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SABB Annual Report
Film 2020
Our legal merger Explore our new branch


SABB and Alawwal Bank merged in 2019, and the compelling rationale for the merger created many opportunities for the Bank, its customers and staff. The merger created a broader institution, with greater scale, and an increased balance sheet and levels of capital to position us well for the economic opportunities of Vision 2030.

Since the legal merger and notably during 2020, we have made significant progress with our integration plan. The Corporate and Institutional business enters 2021 operating as a single bank, having substantially completed its integration. The Retail business will soon complete its customer data integration, referred to as Customer Day 1, in the first quarter of 2021. Following this, we will be one harmonised bank, with one branch network, one IT system, one website and a shared culture. We have achieved this by working collaboratively across the Bank and with a range of industry experts. With the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, we adapted to achieve much of this work remotely. As we approach Customer Day 1 and transition to a fully integrated organisation, the Board approved ‘Strategy 2025’ in the fourth quarter, which provides our new institution with the roadmap to deliver on the growth aspirations of Vision 2030.

Head office integration



staff co-located – co-location complete


attendance at culture workshops – culture harmonised


customer migration substantially complete

SAR 0.6 bln

annualised synergies achieved up to the end of 2020

Merger-related expenses – in line with


4,000 tasks

since Legal Day 1

26 hybrid branches


Online merger hub


At a

1 Excludes goodwill impairment and associated tax impact


Underlying return on tangible equity

SAR (2.01)



CET1 ratio


Total Capital Adequacy ratio

1.7 mln

retail customers


corporate customers


Mortgage market share


Trade market share


FX market share

Top 3

corporate bank by revenue


POS market share

in Review

Responding to COVID-19

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a profoundly challenging year for the Kingdom, its banking sector and economy. We experienced periods of lockdown, global benchmark interest rates fell, and the price of oil turned negative as the global economic outlook worsened.

SABB’s response was direct and swift, to maintain critical services and support stakeholders while keeping customers and staff safe. We implemented stringent health and safety policies in line with regulations set by the local authorities, and at the same time significantly upgraded stress testing activity to position the Bank to navigate worst-case-scenario conditions. Operational resilience was crucial, and our business continuity protocols proved their value throughout the crisis – particularly as staff transitioned to remote working.

Together with the Ministry of Health and guidance from SAMA, we flexed our branch network to avoid unnecessary visits and reduce the risk of spreading the virus. We provided staff working in branches with the necessary protective equipment, and non-branch staff were provided with the tools to work from home where processes allowed. SABB regularly reviews its business continuity plans and continues to deliver operational excellence throughout this challenging time.

JAN 2020
  • Completed HR system integration
  • Commenced cultural evolution workshops
Business as usual
  • SABB was recognised by Euromoney as ‘Best Service Trade Finance’ in Saudi Arabia and as ‘Market Leader Trade Finance’ for 2020
  • Ministry of Labor and Social Development honoured SABB for its contributions to support orphans in the Kingdom
FEB 2020

Consolidated cash centres for the Eastern province

Business as usual
  • KAUST and SABB launched the fourth TAQADAM Accelerator Programme for Young Entrepreneurs
MAR 2020
APR 2020
  • Finalised the end-state organisation structure
Business as usual
  • SABB completed first phase with ‘Wethaq’ to automate bank guarantee services
MAY 2020
JUNE 2020
  • Celebrated the first anniversary of the legal merger
  • The Bank completed the co-location of SABB and Alawwal Bank staff in the Eastern province
Business as usual
  • SABB issued SAR 5 billion Tier II Sukuk - the first such transaction by the merged bank in the debt capital market, the joint largest Tier II issuance by a Saudi bank in history, and the largest local issuance by a bank since the introduction of the Kingdom’s national growth agenda under Vision 2030
  • SABB joined the Securities Clearing Center Company (‘Muqassa’) as a General Clearing Member
JUL 2020
Business as usual
  • SABB’s revolutionary ‘Waafer’ savings account was voted product of the year by consumers
AUG 2020
Business as usual
  • SABB won ‘Best Bank App in the Kingdom’ and ‘Best Bank in Saudi Arabia for 2020’ awards from Global Finance magazine
SEP 2020
  • The Bank completed the colocation of SABB and Alawwal Bank staff in the Central, and Western provinces
  • Relaunched virtual cultural evolution workshops
  • Completed the migration of static Corporate customer data
Business as usual
  • SABB continued its efforts in supporting the elderly by providing medical care in the Kingdom
  • KAUST and SABB doubled grant funding for each start-up to SAR 150,000 and doubled the number of start-ups accepted to the TAQADAM programme
OCT 2020
  • Completed data centre expansion
  • SABB commenced the semi-automated migration of Corporate customers
Business as usual
  • SABB signed supply chain financing agreement with the Ministry of Finance
  • SABB participated as a platinum sponsor at the 8th Annual Saudi Trade Finance Summit
NOV 2020
  • SABB launched its ‘Merger hub’ to support Alawwal Bank customers with the transition to the merged bank.
  • Process began to combine SABB and Alawwal Bank ATMs into a larger network for all customers
Business as usual
  • King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) announced the signing of a cooperation agreement with SABB, which aims to provide various Shariah- Compliant financing solutions from SABB for clients who wish to benefit from the housing offers and purchase ready-made housing units in the residential neighbourhoods of the Economic City, by the terms and financing criteria approved by the Bank
DEC 2020
  • SABB completed the successful migration of 2,300 corporate customers delivered through cross-business, crossfunction and cross-product teams


