Major Retail Saudi Bank Joins Ripple Network for International Payments

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The National Commercial Bank, Saudi Arabia’s first established bank, has become the latest financial institution to join RippleNet, Ripple’s enterprise blockchain network.

A massive market for international remittances due to its sizable migrant worker population, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has already seen its central bank pilot Ripple’s technology for instant international payments. With over 5 million customers worldwide, the National Commercial Bank (NCB) has followed the central bank in joining RippleNet to enable near-instant international payments with partner banks internationally.

RippleNet is Ripple’s enterprise blockchain network with over 100 financial institutions including banks, payment providers, remittance operators and other financial institutions using the SWIFT-replacement platform  for near real-time clearing and settlement of international transactions.

The bank will initially connect to financial institutions in North America and Asia, starting in Singapore, Ripple said in an announcement.

Ripple sees the KSA as one of the world’s largest sources for remittances over the last ten years. Citing World Bank statistics, 37 billion dollars in outward remittances were sent from the country in 2016, largely from a foreign worker population that remained over 10 million in 2018 despite a slowdown in the biggest Arab economy.

“For SMEs and corporations that depend on NCB, more efficient and transparent remittances will provide stability and help them grow their business faster,” Ripple added.

As CCN reported earlier in February, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) – the kingdom’s defacto central bank – became the first central monetary institution in the world to join RippleNet. The central bank initiated a pilot among regional banks using xCurrent, Ripple’s end-to-end tracking enterprise blockchain software.

Meanwhile, the central banks of Saudi Arabia and the UAE are concurrently working on a cross-border cryptocurrency for instant transactions between the two countries.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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