by 13 percent

Saudi riyal. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Saudi riyal. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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MOSCOW/RIYADH: The long-term portion of the credit provided by Saudi banks to the private and public sector continues to account for a greater share than short-term credit, Saudi Central Bank data showed.

The long-term credit made up of loans, advances, and discounted bills has risen at a much faster rate than short-term credit since the pre-pandemic period.

Bank total long-term credit amounted to SR971.3 billion at the end of September 2021 and experienced a growth rate of 70 percent from September 2019.

Short-term credit grew by 13 percent to SR791.3 billion from SR699 billion over the same period.

Making long-term credit increasingly available for businesses and individuals bodes well for the economic conditions of companies and households as it helps them manage funds for longer projects.

However, SAMA as a regulator requires commercial banks to comply with certain ratios showing the maturity of their assets relative to that of their liabilities.

In this regard, Saudi bank liabilities are still dominated by demand deposits, with their share in total deposits at the end of September 2021 unchanged from September 2019 at 64 percent.

Demand deposits grew at a rate of 21 percent compared to a 7-percent increase in time and saving deposits over the same period.

Growth in time and saving deposits was driven by government entities as their contribution to total time and saving deposits rose to 50 percent from 38 percent at the end of September 2019.

The share of the private sector — businesses and individuals — dropped from 62 percent to 50 percent, respectively.

In April 2018, Saudi Central Bank modified the loan-to-deposit calculation methodology as it “placed higher weights for longer-term deposits to encourage banks to introduce savings products.”

The ratio saw an increase to 0.8 at the end of September 2021 from 0.75 at the end of the same month a year ago but marked just a marginal increase from 0.79 at the end of September 2019.

As for personal loans, their maturity profile suggests a more positive picture. According to SAMA definition, these loans comprise consumer loans provided to individuals to finance non-commercial personal and consumer needs other than real estate as well as card loans. (Personal loans = Consumer loans + Card loans)

For this credit category (personal loans), the share of long-term loans grew by 40 percent at the end of September 2021 from the same month of 2019 whereas loans with short maturities witnessed only 14-percent growth.

As a result, the share of long-term credit in banks' total personal loans increased to 50 percent from 45 percent at the end of September 2019.

At the end of September 2021, personal loans accounted for 21 percent of total credit provided by Saudi banks to private and public sectors, data compiled by Arab News from the most recent monthly statistical bulletin published by Saudi Central Bank showed.

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