Qatar will likely see more consolidation in its banking sector this year as there isn’t room for 18 lenders, according to Doha Bank chief executive officer Raghavan Seetharaman.
Two Islamic and two conventional banks would be enough for the Qatari market, he said in an interview with Bloomberg TV yesterday. Further mergers could come after the planned combination between Masraf Al Rayan, Barwa Bank and International Bank of Qatar, as well as that of National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank in the UAE, both announced last year, Seetharaman said.
Low oil prices are forcing Gulf-based banks to consolidate to better compete in a crowded market. The proposed merger between Masraf Al Rayan, Barwa and International Bank of Qatar would rebalance Qatar’s banking system, Moody’s Investors Service said in February.
“Industry consolidation is not an option,” Seetharaman said. “Amalgamation, absorption is on the cards for the next few months, if not a year.”
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