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Qatar’s ‘next generation bank’

Article - November 26, 2012
Al Khaliji offers next-generation banking by blending tradition with innovation
This past summer, Qatar’s al khaliji surprised the banking world once again by offering three 150-gram gold bars – one a year for three years – to customers taking out a new mortgage loan. The bank’s Golden Reward product emphasised the exclusive service targeted at affluent and high net worth customers provided by this leading financial institution. Indeed, al khaliji took home the Best Premium Banking Service at the annual Banker Middle East Product Awards this year, capping what has been a pioneering, and highly successful, four years for this young bank.

Launched in just 2008, al khaliji promoted itself as the “next generation bank”, catching the financial world’s attention out of the gate by offering Qatar’s first eco-friendly ATMs, featuring environmentally friendly nanotechnology screen displays, power and paper saving features. Its Fusion account was the first interest-bearing service to combine the benefits of both a savings and checking account. The following year, the bank launched two more innovative products, both linked to gold prices: the country’s first wealth management guaranteed structured product and a structured deposit, which was heavily oversubscribed. By early 2010, al khaliji was ranked third in Qatar for performance by CPI Financial.

“Our clear business strategy is aligned to the economic reality of the region.”

Robin McCall,
Group CEO of al khaliji

By 2011, al khaliji had positioned itself at the forefront of innovative banking. Its Qatar-centric, corporate and treasury led approach and customer-focused strategy had resulted in incredible outcomes, and its executives were being sought after in regional and global conferences for their input and expertise. The bank continued to surprise the financial world with its growth, recording a net profit of QR427 million ($117 million) for 2010, up 155 percent over 2009. Also in 2011, the bank’s investor website was ranked as number one across the Middle East, and at the beginning of 2012, Fitch awarded al khaliji with a Long Term Issuer Default Rating of ‘A-’, a bank milestone.

This trailblazing trajectory was capped by CPI’s award for its premium service this past spring. In fact, the product is a full package of services comprised of seven different components under one brand: a dedicated relationship manager, access to upgraded and exclusive Premium centres at the branches, wealth management services, preferential rates on all types of loans, family benefits, and complimentary ‘Priority Pass’ membership. Additionally, the premier service is convenient Doorstep Banking, which provides for residential or place of work visits from the client’s dedicated relationship manager, eliminating the need for branch visits.

Headquartered in Doha and listed on the Qatar Exchange since 2007, al khaliji offers a full range of banking products and services to premium, business, corporate and international customers in Qatar. Its subsidiary in Paris, Al Khaliji France, boasts a network of branches in the UAE covering Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaima and Abu Dhabi, providing customers and businesses with local, regional and international banking services. The group boasted QR27.8 billion ($7.63 billion) in total assets and QR12.7 billion ($3.48 billion) in customer deposits as of 30th June 2012.

From the time it launched operations in 2008, al khaliji has shown growth in every quarter. Management’s stated intention is to remain focused on major corporate and business clients by offering them financing solutions directed to their particular needs. The bank’s quarterly results continue to reflect the success of this strategy.

On the release of third quarter 2012 results, in which al khaliji showed an increase in net profit of 5 percent to QR378 million ($103 million), Group CEO Robin McCall comments: “al khaliji’s core business is Qatar-centric with a GCC coverage model. This single market has experienced robust growth rates and our sentiment for sustained returns remains positive given the strong underlying fundamentals. Qatar’s hydrocarbon wealth and planned economic diversification bolstered by significant infrastructure build-out in the coming years will drive growth in the banking sector.”