Saudi banks post 17.3% rise in profits

March 1, 2009

Banks in Saudi Arabia have posted a 17.3 percent increase in net profit in the last quarter of last year, bucking the international banking trend for losses, Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) reported Saturday.
 

SAMA reported that the country’s commercial banks overall profit increase was worth SR4.4 billion [$1.173 billion] over last’s SR 29.9 billion [$7.97 billion], despite the global economic crisis. However, the banks witnessed a 1.1 percent drop in annual average growth rate, according to a report published today by the Saudi Gazette.

The banks saw a rise of SR290 million [$77.3 million] in the capital and reserves and the percentage of capital and reserves plus customer deposits rose to 15.6 percent against 14.8 percent in the same period of 2007. The average annual growth of the capital and reserves accounted for SR25.8 billion [$6.88 billion] (24.3 percent), the report added.

Opening up “express service” centers also generated increased business in terms of money transfers a trend that SAMA expected would continue as e-banking became more popular for salary payments and between individuals. Express service business increased by SR5.86 billion [$1.51 billion] - with SR5.6 billion [$1.49 billion] coming from transfers between individuals and SR191 billion [$50.93 billion) through group payments. Meanwhile, online transactions made through ATMs machines during Q4 2008 was SR207.8 million [$55.41 million]. These included transactions through banks and the Saudi Payments Network for a total of SR90.6 billion [$24.16 billion].