By Souhail Karam
Alinma had raised $2.8bn in an IPO last year; to compete with 11 Saudi banks & many foreign banks.
Alinma Bankon Saturday opened its first branches in the kingdom, more than a year after raising $2.8bn in an initial public offering, the lender said.
The newly opened branches are located in the capital Riyadh, Jeddah and Taif, the bank said, adding that it will have 15 branches open within two weeks.
The lender will provide Islamic-compliant services.
The bank plans to add another 20 branches before 2011, bank sources said.
The formation of the sharia-compliant lender was ordered by King Abdullah in 2006 at the height of a stock market crash that has destroyed the savings of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Saudis.
Three funds owned by the government of the world's largest oil exporter hold in equal shares 30 percent of
Alinma's 15 billion riyal ($4bn) capital. The remainder is held by the public. The bank raised 10.5 billion riyals in an IPO in April 2008.
Alinmahas said it would give clients credit cards upon opening an account.
Concern over the global financial crisis has further slowed down credit growth as lenders became increasingly cautious. (Reuters)