Saudi banking sector showed strong growth and profitability during 2008 and 2009. The rate of return on average equity was 20% which stood at 16% by September 2009. Well-capitalized by international standards, Saudi banks showed 16% of capital adequacy ratio in 2008, almost all being Tier I capital. Banks assets were strong with non-performing loans as 1.4 % of total loans and advances during the end 2008, which were below 3% during September 2009. Measures of Central Bank in Domestic MarketThe steps taken by Saudi Government during global financial crisis helped to restore confidence in Saudi banks, the Saudi interbank market, and the banking system. Saudi banks proved liquidity to international banks and to each other at competitive rates. SAMA took certain measures. It reduces the statutory deposit ratio for demand deposits to 7% during 2008 and maintained the ratio of 4% time and savings deposits. It reduces the repo rate of 5.50% in 2008 to 2% in 2009 and reverses repo rate from 2% in 2008 to 0.25% in 2009. It reduces the prices of treasury bills by 50 bp lower than the Saudi interbank deposit rate (SIBID). It placed time deposits with domestic banks on behalf of institutions and government agencies for a relatively long period and in coordination with them. Such deposits are considered as customers deposits included in the ratio of loans to deposits, so this measure helped banks to expand credit. An announcement was made by the Supreme Economic Council that Government will continue for guaranteeing the safety of local bank deposits which assured all depositors for a long time not to have any negative sentiment towards Saudi banks. In the global interbank market, SAMA injected dollar liquidity through direct deposits with local banks and foreign exchange swaps. This liquidity injection helped to mitigate the impact of global events on the local market. Since banks were flush with SAR liquidity so no liquid shortage was there in local currency (Bourland, 2008).
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