Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority (Sama) has issued a new guideline for digital-only banks planning to enter the market. The guideline, published on Sama’s website, includes the minimum requirements needed for obtaining a licence to establish a digital-only bank in Saudi Arabia.

In addition to submitting a business plan, licence applicants are required to submit separate internal capital adequacy and liquidity assessment plans. These will be reviewed by Sama on “a case-by-case basis”.The guideline also specifies that applicants must maintain a physical presence. This is required to serve as its principal place of business or head office in the kingdom.

Applicants are likewise expected to abide by the same Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority corporate governance, risk management and control policies that apply to conventional banks operating in the kingdom. These include compliance with the kingdom’s anti-money laundering regulations.

The Sama guideline is part of the kingdom’s vision to develop a digital economy in line with Vision 2030.

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