Is this ture?
KARACHI: In the words of one of the leading American bank's own website that claim it never goes to sleep, the news is that the bank is all set to go to sleep in Pakistan very soon!
The Financial Daily has learnt on good authority that despite all the 'power and convenience ' it used to bank upon in Pakistan, the big bank has lost so much in the ongoing global financial meltdown that all its operations in Pakistan will soon be taken over by Samba Bank owned by the Samba Financial Group (SFG) of Saudi Arabia.
Sources in Islamabad told TFD that the recent meetings of Prime Minister's Advisor on Finance Shaukat Tareen with senior Samba executives were also related to matters needing sorting out to streamline the process of takeover for Samba Bank in Pakistan. Tareen is in Saudi Arabia as part of the President's state delegation although he did arrive in the kingdom one day before the official visit owing to heavy workload entailing complex negotiations.
Unconfirmed Samba-grapevine reports claim the Samba Financial Group may also takeover the troubled international bank globally as well, however, no one was willing to comment when TFD contacted local Samba sources for confirmation.
Samba Financial Group (formerly known as The Saudi American Bank), is a large banking firm in Saudi Arabia. The combined institution has 66 branches in the Kingdom, and a branch each in London and Dubai, as well as a subsidiary in Pakistan, which has 28 branches across major cities in Pakistan.
Sources in banking circles hold that this is a remarkable achievement only five years after the transition of SFG from the languishing lender's management. Executives said the takeover of US bank's operations in Pakistan was leveraged from abroad as the Pakistani operations of prestigious bank have been stable and profitable. However, the local staff has been dreading being axed following global losses and has been cutting petty costs like canceling plant rentals to show efficiency!
The takeover will release them from their current anxieties for the SFG will restore confidence by virtue of its royal Saudi patronage! Saudi Arab has already established itself as a global financial power with prudent savings and opportune investments in strategic assets. One rare measure of the financial strength of the kingdom was afforded to the world by Senator McCain and President-elect Obama in their last televised debate. The Republican said he was not happy at the state of the US economy as reflected in a loan of $500billion that the country had been forced to seek from China. Democratic Obama one-upped his opponent by correcting him that the sum borrowed was "$700 billion John, not 500." And then he proceeded to inform that "we needed it to pay pack the Saudis"! The Samba Bank also recently took over Crescent Bank, positioning itself strategically for a serious slice of the existing and emerging banking markets in Pakistan and beyond. The acquisition of the American bank in Pakistan would make it the richest and most powerful foreign bank in the country. With the takeover Samba would continue its role of taking over American financial assets. Samba Financial Group was formed through a royal decree dated in 1980 to take over the then existing branches of the same bank in Riyadh and Jeddah. This takeover would again prove that Pakistan remains a "Cash Magnet", as the Saudis are positively interested in investing in Pakistan. Pakistan's banking sector has more than doubled in total assets over the past five years to nearly Rs5 trillion ($78 billion), central bank data shows.