CEO, Commercial Bank
There has been some tightening of liquidity in Qatar’s banking sector given the effect of lower oil prices on the economy. However, the Commercial Bank has always maintained a conservative loan-to-deposit ratio and we are also diversifying in other areas of banking such as overseas deposits. In line with our strategic reshaping plan to build sustainable earnings, we raised our CET1 Capital through a successful QAR1.5-billion rights issue in January 2017, which demonstrates the confidence investors and shareholders have in our strategy and approach. This, together with an asset revaluation of over QAR1 billion, will help ensure our CET1 Capital is well above the regulatory minimum required by the Qatar Central Bank. With the Qatari economy being one of the strongest in the GCC, the overall picture for the banking sector is healthy. The government has sizeable stakes in most of the local banks and can support the sector in case of future economic challenges, which always sits high on rating agencies’ minds. There are many banks in Qatar relative to the size of the market and the potential three-bank merger is part of a consolidation trend throughout the world.
CEO, HSBC Qatar
The country has a positive risk rating based on expected continued strong growth performance, high levels of wealth, planned reforms, and a comparatively lower vulnerability to the oil price. These factors cleared the way for debt issuance to raise reserves and give more leeway in spending. The country remains steadfast in its investment in infrastructure projects and will continue to deliver on the major projects such as Doha Metro, Hamad Port, and upgrades to a large number of roads. I do believe that structural reforms are at the top of the agenda in Qatar. Greater efficiency in the public sector has been a focus and resulted in a number of activities that will improve productivity over the longer term. The recent announcement of the merger of RasGas and Qatargas is significant and will most likely be the beginning of similar events in future. Other larger public offices have seen restructuring and operational effectiveness for the improved use of resources. The introduction of VAT is a significant step in the right direction. There is a great deal to consider in order to optimize the economic potential of the country and the wider region.
CEO, Dr. R. Seetharaman
Our international offices are meant for building relationships with other countries. Over the years, we have built up a network of offices that support global trade, which has helped us in building equities around the international arena. Therefore, Doha Bank is well known in Europe and Asia because we have had a physical presence for a long time. We are well established in financial capitals like Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Our presence is required to source the relationship between Qatar and the world and support trade finance. There is an evident financial stability in Qatar, if we look at the main indicators. We have a projected growth of 3.4%, according to the IMF. Having said that, with 17 banks operating in the market, the exercises of industry consolidation such as market acquisitions, absorptions, or mergers are a logical fit. We will have interesting opportunities for business consolidation with the changing dynamics of the global market. This is why three banks are merging in Qatar, and there could be more to come. The shareholders want to see a sustainable performance. It is an opportunity that everyone has to look at objectively, as it is logical and sensible.
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