The Banker magazine selected the Saudi American Bank (SAMBA) as the Bank of the Year in the Middle East for 2000. The magazine said the merger between Samba and United Saudi Bank not only formed the most profitable and one of the largest banks in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, but also created a dynamic institution that rapidly started developing new products and producing better results.
The new SAMBA is already reaping the benefits of the merger even though it only took place in July 1999. Profits for the first six months of the year reached $262 million, a record for a Saudi bank and up 12 perfect on the last six months of the previous year. Operating expenses fell by 8 percent, giving an efficiency ratio of more than 67 percent.
The bank has assets of more than $20 billion, an equity base of more than $2 billion and operating profits approaching $500 million. According to the Banker, SAMBA has also won a reputation for innovation—being the first bank in Saudi Arabia to offer priority and phone banking, a dedicated investment department and a local equity fund.
Further, its London-based subsidiary Samba Capital Management International is viewed as a world class institution and the best among the region’s banking institutions with $3 billion in assets under management and strong capability in providing tailored Islamic investment products.
SAMBA is partly owned by Citigoup, the largest and most profitable financial institution in the world.— ( Lebanon Invest )