Ms. Lubna S. Olayan

Board Chair

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Mr. David Dew

Managing Director

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Mr. Mathew Pearce

Chief Financial Officer

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The strategy looks to build further on our traditional focuses and areas of strength but also looks to expand in those target areas which complement the Vision 2030 plan.

During 2020, the Board embarked on a detailed review of the go-forward strategy and the steps that need to be taken. The new strategy will enable SABB to build on our market share, improve financial performance and see a return to top tier performance on key ratios while supporting and benefitting from the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 economic transformation programme. The strategy gained Board support at the end of 2020 and we look forward to sharing our detailed vision and targets for the medium-term in 2021.


We bring a world of financial opportunities to an ambitious Kingdom

Best in class universal banking serving all customer groups in the Kingdom

Be the leading international bank in the Kingdom, accessing an unrivalled global network through HSBC

Offer a leading online and mobile digital banking experience

The best place to work

The steps
we will take

Build on our core strengths

  • Bank of choice for Large Corporates
  • Reinforce leadership in Trade and Payments
  • Maintain leadership in Wealth
  • Reinforce our position in Cards

Maximise our participation in key growth areas

  • Fastest growing Mid-Corporate business
  • Digital SME focus
  • Mortgage expansion through REDF

Transform the organisation

  • Lead in digital innovation and evolve the IT architecture
  • Transforming HR and developing the right talent
  • Revamp operating model through automation and digitisation


Increase Return on Tangible Equity (RoTE) and Earnings per Share (EPS)

Improve Cost to Income ratio (CER)

Maintain strong Capital and Liquidity

Maintain Dividend payout


1. Leading international bank in the Kingdom

Our institution has developed into the leading international bank in the Kingdom through a deep understanding of the needs of our customers and a bespoke product suite that delivers intrinsic value. Our unique partnership with HSBC Group enables us to bring international connectivity to our customer base and aligns our approach with global best practice. We are the ‘go-to’ bank for inbound and outbound multinational corporates and institutions operating into or from Saudi Arabia, and the number one bank in the Kingdom for trade.

2. Increased scale to support Vision 2030 growth aspirations

The Kingdom is navigating its path through undoubtedly its biggest economic transformation programme, bringing a wealth of opportunity to every family and enterprise domestically, but also playing to international opportunities. SABB, following its merger with Alawwal Bank, created a top tier banking institution. Through its robust balance sheet and market-leading suite of products, the Bank possesses the scale and capability to support such an ambitious programme.

3. Financial strength

Historically, we have delivered top tier financial performance from a strong balance sheet, robust funding and liquidity dynamics, and a solid capital position. Following the merger with Alawwal Bank, we have taken the necessary steps to protect our balance sheet and conservatively manage the provisioning of our portfolio. We are in a position of strength to meet the demands of our customers.

4. Positioned for growth

Integration has been a key focus for the Bank in 2020, following the landmark merger in 2019 between SABB and Alawwal Bank. Integration continues at pace and extracting the synergies for the combined organisation remains on track. We are suitably positioned for growth and ready to begin the journey of ‘Strategy 2025’ – our ambitious growth plan – which we will provide further details on during 2021.

