Saudi National Bank, this is how the Saudi bank has grown and today it is the main shareholder of Credit Suisse- Corriere.it
Its current name dates back to April 2021. But the Saudi National Bank - 37% owned by the Saudi kingdom's sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (Pif), became the main shareholder of Credit Suisse at the end of last year after acquiring a 9.9% stake — has a history that dates back to the oil boom of the 1950s and the early stages of modernization of the Saudi kingdom following the Second World War. The bank was founded in 1953 under the name of National Commercial Bank and the main commercial bank of Saudi Arabia.
However, the institution's ambitions go beyond the provision of credit to even the most grandiose development projects in the Arabian Peninsula or the normal functioning of the Saudi economy. The turning point with the greatest recent impact dates back to the mega-merger carried out in April 2021 with Samba Financial Group, a banking group born in 1980 following the nationalization of Citibank's Jeddah and Riyadh branches after the government had imposed foreign banks that the majority stake in the capital of the banks was 60% of Saudi nationals and capital. The operation, one of the largest mergers ever carried out in a Middle Eastern country, had a value of 15 billion dollars and following the unification of the two institutions, the new group took on the current name of Saudi National Bank, a institution with over 13,000 employees, a direct presence in 8 countries outside Saudi Arabia and total assets of over $251 billion at the end of December 2022.
Also following this operation Saudi National Bank became the main financial group in Saudi Arabia and one of the main ones in the region. The bank, based in Riyadh and, as we have seen, majority-owned by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund and other public organizations, carries out a vital role in the modernization of the Saudi banking sector and an essential part of the Vision 2030 project launched by Prince Mohammad Bin Salman who leads the country. As a result always present with a leadership role in all major infrastructure projects launched by the monarch. Moreover, the modernization of the institute had begun well before the merger with Samba Bank and had undergone a launch of fundamental importance for the opening to the international capital market with the listing of the share, which took place in 2014. The IPO involved a share minority, equal to 15% of the capital (a further 10% was placed with institutional investors) but this operation too is part of the government's desire for development and modernization of the capital market and the country, which had the listing of Aramco, the Saudi oil company that went on the market in December 2021, in what is considered the largest IPO in history, for a total capitalization (at the time) of over 1,700 billion dollars. Today with 1.85 billion dollars, Aramco is the third largest company in the world by capitalization.
in this framework of ambitious development of the real and financial economy that Saudi National Bank assumed at the end of 2022 a majority stake in one of the banking groups that belong to the Gotha of Western and European finance, Credit Suisse. The refusal to inject new capital after the increase of 4 billion Swiss francs decided last December reflects, on the one hand, the Swiss regulatory limits to the growth of Saudi National Bank's stake in the capital of the second largest Swiss institution, but a more general redesign of the holdings of the group, given that the main vehicle of Saudi investments in the world continues to be the sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund.