National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) is to hire hundreds of staff and open new branches in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
The largest lender in Kuwait plans to target growth in the region’s biggest markets, including expansion into Riyadh and Dammam, with new branches planned for both cities by the end of 2018, Bloomberg News reported.
The bank’s Egyptian unit aims to have 60 branches open by 2020, up from 43 currently, with four to five expected to be operational next year.
“We started focusing our regional growth on more stable markets in the Middle East, namely GCC countries — Saudi Arabia and the UAE — in addition to Egypt,” CEO Isam Al-Sager said in an interview with Bloomberg. He added: “We have one operating branch in Saudi Arabia and just received required approvals to open two more branches in the Kingdom.”
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According to NBK’s Yasser Hassan, the bank’s managing director, its Egyptian operation NBK Egypt forecasts 20 percent growth in loans in 2018 due to an expected decline in interest rates and a recovery in economic growth. A large chunk of that growth will come from lending to small businesses.
NBK is also considering opening branches in India and Germany, according to George Richani, CEO of NBK’s International Banking Group.
In October, NBK said third-quarter profit advanced 7.3 percent, boosted by net interest income and income from Islamic financing.
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