International banks retreating from the Middle East cleared the way for Arab lenders to take over as the region’s biggest dealmakers in the first half.
Bloomberg News reports that Saudi Arabia’s Samba Capital replaced HSBC as the region’s top syndicated loan arranger in the period, while Standard Chartered dropped to 17th place from second and BNP Paribas slid to 19th from third, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Banks based in the Gulf Cooperation Council nations provided 77% of the loans, their biggest share since Bloomberg began compiling the data in 1999.
While pressure from regulators has forced international banks to sell assets and boost capital reserves, local lenders in the oil-rich region, flush with cash, have driven borrowing rates to the lowest in more than seven years and hired loan arrangers. That’s putting them on a level footing with international banks, said Chris Sutcliffe, head of loan syndication for Standard Chartered in the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan.
'Local competitors have become more aggressive', Sutcliffe said in a telephone interview.
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