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Segregated banking in Saudi

With Gulf women set to control $385 billion of assets by 2011, more and more single-sex lenders are opening their doors in KSA.

April 21, 2010 4:56 by



He explained that in Saudi Arabia, face-to-face dealing is more trusted and credible than online transactions.

“To entrust money and to bank with a certain institution for some customers depends on the interpersonal relationship that develops. The felt sense of care brings about the belief that, ‘if they are taking care of me they will also take care of my money’,” Al-Tayyar said.

Then there is the fact that women-only branches conform to privacy norms.

“Customers prefer this segregation when it comes to banking. They want their comfort and they value their privacy. The necessity comes from the huge growth in wealth among women in the Kingdom,” Al-Tayyar said.

To service this growing wealth there is a need for tailor-made products. The role of Saudi women has changed, with women having attained new social roles and employment positions.

“We have working women executives, heads of banks and real estate companies, and to accommodate to this cultural and social change we need dedicated services and products,” Al-Tayyar said.

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