The Saudi National Bank posted first-quarter net profit of $ 909 million in its first earnings season, marking Saudi Arabia’s entry into the fray among the so-called national champion banks of the Cooperation Council of the Gulf.
The Saudi National Bank, or SNB, was created by a merger between the National Commercial Bank and the Samba Financial Group which created a larger entity with more presence in the business banking segment.
There have been numerous banking transactions in the GCC since 2014, giving rise to large, predominantly public lenders such as SNB and First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC. First Abu Dhabi Bank, or FAB, the UAE’s largest lender by assets, was formed in 2017 when First Gulf Bank and National Bank of Abu Dhabi were combined amid a wave of mergers and acquisitions in the Gulf Cooperation Council. FAB is the UAE’s response to the Middle East’s largest bank in terms of assets, Qatar National Bank QPSC or QNB.
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QNB’s first-quarter net profit topped SNB’s by around $ 1 million, but in terms of total assets, the Qatari lender outperforms its Saudi counterpart, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. QNB has total assets of $ 286 billion compared to $ 256 billion for FAB and $ 160 billion for SNB. With net loans of $ 198 billion, QNB’s loan portfolio is roughly twice that of FAB and SNB.
Sovereign wealth funds are the main shareholders of QNB and the SNB. the Qatar Investment Authority is the majority shareholder of QNB, with a 50% stake, while the The Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund owns around 37% of the outstanding shares of the SNB. The main shareholder of FAB is the Abu Dhabi Investment Council, with a 37% stake.