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Saudi Arabia

Best bank
Saudi British Bank Best debt house

Arab National Bank has achieved stellar growth over the past 12 months, more so than any of its competitors. But it is Saudi British Bank that wins the award for best bank in Saudi Arabia, for the second year in a row.

Saudi British, which achieved growth that was good though not as impressive as Arab National Bank, wins because it has a stronger product offering across key business lines such as treasury, foreign exchange, and cash management than Arab National Bank, as well as a strong corporate franchise.

Samba, until recently a clear leader, is still recovering from a poor performance in 2003.

In May 2004 Citigroup made the unusual move of selling its 20% stake in the bank and leaving the country entirely after nearly 50 years.

The move has raised eyebrows for a number of reasons. The Saudi banking sector is very lucrative and is in the process of liberalization.

Foreign banks have been keen to break into the Saudi market for years and in June the government issued new licences for foreign banks for the first time in decades, to BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, and JPMorgan.

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