Saudi Arabia is planning to allow the operation of more foreign banks in a bid to boost the domestic economy through project funding and other activities, according to the Gulf Kingdom's central bank.
The world's largest oil exporter continues to receive applications for the licensing of new foreign banks in line with its ambitious economic diversification plan dubbed "Vision2030," said Fahd Al-Shatri, Deputy Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency "SAMA" (central bank).
"SAMA is quite open regarding the operation of new banks in Saudi Arabia...there is a plan to increase the number of banks in the Kingdom to serve its massive economy through project finance and other activities in line with Vision 2030," Shatri told the Saudi Arabic language daily Aliqtisadia.
He said SAMA is supervising the merger of the National Commercial Bank and the Saudi American Bank (SAMBA), adding that it would create the region's largest banking unit that will support the private sector and local economic activities.
The two banks, already among the largest in the Gulf, had combined assets of around $223 billion at the end of June, accounting for nearly 32 percent of the total assets of the Saudi banking sector of nearly $701 billion, he added.
(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)
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