Saudi financial services key to supporting economy, businesses: experts

The financial services sector in Saudi Arabia has been vital in supporting SMEs and the economy as the kingdom recovers from the impact of COVID-19, experts said.

The topic was discussed at a webinar hosted by Forbes Middle East in partnership with Oracle.

"What has helped us is the strong economy, the strong reserve we have, and also the liquidity within banks,” Talat Hafiz, Secretary General Media & Banking Awareness Committee of Saudi Banks said at the webinar.

The government and institutions in the kingdom have been quick to roll out stimulus packages as relief measures to support businesses and prop up the economy. (Read more here)

According to the webinar, model and scenario planning have also played a significant role in the sector’s readiness to face the pandemic and some banks are revisiting and updating scenarios on a bi-weekly basis to better understand multiple possibilities.

"We must have model-informed conversations, not model-led conversations. What matters is how well you prepare before going into a crisis," Mathew Pearce, CFO at Saudi British Bank said.

In order to continue to survive during and after the pandemic, banks need to shift their focus to customer experience and digital banking according to the webinar.

"Moving forward, we will pay more attention to technology. We have a generation who is very keen on technology," Hisham Al-Akil, CFO at Bank Albilad said.




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