Credit Suisse Gets Saudi Arabia License as Access Becomes Easier

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia is speeding up the process to allow more global banks to operate in the oil-rich kingdom, the central bank governor said, after Credit Suisse Group AG received a license.

"The last three licenses, one of which today was announced by the minister of finance, took less than a month," Ahmed Alkholifey said at a financial conference in Riyadh. “There is a change, a quick change really taking place when it comes to licensing. We are opening the system more and more."

Earlier Wednesday, Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan the council of ministers approved granting a banking license for Credit Suisse Group AG. The Swiss lender will join competitors such as Citigroup Inc. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and HSBC Holdings Plc in expanding into the the country, which is saw some of the world’s biggest deals this year.

“The incoming new players from international banks come after opportunities because they know there are huge projects taking place," Alkholifey said. He also said at present there are no more requests for mergers in the banking sector.

National Commercial Bank, Saudi Arabia’s biggest lender, started initial talks with Riyad Bank for a merger in December, while Saudi British Bank and Alawwal Bank are in the process of combining.

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