Headquartered in Doha, al khaliji is one of Qatar’s leading commercial banks and a member of the Qatar Exchange since 2007. It prides itself on offering a full range of conventional banking products and services to premium, business, corporate and international customers in Qatar, UAE and France. The European caught up with Group CEO Fahad al Khalifa, to find out more about the products, services and strategy behind the bank’s success.
al khaliji bank is often referred to as Qatar’s “next generation bank”. How did it earn this title?
Fahad al Khalifa: In order to develop and sustain our position as Qatar’s next generation bank, we have placed innovation in technology, products and services at the heart of our operating model. Our constant thrust on the 3 P’s – People, Process and Product ensures success across all our endeavours. As part of the aggressive digitalisation strategy, we have introduced state-of-the-art humanoid robots – Jassim and Noor. These robots have already adapted to many of our branches, and have begun interacting with customers and employees on a range of subjects, from product and services to general knowledge about Qatar and its culture.
Through this launch, we aim to introduce the community to the rapid advances in smart banking capabilities around us. It emphasises the need to embrace such technological developments as part of everyday banking processes.
We have also revamped our mobile banking application that uses the latest technology and brings new enhancements to security, user experience, functionality and speed.
We are continuously listening and responding to our customers’ needs accordingly and in a timely fashion through our agile development strategy. We are able to combine digital transformation with our traditional strengths, such as our deep-rooted customer relationships, trust and financial strength. We are confident that with such an approach, we will be able to serve the local community even better and inspire the society to participate and contribute to new technology.
Please highlight the progress al khaliji has made since it was established in 2008.
FA: It is been more than 10 years since the bank started, and there are a number of achievements that I am proud of.
I will begin with the shareholder value we have created. The bank was profitable from the first year of its operations, and to December 2018, has generated more than QAR5bn ($1.3bn) in net profits. This means that if you have been an investor in al khaliji since the beginning, we have so far returned more than 139% of your invested equity in the bank. While this has been achieved, we have maintained a healthy balance sheet, with adequate levels of capital and liquidity, and managed our institution with an efficient cost base. All this must be seen in the context of the significant events that have surrounded us during this period, such as navigating through the regional impact of global financial crises, to most recently, the post-June 2017 times, where the bank successfully managed the challenges experienced due to the regional political situation. We recorded a net profit of QAR608m, which was 10.5% higher than 2017, and for June 2019 we recorded a net profit of QAR352m, which is 5% higher than the same period in 2018. These results were achieved while we continued investing in the local economy, supporting our local clients and growing our franchise in Qatar. Going forward, we will continue to build our business locally, while at the same time striving to attract the best local talent. This will allow us to boost “Qatarisation” levels, and to be an employer of choice.
It has always been our mission to go that extra mile to satisfy our customers’ banking requirements and make our progress seamless. Along this journey, we have gained significant recognition, including the “Best Bank in Productivity” Award at the New Age Banking Awards 2018. This award reflects our efficiency and speed in resolving issues faced by our customers and coming up with innovative propositions to deliver the best services. Due to our concerted efforts, we won the “Al Dhameen Best Customer Satisfaction Award” for the second consecutive year in 2018, which was hosted by Qatar Development Bank (QDB). The award reaffirms our commitment to supporting local SMEs and entrepreneurs in Qatar. This recognises our broader efforts to effectively contribute to the economic diversification of the country by blending tradition with innovation to meet the needs of both this and future generations of employees, customers, investors and business partners.
Additionally, the bank won two awards from The European for “Best Private Banking Services MENA – 2018” and “Best Corporate Bank Qatar – 2018”. The bank’s winning streak continued in 2018 with the “Fastest Growing Bank” award from the International Finance Awards; the “Best Commercial Bank” in Qatar award from World Union of Arab Banks; “Responsible Leadership” Award from Qatar University and last but not the least, being named for “Outstanding Achievements of Best in Class, MT 103 STP Rate 99.00%” by J.P Morgan. In 2019, we have received two awards from The European for “Best Corporate Bank” and “Best Financial Inclusion Program”. We also received “Best Private Bank” from both World Union of Arab Banks and International Business Magazine and finally, “Best in Mobile Banking” in the World’s Best Digital Bank Award from Global Finance Magazine.
I would like to reiterate that al khaliji’s products and level of service reflect the bank’s belief that to be a successful financial institution, we must meet the needs of this generation and future generations of employees, customers, investors and business partners.
What does the future hold for al khaliji bank and its shareholders?
FA: I believe al khaliji has a bright future. We have a loyal and deep-rooted customer base, excellent products, a stable and experienced team and supportive shareholders. We aim to continue to deliver innovative products and solutions to our customers and invest in the correct areas to ensure client satisfaction. We will also continue to be active in the community, and further our CSR agenda. This in turn should mean a more profitable and proud institution for our shareholders.