Doha bank CEO on being a global player

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Doha BankInside Investor sat down with Doha Bank Group Chief Executive Officer R. Seetharaman to hear more about the development plans for his institution.

Q: Doha Bank had a good year 2012 with profits rising 5 per cent. What’s your forecast for 2013?

A: In line with the sustainable model which we have developed we should be doing reasonably well. If we look back on a global scale, there was a very good development on the financial markets between 2002 and 2007, and then the global financial crisis struck from 2008 onwards – but we at Doha Bank did better every year until 2012. This clearly shows that we are on a sustainable growth path and have avoided the global market turbulences. We have a vision, and we execute it – this is what has been the driving force.

Q: With all the new infrastructure projects coming up in Qatar, in which projects will Doha Bank be involved?

A: We have a quite unique model as we don’t compete with global financial institutions. We are into special financing such as contract and subcontract financing. We are entering special collaborations as a local bank with local firms and entrepreneurs. If you look at all the projects that are currently ongoing, we have quite a big stake in contract financing. For project financing, we are committed with around $100 million. With the new projects, we hope to get involved into road, rail, sea port and airport contract financing. That are the kinds of deals we do. It’s dominantly corporate and commercial banking and contract financing.

Doha Bank Group Chief Executive Officer R. Seetharaman
Doha Bank Group Chief Executive Officer R. Seetharaman

Q: There is a lot of competition in the financial sector in Qatar in terms of financing ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022. But won’t there be a slowdown in lending afterwards, even though there is a 2030 National Vision? What is Doha Bank’s strategy to avoid contractions in business, for example by expanding further in the region?

A: Our focus is on the local dynamics in a global surrounding. In 2003, we opened our office in Dubai, then in Kuwait, then 2010 in Abu Dhabi, just to name a few, and we are now having a presence in the selected cities around the world. In terms of globalisation, Doha Bank has been the prime mover among Qatar banks. For example, we are now in South Korea, Singapore, China, London, Frankfurt and also in Australia. We recognised that when our local market becomes global then we also need to become global. That’s the concept. We are moving to regions where Qatar and the Gulf states are economically engaged, and our cross-border business has been growing in an organic way. For example, the offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi were small representative offices at the beginning and later grew to full-scale branches, same as in Kuwait. Globally, we are going through gates which are responsive to banking and finance.

Q: This means Doha Bank’s strategy is different from other banks which enter collaborations with foreign banks to develop a market? Or is Doha Bank actively looking at banking partnerships abroad?

A: Our intention is to build our brand abroad. If we can make an acquisition or enter a partnership, then it must be branded as Doha Bank. Our bank has been recognised as the best performing bank in Qatar also because the shareholder’s return is based on a strong brand and continued innovation under this brand. In terms of foreign expansion, 100 per cent acquisitions are an option, a model we aim at.

Q: What are the topics of your corporate social responsibility, for example your green initiatives?

A: In this regard, we indeed have a mission. We were the first in the Gulf to focus on lowering carbon emission. Out CSR is defined as a “green” mission, which speaks for itself. This starts with our branches were we have a green approach for example by encouraging recycling, we are trying to increase environmental knowledge dissemination, and we support sustainable projects in water management or waste management such as recycling plants and the like in a way that we call “green banking”. These projects are critical for us in terms of environmental conscious lending. We are also looking at options to set up a carbon exchange and are working to extend our “green lending” by supporting new technology initiatives. There are many environmental conscious projects ongoing in the region, such as Masdar in Abu Dhabi or in the Qatar Science and Technology Park. We have ample opportunities to find these projects. In terms of lending, if there is a commercially viable opportunity, we will pick it up.

Q: What have been your biggest achievements?

A: Well, I am privileged to be part of this institution, and I am realising leadership in a way I believe in. Transforming this bank to one of the best performing financial institutions in the region for the benefit of the stakeholders has also been a great accomplishment over the last ten years. A maximum return on equity has been created by Doha Bank, and stakeholders are getting the best out of it. There have also been improvements in governance, transparency and corporate social responsibility at the bank. We are not only here to make commercial profit, we also have public accountability and we make sure that we have the best staff, people who are prolific in their profession within a global structure.

