By Pratap John/Chief Business Reporter, Istanbul
Commercial Bank has invested in Alternatif Bank as it has huge confidence in the Turkish economy, said managing director Omar Hussain Ibrahim Alfardan. 
“Alternatif Bank is now in a good position to capture a share of this growth,” Alfardan said in his introductory remarks at the gala dinner held as part of the rebranding of Alternatif Bank at the Four Seasons in Istanbul on March 6.
The Alternatif Bank rebranding, Alfardan said, “signals a fresh start and a new face in the business.” 
“Our vision for Alternatif bank is to become Turkish banking sector’s rising star, a strong contributor to the future growth of the Commercial Bank Group and increased value for our stakeholders. With the best team in place and the right strategy, and now with the rebranding complete, the stage is set for Alternatif bank to move to the next level and achieve a new phase of growth.
“To achieve this growth, first we must look to the domestic market in Turkey, where Alternatif Bank’s local experience and in-depth knowledge will be invaluable,” he said.
Alfardan said, “The last 12 months have been very eventful for Alternatif Bank, for Qatar, and for the Qatari–Turkish relationship. We have seen a lot of changes. I am pleased to say the result of all these changes is that the next 12 months promise to be very exciting and prosperous year for Alternatif Bank and Commercial Bank together. 
“At Alternatif Bank, we have an excellent and experienced leadership team in place and the right strategy to guide the business forward. Alternatif Bank and Commercial Bank have made a lot of progress in terms of greater collaboration and integrating our two businesses together. 
“We can see this close integration in Alternatif bank’s rebranding. The new brand is strongly symbolic of our two banks’ coming together as one. I would like to congratulate the team at Alternatif Bank involved in the rebranding.”
Alfardan noted the illegal economic blockade on Qatar has presented a “tremendous” opportunity for Alternatif Bank and Commercial Bank. 
Qatar and Turkey are strategic trading partners. And the siege on Qatar has brought the two countries even closer. 
Turkish goods have played an important role in stabilising the Qatari market in the immediate aftermath of the economic blockade, Alfardan said.
In 2017, Turkish exports to Qatar jumped by 46% compared to 2016 with total trade volumes between Qatar and Turkey increasing to $1.7bn last year, he emphasised. 
In Qatar, there are as many as 186 Turkish companies working on joint ventures. And 19 fully owned Turkish companies are now engaged in sectors such as infrastructure, construction, contracting, engineering, consultancy, trade and electrical works. 
In Turkey, Qatari public and private sector investments stood at $19bn in 2017 and continue to increase. 
The increase in commercial relationship between Turkey and Qatar provides significant opportunities for banks that can operate seamlessly between these two markets, he said. 
“The challenge now is for Alternatif Bank and Commercial Bank to take advantage of these growth opportunities. Alternatif Bank has the full support of Commercial Bank Group. Our intention is to create an alliance of banks with closer integration of our businesses, “ Alfardan said. Page 20

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