Mar. 24, 2015

Salah Murad


Salah Murad

CEO, Ahli Bank QSC


Salah Murad serves as a senior executive with over 30 years of commercial banking experience. He is currently CEO of Ahli Bank QSC. He has served on the boards of various companies and committees including credit, asset liabilities, investments, and risk, and developed strong contacts with governmental organizations, corporate and financial institutions, and the wider community. He has an MBA from Strathclyde Graduate Business School, Glasgow, UK.

The banking sector in Qatar is developing into a competitive market. How does Ahli Bank QSC try to distinguish itself from the competitors?

We are a medium-sized bank. It may seem that our capital is a disadvantage, but we actually tend to think the opposite because our size enables us to be flexible to meet the needs of our customers. However, that is not our only distinguishing feature. When a customer comes to one of the branches or corporate offices of Ahli Bank QSC, we promise to deliver a superior customer experience. Our team is extremely trained, and we are proud of the people that represent Ahli Bank QSC.

What are the recent initiatives that the bank has taken to improve its services?

In fact, when the ownership of the bank changed in 2013, we took the strategic decision to change our decision-making process within the bank and flatten the hierarchy. This should ultimately be reflected in meeting the demands and expectations of our clients. We also decided that we are not going to be a bank for everybody, but we will target specific segments. When this was decided, we also reset the delivery process. We are investing smartly in technology, such as mobile banking, in order to cater for the segment of the market in which we want to servce.

What are the segments of the market that you are targeting?

One of our priorities is to increase our market share in retail banking. The investment plan for 2014 foresees reinforcing our brand identity and advancing our human capital and management skills. We work on a wider basis in retail than some other banks, and we have set an objective to increase that. Moreover, the business community remains our targeted and important segment to grow with.

In 2013, the Qatar Foundation got involved in Ahli Bank QSC by buying a 29% stake. Does that have any impact on the company?

Definitely. The Qatar Foundation has certainly raised the profile of the bank in the local market. Currently, we are working with the Qatar Foundation on certain projects, which will eventually increase our revenues. The Qatar Foundation is always seeking safe and profitable investments. I am sure it has chosen Ahli Bank QSC to support its investment objectives; therefore, it gives us comfort to know that we are considered a solid business partner.

How does the bank stand in view of the coming Basel III requirements?

The Qatar Central Bank (QCB) enforces the implementation of the Basel III rules. Most, if not all, Qatari banks comply with those rules. Ahli Bank QSC complies with most if not all the requirements of the QCB in terms of capital and liquidity. One of the liquidity ratios to comply with has to do with liability maturity ladder, and we are working on that issue. I support the regulations of the QCB in terms of Basel III requirements, and they do not hinder us from growing our business. We have ample capital, so the Basel III requirements will not obstruct us from expanding.

In 2013, the bank underwent a restructuring of its operations. Could you inform us about the changes that have taken place?

Actually, there are three important aspects that we have worked on. The first was business banking. We have made the structure more intense. Secondly, we addressed the control issues, and started carrying out gap analysis procedures to understand where the risks are, allowing us to address them directly. And, thirdly, we examined our human capital. There are still some gaps left to fill, but we have already achieved a lot.