His Royal Highness the Deputy Ruler of Dubai Inaugurates Samba Dubai
Eisa Al-Eisa, Managing Director and CEO of Samba Financial Group, formally inaugurated the new Samba head office in Dubai, making Samba the first Saudi bank to establish a full presence in the United Arab Emirates. The launch ceremony was held at the new Samba Dubai head office, followed by a gala dinner at Burj Al-Arab Hotel attended by key UAE dignitaries as well as members of the business community and the media. Al-Eisa thanked His Royal Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoom, Vice-President of the United Arab Emirates and Prime Minister and Governor of Dubai, for granting Samba the opportunity to operate in this very important and promising market and for sending his deputy, His Royal Highness Sheikh Maktoom Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoom, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, to the inauguration of Samba's new Dubai head office. Al-Eisa also expressed his appreciation to His Excellency the Minister of Finance of the UAE and His Excellency the Governor of the UAE Central Bank for their support.
Al-Eisa unveiled Samba's long-standing vision to establish a full presence in the UAE, inspired by the unprecedented growth and exciting opportunities in the Emirates market. He expressed great pride in seeing this vision finally fulfilled. Al-Eisa also praised the strong ties between the UAE and Saudi Arabia as cross-border trade continues to grow especially in travel and tourism, real estate, manufacturing and trading. He cited the increasing number of Emirati firms expanding into Saudi Arabia as well as Saudi companies expanding into the UAE.
Al-Eisa added: "With our premier standing in the industry, we are entering the UAE banking sector with great confidence. This is amply reflected in the ratings upgrades we have received from international ratings agencies including Capital Intelligence, Moody's and Fitch Ratings which recently upgraded Samba's Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to A+ from A."
"In addition, Samba also enjoys a venerable international reputation echoed by independent international award bodies which have made Samba the most internationally awarded financial institution in the region. Samba Financial Group has won over 22 international industry awards in 2007 and 18 awards so far in 2008. This includes being named "Best Bank in Saudi Arabia," "Best Equity Bank in Saudi Arabia," "Best Equity Bank in the Middle East and Africa," "Best Investment House in the Middle East" and much more."
Al-Eisa further said: "Having secured our "house" in Saudi Arabia, we have been moving forward with our vision to expand Samba's presence internationally. In 2007, we acquired a majority stake in Crescent Commercial Bank of Pakistan, now a fully integrated member of the Samba group. Next year, we will be on-the-ground in Qatar, thanks to the Qatari authorities who have granted us a license to operate in their brotherly state. Indeed, we are committed to forge ahead with our vision to reach beyond the borders of Saudi Arabia."
Al-Eisa confirmed that Samba Financial Group will operate as a full-service bank in the UAE, offering a comprehensive range of services including Corporate & Investment Banking, Retail Banking, Private Banking, Treasury and Wealth Management. "We will build a local business for each of these services," said Al-Eisa, "guided by growth which is built on very robust credit control and compliance processes." Shedding more light on Samba's UAE service offering, Al-Eisa said that "in Retail Banking, we have already launched our credit card and personal loan products and created a number of innovative liability products. We aim to offer products designed to suit the local banking needs of the UAE market. In Corporate Banking, we are confident of becoming a significant player in corporate finance and traditional corporate banking products. Indeed, we see a huge opportunity in our ability to provide best-in-class treasury and investment solutions for this customer base. We are known for our passion to deliver superior customer service. This has always been a cornerstone of our business philosophy, and I am sure that this will shape our success in the UAE as well.
Referring to the global financial crisis, Al-Eisa said that "we at Samba have always practiced robust credit control processes. This, along with a prudent and diligent investment selection criteria and, most importantly, a very pro-active portfolio monitoring process - all these have minimized the impact of the current global market turmoil to Samba Financial Group, a fact easily verified from our latest financial statement as of September 30, 2008."
Al-Eisa ended his speech by remarking that "a bright new chapter in the story of Samba is being written now, shaped by our vision and ambitious strategy, overshadowing the uncertainties and turbulence currently buffeting the global financial services industry which we have successfully overcome as we head forth to wider horizons."