Fitch Ratings has affirmed Doha Bank’s Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘A’ with a stable outlook. At the same time, the agency has affirmed Doha Bank’s Viability Rating at ‘bb+’. Doha Bank’s IDRs, Support Rating (SR), and Support Rating Floor (SRF) reflect Fitch’s expectation of an extremely high probability of support from the Qatari authorities for domestic banks in case of need. This reflects the strong ability of Qatar to support its banks, as indicated by its rating (AA-/Stable), combined with Fitch’s belief of a strong willingness to support the banking sector and the bank. The latter is based on a strong track record of sovereign support to the banking sector, including between 2009 and Q1 2011 when some banks received capital injections to enhance their capital buffers and the government purchased some problem assets from the banks, and during the second half of 2017 when the Qatari authorities placed significant deposits across the banks to support sector liquidity following the start of the blockade on Qatar.
“The government owns stakes in all Qatari banks. Doha Bank’s SRF (support rating floor) is at the Qatari bank’s domestic systemically important bank (D-SIB) SRF of ‘A’, and is not differentiated by franchise or level of government ownership because we see an extremely high probability that all rated Qatari banks would receive support should they require it.” The stable outlook on Doha Bank’s Long-Term IDR mirrors that on the Qatari sovereign. Doha Bank Group CEO Dr R Seetharaman said, “Given the changing business dynamics, Doha Bank has optimally allocated the risk weighted capital to deliver higher returns. The bank has become strong over the years with total capital adequacy ratio at 17% as of December 31, 2018, through the strategic utilisation of the shareholder’s funds. The bank has been consistently managing its Net Interest Margin as the highest amongst its peers.”
Doha Bank has received the ISO 27001 accreditation, which is a testament to commitment towards information security and data protection. Doha Bank has launched the first Qatar Exchange Traded Fund listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange under the symbol ‘QETF’. Doha Bank and MasterCard launched a suite of new contactless debit cards. For the first time, Doha Bank customers will also be able to carry out e-commerce transactions with the added security of MasterCard SecureCode and QPAY (Qatar Central Bank Payment gateway system) using their MasterCard debit cards. Doha Bank has also launched a new Arabic Doha Sooq website with driver delivery application. It has launched several other new propositions in 2018 such as Al Jana Series 7 aimed at longer term savings, Al Dana 2018 scheme and online banking loan origination for Doha Bank customers.
Sources and photo-credits: Gulf Times