Islamic finance awards 2008: Best Islamic bank in the Middle East
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BANKING

Islamic finance awards 2008: Best Islamic bank in the Middle East

Al Rajhi Bank


As a retail operation, Al Rajhi Bank is already one of the leading Islamic banks. It is the world’s largest Islamic lender and had assets worth $33 billion at the end of September 2007. Now, though, it is adding corporate and investment banking to its armoury and is becoming a force to be reckoned with across all products. The decision to develop a wholesale banking business has not been taken lightly: it has taken Al Rajhi almost 50 years to change its model.

Abdullah Sulaiman Al Rajhi (right), chief executive of the world’s largest Islamic lender

Abdullah Sulaiman Al Rajhi (right), chief executive of the world’s largest Islamic lender

Throughout the past year, Al Rajhi has been building the relevant teams and is starting to win business. At the beginning of 2008 the bank won a $450 million financing facility for Saudi Telecom, the Kingdom’s biggest phone company. The transaction is a 10-year term financing and will help the Saudi company fund an investment in Malaysia’s Maxis Communications. The bank also hopes to become a force in equities, says Dinos Constantinides, general manager for strategy.
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