By Innovation-sa on January 2, 2019 in News

Saudi Arabia’s biggest lender by assets, the National Commercial Bank (NCB), started preliminary merger talks with smaller rival Riyad Bank, eyeing a deal that would create an entity with $182 billion in assets.

The deal comes two months after the first major tie-up of the country’s banking sector in recent times between Saudi British Bank (SABB) and Alawwal Bank to create the Kingdom’s third-biggest lender. The planned merger will bring added value to the national economy as well as the local banking sector, cited Talaat Hafez, Secretary-General of the Media and Banking Awareness Committee of Saudi Banks.

NCB clarified that any agreement would be subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals, and there would be no forced dismissal of staff. The Public Investment Fund (PIF), which owns stakes in some of the biggest lenders, is exploring potential mergers to boost its financial services industry. PIF owns about 44 percent of NCB and 22 percent of Riyad Bank.