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Cross Border GCC Market Entry


Board and senior management team of a pan-GCC corporate & investment bank.


As a wholesale commercial institution, the bank found it difficult to serve its corporate customers effectively as a cross-border player.

The bank wanted to extend its services to existing corporate customers and, at the same time, develop new business relationships by penetrating the mid-market segment in the GCC region.

The objective was to change the bank’s profile from a wholesale cross-border player to an on-shore corporate bank with a footprint in most GCC countries.


Working with a team of consultants from an accounting firm, evaluated the potential of geographical expansion for the bank.

The analysis included assessment of the size and nature of demand for corporate & investment banking products in each GCC state; evaluation of competition in the banking sector, the profitability dynamics and key success factors for each market; assessment of the potential for new entrant (i.e. potential under-served segments, competitor weaknesses and barriers of entry) and financial implications of market entry.

The analysis conducted by this project highlighted the pros and cons of opening branches in GCC markets.

After ascertaining the risks and returns, it was decided to open a branch in one GCC country as the first step towards developing on-shore presence and a pan-Gulf footprint.