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Awards for Excellence 2009: Saudi Arabia

Best Bank: Al Rajhi
Best Investment Bank: HSBC Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is home to Al Rajhi, the Middle East’s biggest bank by market value.

Jeddah-based National Commercial Bank, which is unlisted and in line for privatization, has the largest share of Saudi banking assets. This year, however, the state-owned lender’s profits fell by about two-thirds. Al Rajhi’s Riyadh-based rival Samba similarly saw profits fall 7.7% last year.

Almost all banks in Saudi Arabia were hit by the 2008 local stock market crash, as well as the decline in sentiment that accompanied the oil-price crash last year.

But some have been hit harder than others, and some, such as Samba, were also more exposed to the falling value of investments in international markets.

Compared with other banks in Saudi Arabia, Al Rajhi has an unusually high loan-to-deposit ratio.