QNB banks on its capital strength to grow balance sheet in ‘controlled’ way
December 08 2019 10:36 PM
Al-Khalifa delivering the keynote address at the ‘Euromoney Qatar Conference 2019’ at the 
St Regis
Al-Khalifa delivering the keynote address at the ‘Euromoney Qatar Conference 2019’ at the St Regis Doha yesterday. PICTURE: Ram Chand

By Pratap John/ Business Editor

The strength of QNB’s capital “allows us to grow our balance sheet in a controlled way and capitalise on opportunities within, across and beyond our network,” said bank’s acting group chief executive officer Abdulla Mubarak al-Khalifa.
Leading international rating agencies have classified QNB as a “top tier credit worthy” institution, al-Khalifa said in his keynote address at the ‘Euromoney Qatar Conference 2019’ at the St Regis Doha yesterday.  
“As of last quarter, our assets grew to an all-time high of $250bn. This growth was naturally driven by strong loan and deposit growth in Qatar as well as across our international footprint. We continue to maintain high asset quality and efficiency. As a result, we have been able to deliver stellar consistent sustainable profitability. Our nine months profits this year stood at nearly $3.1bn and we are on the path to another record year.”
QNB’s “consistent sustainable performance is also demonstrated by our brand value,” he noted. 
Brand Finance ranked the bank as the “most valuable banking brand” in the Middle East and Africa with a brand value of more than $5bn. Today, QNB is one of the top 500 global brands across all industries.
“While delivering durable financial performance, we profoundly abide by our responsibility in environmental, social and corporate governance matters. We have continued to strengthen our sustainability programme, which is aligned with the Qatar National Vision 2030 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This plays an important role in our approach to financing and how we operate as a business, ensuring we work in the most ethical and efficient way.
“Throughout this year, we continued to roll out the sustainability programme and delivered a number of key initiatives. For example, we published our first standalone sustainability report, became a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact, and headed the leaderboard for ESG disclosure at the Qatar Stock Exchange. 
As a result of these efforts, I am honoured that we were endorsed with an “A” sustainability rating by MSCI, the global index provider,” al-Khalifa said. 
As a full-fledged universal bank in Qatar, he said QNB assumed a “much broader role” beyond the financial sector. 
“We are an active contributor to the execution of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the QNV 2030. For the 2022 FIFA World Cup, we are supporting developers, contractors and sub-contractors across the entire value chain. For the realisation of the QNV 2030, we are acting as a catalyst to incubate the private sector, specifically SMEs. We support Qatar on its path to self-sufficiency, in areas such as food production, tourism, logistics and manufacturing.”
QNB is the largest banking institution in the Middle East and Africa across all financial metrics. It is also one of leading banks in the Middle East and Africa and South-East Asia (MEASEA). 
“We stand out as a strong and highly rated international bank. We operate as a full-service financial institution in our core markets of Qatar, Turkey and Egypt; and as a wholesale commercial bank across a range of frontier and emerging markets in Middle East, Africa and South East Asia. 
“We also have a growing presence in more developed economies, such as the UK, France, Switzerland and Singapore. Today, we are present in some 31 countries across three continents with nearly 25mn customers and 30,000 employees.
“We are proud of our Qatari heritage and of the contribution we make as a trusted financial partner to the geographies we serve. As a trusted, global brand, QNB offers valuable market insights and a range of quality products and services that benefit corporate, institutional and retail customers alike,” al-Khalifa said.
Al-Khalifa said, “The rapid pace of innovation and digital transformation is forcing the financial services sector to change and evolve. We have accepted this challenge and taken steps to embrace the change to become a part of future of banking even if it means to disrupt ourselves. 
“This year, we established ‘QNBeyond’, our global innovation centre. QNBeyond is both, a think tank for innovation and an accelerator. By doing this, we ensure we continue to focus on value creation and future-proof our business to be the bank of choice for millions of customers today and into the future.”
On the current state of banking sector, al-Khalifa said, “Qatar is well served by the banking sector with a comprehensive suite of conventional and Shariah-compliant products and services. The banking sector remains well capitalised, with high asset quality and robust profitability. “The capital adequacy ratio stands at 17%, well above Basel III guidelines. Asset quality remains high with non-performing loans (NPLs) at 1.9%, one of the lowest in the region. Profitability remains solid with returns on equity (RoE) over 15%.” Page 3

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