In 2021, QIIB will continue investing in technology, risk mitigation and human resources, says Dr Abdulbasit Ahmed al-Shaibei

QIIB’s lending portfolio is very well diversified, focusing on all key segments such as retail, small businesses and large corporates, said chief executive officer Dr Abdulbasit Ahmed al-Shaibei.

‘We focus significantly on IT systems and risk mitigation. In 2021, we will continue investing in technology, risk mitigation and human resources,’ al-Shaibei said in an interview with Gulf Times.

He said QIIB would continue to spruce up its nation-wide network, giving a uniform look to all its branches.

‘That said, we want to discourage our customers to come to the branch – unless of course, there is a pressing need. We do this by providing everything through digitalisation, alterative channels. When there is an actual requirement, customers may have come to our branches. We understand that,’ the CEO said.

Asked whether QIIB plans to raise any debts in 2021, Dr al-Shaibei said, ‘We have some maturity next year in terms of sukuks – because according to our equity base, we reached the maximum in terms of sukuk issuances.

‘But now with some sukuks maturing next year, we will have to decide whether to replace or close them. We are waiting for the market and liquidity conditions to emerge– no decision has been taken as yet,’ al-Shaibei said.

Referring to QIIB’s joint venture bank in the Kingdom of Morocco- Umnia, Dr al-Shaibei said, ‘Definitely, Morocco has slowed down– like every other country, because of Covid-19. But in general, Umnia Bank is working according to the initial business module. It was a tough year for the JV bank – but we are expecting it to reach a breakeven point – a year from now,’ al-Shaibei stated.

The QIIB chief executive officer said the Qatari financial system, banks in particular, received tremendous support from the Government and the Qatar Central Bank during the unprecedented, pandemic-induced crisis.

‘The government was very supportive…the QCB was very understanding during Covid-19. So all the entities, at the end of the day, are working together, to face this pandemic, with the minimum harm to the economy in general and the banking sector in particular,’ al-Shaibei noted.

Deriving its strong position from the Qatari economy, QIIB was able to continue achieving distinguished results despite the challenges.

QIIB posted a net profit of QR785mn at the end of the third quarter in September, compared to QR777mn during the corresponding period of 2019.

The total revenues at the end of the third quarter amounted to QR1.84bn compared to QR1.76bn at the end of the corresponding period last year, i.e. a growth rate of 4.5%.

Al-Shaibei said, ‘During the third quarter, QIIB continued to achieve success in improving operational efficiency, as the cost-to-income ratio more boosted to be at 20% in Q3, which is a distinct percentage and deemed one of the most important indicators of the bank’s success in responding to the emerging developments.

The total assets increased to QR59.3bn in Q3, which represents a growth rate of 12%. The size of the financing portfolio amounted to QR39.2bn compared to QR31.9bn during the corresponding period last year, with a growth rate of 22.6%.