Qatar’s banking sector will see the advent of new products to support growth in priority sectors, expansion of trade and export finance for corporates, special finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and savings and investment products for expatriates.
Moreover, Islamic and ESG (environment, social and governance) products are also on the pipeline. These figured among the important suggestions made by the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) in the recently released third financial sector strategy as part of efforts to unlock the full economic potential of the country.
The strategy, through which the central bank aims to enhance the financial sector's contribution to QR84bn in gross domestic product, highlighted the select growth areas within the banking pillar such as tailored financing, specialised advisory services and digital banking and payment solutions.
The banking pillar suggested launching of new products to support growth ambitions in priority sectors, expansion of trade and export finance for wholesale and corporate segments, developing special financing programmes to support SME growth, offering savings and investment products for the expats to encourage them to invest in Qatar (mortgages and investment products) and providing a range of Islamic and ESG product offerings.
The initiative should be to increase financial service solutions to fill gaps and broaden market offerings, including digital and virtual asset service solutions, and net zero transaction offerings, the strategy said.
It suggested initiatives to implement targeted market infrastructure guidelines to foster the growth of the fintech industry and facilitate the digital transformation of the banking sector.
For improving the financial stability and operational effectiveness, the QCB suggested initiatives to develop measures to enhance the banking system's resilience and establish cybersecurity and business continuity frameworks that adapt to changes in banks' business models, market trends and external risks.
On specialised advisory services, the strategy highlighted the need to create sophisticated capabilities to increase non-interest revenues; support local players to grow beyond Qatar and expand abroad; implement mentoring and coaching programmes for SMEs on financing, digital, and green transition; and develop wealth management services for premium retail customers.
On digital banking and payment solutions, the strategy is to develop a payment hub with real-time transaction monitoring, fraud detection and to achieve increased efficiency; and expand advanced payment solutions such as digital wallets, virtual cards, and personal financial management tools.
The strategy "will be achieved through eight initiatives and 68 action items including 29 priority action items", the central bank said.
Highlighting that aspiration and set of outcomes were defined for each strategic step to ensure and measure success, it said the need of the hour is sophisticated and resilient banking sector excelling in diverse financial services and products, providing specialised advisory and structured funding built on regulatory and digital excellence.