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Ripple’s homegrown blockchain-powered global payment network has just bagged one of its biggest clients in Asia: the National Commercial Bank (NCB) of Saudi Arabia, a banking giant worth more than $120 billion. The company announced on Sept. 13 that NCB would become a full-fledged member of RippleNet by the end of Q4 2018.

Ripple–NCB Deal Makes It Easier to Send (and Receive) Money Globally

The deal between Ripple and NCB follows a recently conducted pilot that saw the US-based fintech firm helping Saudi banks to improve their payment infrastructure using xCurrent, an enterprise solution to facilitate instant cross-border payments.

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By joining the RippleNet network, NCB expects to find itself in a better position to seamlessly connect to financial institutions across the world. Among other perks, this will lead to the bank’s customers experiencing much faster and more transparent international payment services.

NCB plans on kicking off this technological transformation by targeting financial institutions in Singapore by the end of this year. Up next, it will use RippleNet to connect to financial institutes in North America and Asia.

The setup of “two critical payments corridors out of the gate” for Asia and North America will directly benefit NCB customers by offering quick and efficient services in regions that they couldn’t access previously, says Ripple in a post announcing the NCB deal.

Big Boost for RippleNet

The deal comes off as a huge win for Ripple as Saudi Arabia continues to be one of the biggest players in the worldwide remittance market. According to the World Bank’s remittance data for 2016, more than $37 billion was sent from Saudi Arabia, as compared to the $308 million it received in remittance.

As for the impact on the country’s small and medium-sized enterprises and corporate sector, Ripple said:

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

As one of the largest banks in the Middle East with over 400 branches in Saudi alone, NBC has a key role to play in that multibillion-dollar remittance market. The bank’s reach and stature in the region are also likely to encourage other financial institutions in the Middle East to cozy up to blockchain technology and its offshoots.

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