Samba Financial Group - Saudi Arabia

As Saudi Arabia’s second-largest bank by market value, Samba Financial Group is a banking heavyweight with a solid presence in Europe, the Middle East and South Asia. It holds 66 branches across the Kingdom, with branches in London, Dubai and Pakistan.

The finance house has proved robust even in the credit crunch, posting a net income of $1.20bn in 2008 and buoying recent rallies on the Saudi stock market.

In the fourth quarter the lender also secured a licence to offer its financial services in India, paving the way to broaden Samba’s Asia operations. The bank has held a 68 percent stake in Pakistani lender Crescent Commercial since 2007, and has since renamed it Samba Bank.

Samba Financial Group was established in 1980 with the takeover of Citibank branches in Jeddah and Riyadh. The move followed a federal ruling that required foreign banks to sell 60 percent of their share capital to Saudi nationals.