May 4, 2017 / 8:06 AM / 3 months ago

Saudi central bank chief: doesn't see more bank mergers in pipeline

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RIYADH, May 4 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's central bank governor Ahmed al-Kholifey said on Thursday that he did not see more bank mergers looming, after Alawwal Bank and Saudi British Bank agreed last week to start talks on a possible merger.

"I don't see any in the pipeline," Kholifey told reporters.

Reuters reported in March that French bank Credit Agricole had picked JPMorgan to advise it on a potential sale of its 31 percent stake in Banque Saudi Fransi. Kholifey said on Thursday that he had met with Credit Agricole officials but had not received a request for approval from them to sell the stake.

Kholifey also said the central bank had an open policy on foreign banks seeking to open new branches in Saudi Arabia, signalling that in principle authorities were willing to entertain applications. (Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Writing by Andrew Torchia)

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