QNB opens branches in Saudi and India

QNB planning to open branches in Saudi and India in overseas push. QNB, Qatar’s largest public sector bank, is planning to open branches in Saudi Arabia and India this year as part of its strategy to earn 50% of net profit through international operations in future. The bank has laid out a policy that not only seeks to accelerate its international growth, especially in Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia (MEASEA) but also protect its dominant market position domestically, QNB chairman and Finance Minister HE Ali Sherif al-Emadi told shareholders yesterday.

HE al-Emadi, along with other board members, addressing the AGM
HE al-Emadi, along with other board members, addressing the AGM
“On international front, in 2017 and beyond, we are planning to open branches in both Saudi Arabia and India, giving us a presence in two of Asia’s largest and most dynamic markets,” he informed the general assembly, which approved the 2016 results as well as 45% dividends (35% in cash and 10% bonus stocks).
Apart from upgrading its representative offices in China and India into a full-fledged branches this year, the bank, which is aiming to be a leading icon in MEASEA by 2020, is also exploring new opportunities in other Asian market. “In 2017, we will build on the successes with a significant focus on growth in Southeast Asia,” said QNB, which is present in 30 countries across three continents.
Stressing that the group’s increasing geographic diversification positively contributes to lowering the inherent risk and volatility in business, al-Emadi said in 2016 its international operations contributed 37% to net profit compared to 31% the previous year. The bank is now eyeing a 50:50 profit ratio from international and domestic operations, he said without divulging the timeframe by which QNB would be able to make its international share (in net profit) to 50%.
“Although recent macroeconomic headwinds do present challenges to our industry and our vision, MEASEA markets will continue to be the focal point for global growth,” the bank said, adding these region require further trade and investment flows to support the building of the foundations for socio-economic developments such as infrastructure, including transport, real estate, power, telecom, healthcare, education and tourism. Terming Southeast Asia as a “bright spot” in an otherwise sluggish global economy with regional economic growth maintained at 4.8%; QNB said this came mainly on strong growth in Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam.
“Internationally, we will explore new opportunities presented by our growing network, bolster a specialised international wholesale business, expand our asset and wealth management services, and significantly scale up our international footprint,” the bank said, adding it would also “selectively explore inorganic opportunities” in the target markets. In 2016, QNB had completed acquisition of 99.98% stake in Turkey’s Finansbank, the fifth largest privately owned bank in terms of assets, net loans and total customer deposits. Finding that market opportunities still offer its exciting growth potential, QNB said “we will continue to broaden and deepen our Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan and international network as our international network gives us a competitive advantage” and this will include further leveraging partnership with its strategic partner, Ecobank.

On the domestic front, QNB would continue to expand its contactless network as it seeks to grow the digital footprint and is aiming to introduce new technologies such as cheque deposit capability in ATMs, more use of biometric technologies to identify customers, including the behavioural biometrics methods and personal finance management capabilities on electronic channels.