For the last ten years the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been one of the largest sources of remittances in the world. According to the World Bank, 308 million dollars were sent into the KSA, and 37 billion dollars in remittances were sent from the country in 2016.
This massive market is primarily comprised of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia citizens and foreign workers who in 2018 numbered over 10 million. Additionally, both large corporates and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are responsible for significant payment volume. SMEs in particular have been highlighted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia government as crucial for future economic growth. Today these groups are served primarily by domestic financial institutions.
Following Ripple’s recent pilot with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, the National Commercial Bank (NCB) has joined RippleNet. NCB was the first bank established in the country; today, it’s one of the largest financial institutions in the Middle East with more than 5.4 million customers worldwide.
NCB will connect to other financial institutions around the world through RippleNet. Ripple’s blockchain technology also provides their customers with faster and more transparent international payment services. The bank will first connect to financial institutions in North America and Asia, starting in Singapore. Launching these two critical payments corridors out of the gate offers immediate value to NCB’s customers — services in regions that they have not had access to before.
Since its foundation in 1953, NCB has been a financial leader in the country and region, serving both people residing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and across the world. Today they have 400 branches across the country and are the second largest bank in the Middle East by total assets. Their decision to join RippleNet is an innovative step forward in blockchain adoption in both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and across the Middle East.
NCB will be in production on RippleNet by the end of Q4 2018.