Not satisfied with being the number one bank in the Middle East, Qatar National Bank is looking further afield as it seeks higher growth opportunities outside Qatar. Its acting group chief executive speaks to James King.
Latest articles from Middle East
Gulf lenders continue to drive the performance of Middle Eastern banks, recording impressive growth in this year's rankings. Elsewhere, Iranian banks are making sizeable gains.
Growth may be buoyant but that by no means makes managing the Qatari economy an easy task. Central bank governor Sheikh Abdulla Bin Saoud Al-Thani describes the steps that he has taken to make sure that such growth is sustained in the medium and long term.
Observers are already predicting that 2014 will be a record-breaking year for sukuk issuance. While the majority of deals are currently coming out of Malaysia, CIMB Islamic's CEO believes that developments in the pipeline will see the asset class grow its international presence.
Qatar's gross domestic product growth may be envied by much of the rest of the world, but the country's finance minister is not blinkered by the country's current economic success. As he explains to The Banker, the need to diversify the hydrocarbon-reliant economy is great, which is why he has just announced a record-breaking budget to this end.
As the Qatari economy has contracted in recent years, the country's banks have developed their own niches in order to remain profitable in what has become an increasingly competitive market.
There are commentators within the country who claim that the Saudi Arabian economy and its banking environment may well be the best in the world, with strong profits, a high level of capital investment and robust demographics. But there are concerns that small and medium enterprises do not have enough access to lending, providing a new focus for bank efforts.
The naming of the first woman CEO at a Saudi investment bank is one of several signs that the country's banking sector is redressing its gender imbalance.
Despite a drop in oil revenues, Saudi Arabia’s economy remains the envy of most countries in the world, boosted by government spending and the vibrant non-oil private sector. Not satisfied with this, the government is instigating major social reforms in the labour market and in education.