Bank mergers are progressing across the rest of the Middle East/Bloombergby Bloomberg
HSBC Holdings’ affiliate in Saudi Arabia is ready to ‘compete aggressively’ to regain market share in corporate lending following the acquisition of Alawwal Bank.
David Dew, SABB ’s Managing Director, said, “We have no appetite whatsoever to continue to lose market share, for SABB, margins as a whole have peaked for this particular interest rate cycle and are now on a downward trend.”
The lender also plans to boost mortgages this year, easing its so far conservative approach to home loans, said Dew. Mortgages in Saudi Arabia are soaring as the government seeks to grow homeownership. According to the Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority, the number of home loans in the Kingdom rose almost threefold in 2019 from a year earlier.
“We’re looking to move our risk appetite to some extent, it’s unlikely to go fully in line with where the overall market seems to be, but we do expect to see some mortgage growth in SABB in 2020,” added Dew.
The acquisition of Alawwal Bank is a rare example of consolidation in the Kingdom’s banking sector, even as bank mergers progress across the rest of the Middle East.