While Saudi banks reported an average asset growth of 12% in financial year 2019, Al-Rajhi outgrew the rest in the mortgage sector, and has been working hard to boost SMEs in the country. It has been investing heavily in digital, and it stands out as a highly profitable and increasingly modern institution.
“Al-Rajhi’s vast mortgage programme has driven the transformation of the Saudi housing market, dramatically increasing the number of homeowners,” said Euromoney. “Centralizing its mortgage functions and focusing on improving its processing automation enabled the bank to grow its mortgage portfolio by 63%, from SR32 billion ($8.5 billion) in 2018 to SR55 billion in 2019.”
HSBC is the region’s best investment bank. Not only was it the only international bank in the syndicate with capacity to market to local, regional and international investors on the Aramco IPO, but it has also been integral in opening up the region’s capital markets and preparing both Saudi Arabia and Kwuait for index inclusion.
“Diversification and private-sector development are key priorities for Gulf governments, and HSBC has proved itself well placed to deliver,” the magazine observed.
First Abu Dhabi Bank won best bank for financing. As well as financing most of the region’s key deals, it brings intellectual capital with its non-flow business, and is looking to improve its equity capital markets offering after key hires.
National Bank of Bahrain was recognised for its radical transformation from a “solid, old-fashioned retail bank” to a modern, highly digitalized institution that is now finding success serving corporate as well as retail clients.