World Economy

Saudis to Convert REDF Into Bank

Saudis to Convert REDF Into BankSaudis to Convert REDF Into Bank

Saudi Arabia plans to convert a state-owned housing fund into a bank, the latest in a string of economic reforms announced since King Salman took the throne in January, as it struggles to address a shortage of affordable housing, Reuters reported. After its conversion the Real Estate Development Fund will offer financing in cooperation with the private sector, the fund director Yusuf Zughaibi said in a statement on Sunday. It would offer housing loans to eligible people, it said. Previously, the fund had offered interest-free loans for new residential construction. Zughaibi’s comments suggested it would expand its lending volumes while widening the range of its operations to include mortgages for existing homes. The fund has 40 branches across the kingdom and a size of SR183 billion ($49 billion), according to its website. A lack of affordable homes has been a complaint of many Saudis, especially for young people active on social media.