Press Releases

IFC and Saudi Arabia’s Institute of Banking Help Saudi Banks Cope with Risk

In Washington, D.C.:
Lotte Pang
Phone: +1 202 458 0952

In Cairo:
Riham Mustafa
Phone: +202 24 619 140
Fax: +202 24 619 145

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 21, 2009─IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is helping raise awareness among senior banking executives in Saudi Arabia and across the wider region about better understanding and managing risk to help them navigate the current global financial crisis.

IFC and the Saudi Arabian Institute of Banking today hosted a one-day conference in Riyadh entitled “Managing Bank Risk in a Changing Environment.” During the conference, participants discussed ways banks can establish effective risk management processes. Other topics of discussion included changes to the International Financial Reporting Standards, risk in a Shari’ah (Islamic law) compliant environment, and corporate governance.

The conference provided a forum for exchanging views and sharing experiences in banking risk management, an especially timely topic given the current turbulent state of the global economy. Board members, high ranking executives of local banks, senior regulators, and international experts all attended the conference.

Michael Essex, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “Saudi Arabia and other Gulf economies have been affected by the recent drop in oil prices, making it even more important for Saudi banks to properly manage risk. Conferences like this one help regional banks network with one another while learning about new risk management tools."

IFC works closely with banks across the Middle East and North Africa to help them structure robust risk management systems and train key bank staff on risk management. IFC has supported risk management conferences in Egypt and Yemen in the past few months to help strengthen banking practices in those countries.

Part of IFC’s strategy in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries is to help structure cross-border investments, including bank expansions. IFC’s investments in Saudi Arabia are focused on building financial markets, including leasing and Islamic banking.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $16.2 billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. For more information, please visit

About IOB
For more information about The Institute of Banking, please visit