HSBC Qatar is gearing up to inaugurate its first digital branch in the country at Msheireb Downtown Doha in line with the global bank’s focus on digitalisation and innovation.
The fully digital HSBC branch, the first one of its kind in the country, will be formally inaugurated in April 2020, HSBC Qatar chief executive officer Abdul Hakeem Mostafawi said in an interview with Gulf Times in Doha.
“Qatar is an important market for HSBC. The Msheireb initiative reflects our commitment to the Qatari market. The state-of-the-art Msheireb branch will be our fourth in Qatar.
“HSBC was established in Qatar in 1954 and our first office was located less than 1km from here, on the Corniche. It is therefore an exciting event to open the first digital branch, which is also the first of its kind in Qatar, close to the original location, in celebration of our heritage in the country,” Mostafawi said.
In 1986, HSBC was the first bank to introduce ATMs to Qatar, today HSBC is the first bank to open a digital focused branch in the country.
He said, “The new digital branch is a perfect fit in Msheireb Downtown, which is considered as the first ‘smart city’ and a planned city development in Qatar. With the focus on self-service banking on our enhanced digital platforms, we will make banking for our customers simpler, faster and better.”
HSBC’s vision of banking in the future is the fact that artificial intelligence is coming of age. The new branch will be a first step in the fast moving digitisation of banking services and will offer customers unique banking services.
Msheireb Downtown is a prime location and an award-winning real estate development. The development has been recognised in many ways since its launch in 2010 and have received accolades for its focus on environmentally friendly practices, sustainability (2011, 2012 and 2013), architectural design (2012), LEED status (2015), conservation of heritage (2017) and smart city development (2018).
“We at HSBC are honoured to be able to operate from this prestigious location in Qatar. This investment demonstrates HSBC ongoing commitment to the country and the Qatar National Vision 2030 for economic development in support of innovation and sustainable growth,” HSBC Qatar CEO noted.
Asked whether HSBC Qatar would be launching new products and services in the market, Mostafawi said, “Our objective has been to help our customers do banking with minimal human interference, unless of course required. Our focus is on such types of products and services that help our customers do transactions, efficiently and swiftly. That said, relationship management will still be important for HSBC.”
Mostafawi said, “We are in the best position to advise and serve our customers. HSBC is one of the largest banks in the world and we can leverage our global reach and expertise for our customers, both nationals and expatriates, who immensely benefit from this.”
On whether the rapid growth of local banks has impacted HSBC Qatar, he said, “We have not only retained our customer base, but also have grown in Qatar over the years. Qatar is an important market for HSBC and it will remain so, as recent visits by our Group CEO and Regional CEO show,” Mostafawi said.
“Historically, we have connected investors from around the world to Qatar and we will continue to do that.”
He said, “We are definitely going to play a big role in projects that target Qatar’s economic development and its growth into the future.”
On development of national workforce in HSBC, Mostafawi said, “It is one of the important growth pillars in this market. Developing Qatari nationals is an important strategic initiative for us. They are our future in this country. We have already exceeded our target of 20% (across the bank). We are aiming even higher. So, we have not stopped.”
The CEO also highlighted the many scholarship and sponsorship opportunities for nationals in HSBC Qatar.
“We have also provided training to some of our Qatari staff members in the UK,” he said.
Mostafawi said, “We have been here since 1954. We will be here for many…many years to come. We are very committed to Qatar.”