MUFG, one of the world's largest financial groups, today announced that it has received preliminary approval from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) to establish a branch in the country. Subject to approval from local authorities and Japan's Financial Services Agency (FSA), MUFG will establish its branch in Riyadh City, and become the first Japanese bank to offer services to clients locally.

The branch, scheduled to be established in the 2018, will offer a full range of corporate and commercial banking services. The exact timing is subject to negotiation with the relevant regulators.

Commenting on the development, Shichito Tobari, MUFG's Regional Head for the Middle East, said:

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has one of the world's largest oil reserves and is a major energy producer and exporter. It also has ambitious plans to diversify its economy over the coming years and encourage private investment. This will create manifold opportunities, for both domestic businesses and multinational companies.

Establishing a branch network in Saudi Arabia will enable MUFG to support growing client demand for financial services. Our broadening product offer and long term commitment to the region will make us a partner with a difference in the years ahead."

MUFG already has a wide network across the Middle East with branches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, and offices in Doha, Tehran and Cairo. They also operate a local banking subsidiary, MUFG Bank Turkey Anonim Sirketi.