5. We are safe, sustainable and dependable

A robust approach to corporate governance is a key strength for any organisation and SABB ensures it adopts best practices in this field to create value for all the Bank’s stakeholders. The Board sets the Bank’s strategy and risk appetite with the aim of achieving sustainable value and promoting a culture of openness and debate. Our Board brings a successful balance of international banking best practices, together with local, commercial and institutional insight and experience.Our business decisions are made in the interests of all concerned stakeholders and we will always act responsibly and in a sustainable manner.



  • Creation of a stronger franchise with significant potential for material synergies
  • EPS accretive for both SABB and Alawwal Bank shareholders
  • Capacity and resource to directly support the social and economic agenda of Saudi Vision 2030



  • Broader customer base
  • Larger market position
  • Size to support growth


  • International network
  • Conventional and Islamic product suite across retail1, corporate and treasury segments
  • Access for local and global customers


  • Market leading digital banking capabilities


  • First-class human capital and development
  • People drive innovation and customer service



  • Expected annual run-rate cost synergies of 15-20% of combined cost base


  • Revenue synergies of 2-3% from crossselling, deeper customer penetration, diversified funding


  • Integration cost in range of 1.5-1.8x annual run-rate cost synergies


  • Synergies to be fully realised 3 years post-integration completion


HSBC Group

  • Continued support of HSBC Group through Technical Services Agreement that runs through 2027
  • Provides unique global connectivity and customer access / value-added not offered by any bank in Saudi Arabia
  • Continued right to use HSBC’s well-known hexagon logo


Sirish Patel, Head of Investor Relations, speaks about SABB's ESG approach on the MEIRA webinar Sustainability Panel : Responding to new regulation - getting ready for deadline day and beyond


customer recommendation index


female employment ratio




staff retention rate

In December 2020, we released our first-ever Environmental, Social and Governance Focus. We understand that the global environment is changing at a fast pace, and all organisations will need to adapt in order to succeed. We all have a duty of care to act responsibly and in a sustainable manner. Doing the right thing is a core value of our Bank and something that has supported our success during a proud history.

Going forward, we intend to build on these foundations by ensuring that Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors are fundamental to our business. We want to be balanced, open and honest about our progress and transparent when it comes to the areas we need to develop. In 2021, we will be making further efforts to improve our ESG reporting framework.

Sustainable approach to the environment

Operationally, the Bank has implemented a range of programmes and initiatives that make a tangible and positive impact. Eco-friendly features and smart recycling techniques are designed and built into our facilities. The Bank has an ongoing programme for reducing paper, plastic, water and power usage, and actively supports international initiatives including the WWF’s ‘Earth Hour’ and World Environment Day. Business travel is kept to a minimum, with video conferencing used for meetings wherever feasible.

Notwithstanding our achievements, we will look at alternative ways of supporting our customers with new products which, at their heart, encourage a positive impact on the environment.

A socially responsible bank

Our social responsibility encompasses our obligations to all stakeholders, both external and internal. Our focus historically has been towards our customers and employees and to wider society. More recently, we have started to improve our communications with the investment community. As our stakeholders evolve, so will our approach.

We foster an environment that allows our people to feel valued and empowered to share their views, enables us to fulfil our collective potential and guarantee the right outcomes for customers. We have developed a set of values to enable us to fulfil our strategic priorities:

  • Think customer
  • Work together
  • Do the right thing
  • Be innovative

High standards of governance

A rigorous approach to corporate governance is a key strength for any organisation. SABB ensures it adopts best practice in applying a transparent approach that creates value for stakeholders. Led by the Chair, the Board sets the Bank’s strategy and risk appetite with the aim of achieving sustainable value for shareholders and promoting a culture of openness and debate. The Board also approves the capital and operating plans for achieving the Bank’s strategic direction, on the recommendation of Executive Management (MANCOM).

Our Board at the end of 2020, was comprised of 11 members. Led by the Chair, the Board enjoys a broad mix of local and international expertise from a wide spectrum of industry experience. The Board has established four sub-committees, the construction of which is in line with all regulatory requirements issued by the relevant authorities. The diversity in experience of the Board is further complemented by gender diversity including the first female Board Chair of a listed company in Saudi Arabia. Gender diversity is prevalent across the organisation.

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