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8. Samba Financial Group

Country: Saudi Arabia
Total assets: $51.4 billion

Samba Financial Group is Saudi Arabia's second-largest bank by market value.

Founded in 1980 with a takeover of Citibank branches in Saudi Arabian cities Jeddah and Riyadh, the bank was formerly known as Saudi American Bank until 2003. The bank now has nearly 70 branches, including international locations in London, Qatar and Dubai, along with a presence in Pakistan through a subsidiary. Samba Financial Group is rated A by Fitch and S&P and Aa3 by Moody's. The Saudi government's long track record of supporting the banking sector should bode well for the bank, which is over 50 percent owned by the government through three public agencies, according to Fitch.

In March 2012, the rating agency had said the bank would benefit from the strengthening of its core net special commission income, which is net interest income. But, recent earnings show that Samba Financial saw a nearly 8 percent fall in the fourth-quarter net profit to $231.7 million, compared to the previous year, after income from special commissions declined. Special commissions fell 5.4 percent to $266 million in the fourth quarter from 2011.

Photo: http://www.samba.com