Global changes, local opportunities

In recent years, the banking industry experienced a wave of innovations driven by digital disruption and evolving customer expectations. The drivers of change are still relentless and spreading to avenues that were never expected in an industry founded on trust, complexity, privacy, and close vaults. Digital disruption and open banking are redefining these terms in a very different way.

In this newest edition of our annual flagship publication on the banking industry, we explore some of the most profound evolutions in global banking that are providing grounds for market participants in Saudi Arabia to grow. They can do so if they are agile, innovative and well-capitalized.

We have attempted to cover the changes in the global banking landscape following the increasing interest rate environment that sparked recessions in some major economies, as well as impactful innovations that are reshaping opportunities for banks in the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia remains one of the fastest growing economies in the world and has a vast plan of diversification of its revenue streams, offering opportunities for banks to take relatively risk-free exposures on long-term public and private sector projects.

Awareness of global developments and strong domestic demand for financing are prerequisites for sustainable growth of the banking industry in the Kingdom. Market participants need to cater to fast-paced changes in customer demands and inhibit agility. This also requires close coordination with the regulators.

On the operational side, change and its drivers are all around us. Take digitization as example: the growing desire by consumers to access financial services from digital channels has led to a surge in new banking technologies that are reconceptualizing banking. With an initial first wave of fintech-led innovation under way, rolling in the new digital economy, customer-centricity, and greater convenience for end-users. Followed by a second wave of applications and solutions focused on solving and supporting major global transitions, like the demographic impact on productivity, achieving a low carbon economy, and automation.

And the biggest change-the one caused by change itself and the one the most bearing on the industry: regulation. As the pace of change increases, so too must the application and enforcement of rules and regulations to govern that change. Big change demands more regulation.

Any period of dynamic change presents challenges and uncertainties about the future. Our team is here to provide you with a confident navigation of the waters ahead, and we look forward to connecting with you to discuss further the themes covered in this edition.

Financial performance indicates continued strong performance. The financial results of the banking sector for FY2022 reflect a robust industry performance, particularly highlighted by an increase in net profit by circa 28% as compared to FY2021, and with a total assets growth of 11.5% since 31 December 2021.