Geneva bank eyes growth in the Middle East

Switzerland-headquartered bank Banque Cantonale de Genève is expecting to experience stable growth in the Middle East over the next five years despite the global economic uncertainty brought about by pandemics.

The bank, which is 200 years old, is not targeting exponential growth in the region but is instead looking to apply a more conservative approach to investment, its chief executive said.

“I don’t expect an explosion in growth but rather a gradual improvement in the three business lines we focus on. Our first priority in the region is the UAE. We are also interested in Oman, Saudi Arabia, parts of Iraq, Jordan and Egypt,” Blaise Goetschin, chief executive, Banque Cantonale de Genève

A mid-sized lender, BCGE deals in trade finance, correspondent banking, and private banking. It has operated a representative office in Dubai since 2010 and has one more in Hong Kong to target clients across Asia.

With over US$33.4 billion in assets under management globally, BCGE as of the first half of this year was managing US$500 million to US$800m in assets within the Middle East alone, Mr. Goetschin said.

This means that the region currently accounts for 3% to 4% of the lender’s total global revenue. Switzerland ranks first as its largest market, followed by France. The Middle East and Asia currently supply the largest portion of BCGE’s revenue from its international markets, Mr. Goetschin said.

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