* QIIB will continue to strengthen its electronic delivery channels and invest significantly in them, says bank CEO
Technology enhancement and promotion of fintech are key priorities for the leading Qatari Islamic bank QIIB, says CEO Dr Abdulbasit Ahmad al-Shaibei.
“We are thinking about technology enhancement seriously. This is because we believe technology will enhance the business even as it reduces the costs,” al-Shaibei said in an interview with Gulf Times.
He said, “In the last few months we sat with several consultants…we had negotiations with financial technology companies also to take ideas from them. We are exploring ways to cooperate with them on fintech.”
Dr al-Shaibei said cybersecurity is another area where QIIB places a lot of focus. “There is no way you can compromise on that.”
QIIB has invested significantly in alternative and modern digital and electronic channels, which provide significant savings in time for the bank’s customers. Customers can now perform various operations and access most of the services through alternative channels such as Internet banking, mobile banking, phone banking and the call centre, he said.
“We will continue to strengthen our electronic delivery channels. At the same time we are renovating all our physical branches across the country. Some have already been finished. We are going to have a single theme…one design for all our branches,” al-Shaibei explained.
The QIIB CEO attributed Qatar’s growing economic momentum as one of the reasons for the bank’s impressive performance in 2019.
QIIB posted a net profit of QR927mn in 2019, up 5.1% from the previous year.
The bank’s total assets at the end of 2019 amounted to QR56.8bn compared to QR50.3bn at the end of 2018, with a growth rate of 13.1%. The financing activities portfolio increased to QR37bn compared to QR28bn in 2018, which represents a growth rate of 32.2%.
The bank’s total equity stood at QR8.2bn at the end of 2019 while its capital adequacy under Basel III registered 18.5%, which the bank earlier noted “reflects the strength of QIIB’s financial position amid various risks.”
“If you look at our balance sheet, our growth was across various portfolios, including retail and small businesses,” al-Shaibei noted.
On the solid performance of the Qatari banking sector in 2019, he said, “We should not forget the fact that projects related to infrastructure are a big supply for Qatari banks’ business.
“And regardless of other issues in the region, Qatar is committed to finish these projects, on time. Therefore, Qatari banks will benefit from that strategy.”
On the recent rate cuts by the US Federal Reserve and other central banks, al-Shaibei said, “There are many reasons for the rate cut. One reason is that lower interest rates will stimulate the economy.”
In the case of Qatar, he said, “The gap has already widened between the QCB rate and the Fed rate. So the 75 basis points (0.75%) cut on the lending rate is reasonable and acceptable.”
Al-Shaibei said the fears surrounding coronavirus have led to the belief that there will be a further slowdown in the global economy.
“So I think the rate cut came at the right time,” he said.