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Oman: Omani bank Sohar International has successfully secured approval from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) for its expansion into the Saudi market. This development is expected to pave the way for other Omani firms eyeing Saudi expansion, streamlining their entry into a thriving market. Sohar International, the second-largest bank in Oman, strategically positions itself in the Saudi market as a major player in the region, providing valuable opportunities for Omani corporates aiming to venture into the oil-rich country.

Sohar International’s CEO, Ahmed Al-Musalmi, stated, “This underscores the nation’s economic strength, resilience, and its pioneering take on strategic financial initiatives”. Moreover, he added, “At the core of the bank’s strategic expansion lies a synthesis of personalized, customer-focused offerings and avant-garde services. These form the linchpin of the bank’s overarching strategy, aiming not only for growth but also for the sustained enhancement of the customer experience in an ever-evolving financial landscape”.

This commitment to innovation aims to equip Omani entrepreneurs with advanced tools, ensuring they stay ahead of market trends.

The expansion also aligns with broader initiatives within the Saudi financial sector, as highlighted by SAMA’s efforts to strengthen the Kingdom’s finance sector. Furthermore, the central bank is actively prioritizing fintech licensing, an important step toward achieving the goals set in Saudi Arabia’s Financial Development Sector Strategy aligned with Vision 2030.

In this context, SAMA has granted licenses to several fintech firms, with the ambitious goal of elevating the total number of operational fintech companies to 150 by the end of 2023 and further expanding to 525 by 2030.

This strategic move by Sohar International marks a significant expansion for the bank as well as contributes to the broader narrative of economic collaboration and growth between Oman and Saudi Arabia.