Dr R Seetharaman during an interview with Gulf Times. The bank, he said, would maintain its strategy of ‘sustainable organic growth’ with diversification that is within its ‘risk appetite’.
PICTURE: Jayan Orma
By Pratap John
Chief Business Reporter
Doha Bank will strive for revenue diversification and product innovation as the leading Qatari lender expects its foreign assets to grow faster and make a larger contribution, said Group CEO Dr R Seetharaman.
The bank, he said, would maintain its strategy of “sustainable organic growth” with diversification that is within its “risk appetite”.
Doha Bank, the CEO said, would take steps to contain its non-performing loans (NPLs), which stood at 3.1% as of December 31 last year.
“Through prudent measures and better recoveries, we plan to bring it down to 2% in the near term,” Seetharaman said in an interview with Gulf Times here.
He said, “We will review the existing NPLs and identify those that have the potential for restructuring. In the light of a fall in oil prices, we will identify the sectors that are more vulnerable to NPLs. We will strengthen enterprise risk management to place more emphasis on recoveries.”
Asked how Doha Bank would deal with depleting margins, particularly due to stiff competition in the market, Seetharaman said, “We will come up with innovative products to overcome stiff competition. Product innovation and enhancement are synonymous with Doha Bank. We work with a clear understanding to continuously enhance customer value by offering products and services tailored to the individual needs of the target customer segments.”
He said some of the bank’s products offer “unique” features and benefits unheard of in the region.
“For example, our ‘free for life’ co-branded LuLu credit card is offering attractive discount on shopping without charging any annual fee. We have recently introduced the innovative and unique online remittance facility with Doha bank credit cards.
“Leveraging on our GCC network, Doha Bank is providing cross border mortgage facility to customers investing in properties in the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait. The same facility will be extended through our Mumbai, Indian branch as well.”
Doha Bank has lined up some “very exciting and exclusive” product launches, promotions and enhancements in 2015, Seetharaman said.
He said the bank’s “popular” product ‘Al Dana’ was being relaunched with the “most exciting” prizes in the region, giving away “fabulous prizes” to more winners and adding more millionaires this year. The prize scheme has been conceptualised keeping in mind the customer loyalty to it.
“Al Dana has had a tremendous response from all communities and customer types. We are also extending Al Dana to the GCC through our network in the region.”
Seetharaman said Doha Bank would launch, in a phased manner, a slew of “new products, enhancements and promotions” this year.
“Our credit cards, personal, home and vehicle loans will reflect innovation and customer value enhancement in 2015. This is being done to retain and enhance our customer base,” the Doha Bank CEO said.
Aided by robust expansion in fee and commission earnings, Doha Bank posted a 3.1% growth in its net profit to QR1.35bn in 2014.
Total assets increased 12.8% to QR75.5bn with net loans and advances rising 18.1% to QR48.6bn in the year ended December 31, 2014.
Deposits grew 8% to QR45.9bn, which shows the strong liquidity position of the bank, he said.
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