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Banking perspectives 2021: Saudi Arabia

Needless to say, 2020 was a turbulent year in many respects. The global economy faced novel challenges, and organizations – banks included – were forced to rethink their business models and roles in society. In Saudi Arabia, the government swiftly launched support programs to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic on individuals and local businesses. Within these programs SAMA played a pivotal role, providing guarantees for banks for loan deferrals and other mitigation measures. Banks facilitated the government and SAMA’s financial support mechanisms, while at the same time weathering their own storms though business continuity management systems.

In this report, we share the benchmark industry performance over FY2020 along with articles over  four main themes: Culture and people, Regulatory and compliance, Digital banking, and Evolving environment. In a newly-created opening chapter we discuss the new working reality that resulted from the pandemic, digging into hybrid working models, widened talent pools and digital collaboration tools. As indicated in our recent KPMG CEO Outlook, the pandemic brought a renewed sense of purpose for many executives; we assessed how this trend impacted ESG and diversity and gender inclusion.

In the remaining chapters, we discuss the pertinent issues that banking executives face in today’s world, including evolving cybersecurity threats, regulatory and compliance issues, and assurance needs, along with the challenges and opportunities posed by technology and digital banking – including fintech, tax technology, and what it takes to be digital leader.

We hope you find this edition of Banking perspectives 2021 timely and insightful. Our team looks forward to connect with you to discuss these themes and trends in greater detail.