By Staff writer
Industry body said to deny Saudi banks were warned against lending to expats
Reports that Saudi Arabia’s central bank had issued a directive asking banks to stop offering loans to expats amid nationwide austerity cuts have been dismissed, according to local media.
An official from the kingdom’s banking awareness committee told Saudi Gazette that the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) had “nothing to do” with individual banks’ lending decisions and issued no such circular.
Saudi Gazette said it understood banks had been warned against offering loans to expats, regardless of their income.
However, the newspaper did not provide details of the origin of its information. It quoted Talaat Hafiz, secretary-general of banking lobby group the Media and Banking Awareness Committee, as saying such reports were untrue.
“SAMA has nothing to do with [the] decision by banks to stop offering loans to expatriates. Such decisions are internal moves by individual banks. SAMA did not issue anything in this regard,” Hafiz said.
He added: “Each bank has his own criteria to offer a loan and each client will be assessed by the credit department. Most banks require non-Saudi clients to have a minimum salary of SR8,000 [$2,133) to be eligible to obtain a loan.”