Awards for Excellence 2008: Saudi Arabia
Best bank and best equity house: Samba
Best debt house: HSBC Saudi Arabia
Best M&A house: Citi
Perhaps the most exciting story in Saudi banking is Al Rajhi’s conversion from an Islamic retail operation to a wholesale financial institution with corporate and investment banking added to its armoury. The decision to develop the wholesale banking business has not been taken lightly: it has taken Al Rajhi almost 50 years to change its model.
Already it has started to win business, especially in project finance and corporate lending. It hopes to become a force in the capital markets too. If it does, it could prove to be the outstanding competitor to Samba, which remains, for the time being, the leading bank in the Kingdom.
Last year proved to be a difficult one for many of Saudi Arabia’s leading banks.