Q: Where do you see Doha Bank in five years?

A: Doha Bank has been on a mission to become a truly globally integrated financial service provider. From banking to insurance, we want to accomplish this mission to become a global player and that’s what we will see in the next five years. Our national exposure is sufficient enough, the numbers are speaking for themselves. And as the Qatar market is becoming global, we have to go global too. Our way forward is to become a global financial institution.

Do you like this post?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Inside Investor sat down with Doha Bank Group Chief Executive Officer R. Seetharaman to hear more about the development plans for his institution.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Doha BankInside Investor sat down with Doha Bank Group Chief Executive Officer R. Seetharaman to hear more about the development plans for his institution.

Q: Doha Bank had a good year 2012 with profits rising 5 per cent. What’s your forecast for 2013?

A: In line with the sustainable model which we have developed we should be doing reasonably well. If we look back on a global scale, there was a very good development on the financial markets between 2002 and 2007, and then the global financial crisis struck from 2008 onwards – but we at Doha Bank did better every year until 2012. This clearly shows that we are on a sustainable growth path and have avoided the global market turbulences. We have a vision, and we execute it – this is what has been the driving force.

Q: With all the new infrastructure projects coming up in Qatar, in which projects will Doha Bank be involved?

A: We have a quite unique model as we don’t compete with global financial institutions. We are into special financing such as contract and subcontract financing. We are entering special collaborations as a local bank with local firms and entrepreneurs. If you look at all the projects that are currently ongoing, we have quite a big stake in contract financing. For project financing, we are committed with around $100 million. With the new projects, we hope to get involved into road, rail, sea port and airport contract financing. That are the kinds of deals we do. It’s dominantly corporate and commercial banking and contract financing.

Doha Bank Group Chief Executive Officer R. Seetharaman
Doha Bank Group Chief Executive Officer R. Seetharaman

Q: There is a lot of competition in the financial sector in Qatar in terms of financing ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022. But won’t there be a slowdown in lending afterwards, even though there is a 2030 National Vision? What is Doha Bank’s strategy to avoid contractions in business, for example by expanding further in the region?

A: Our focus is on the local dynamics in a global surrounding. In 2003, we opened our office in Dubai, then in Kuwait, then 2010 in Abu Dhabi, just to name a few, and we are now having a presence in the selected cities around the world. In terms of globalisation, Doha Bank has been the prime mover among Qatar banks. For example, we are now in South Korea, Singapore, China, London, Frankfurt and also in Australia. We recognised that when our local market becomes global then we also need to become global. That’s the concept. We are moving to regions where Qatar and the Gulf states are economically engaged, and our cross-border business has been growing in an organic way. For example, the offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi were small representative offices at the beginning and later grew to full-scale branches, same as in Kuwait. Globally, we are going through gates which are responsive to banking and finance.

Q: This means Doha Bank’s strategy is different from other banks which enter collaborations with foreign banks to develop a market? Or is Doha Bank actively looking at banking partnerships abroad?

A: Our intention is to build our brand abroad. If we can make an acquisition or enter a partnership, then it must be branded as Doha Bank. Our bank has been recognised as the best performing bank in Qatar also because the shareholder’s return is based on a strong brand and continued innovation under this brand. In terms of foreign expansion, 100 per cent acquisitions are an option, a model we aim at.

Q: What are the topics of your corporate social responsibility, for example your green initiatives?

A: In this regard, we indeed have a mission. We were the first in the Gulf to focus on lowering carbon emission. Out CSR is defined as a “green” mission, which speaks for itself. This starts with our branches were we have a green approach for example by encouraging recycling, we are trying to increase environmental knowledge dissemination, and we support sustainable projects in water management or waste management such as recycling plants and the like in a way that we call “green banking”. These projects are critical for us in terms of environmental conscious lending. We are also looking at options to set up a carbon exchange and are working to extend our “green lending” by supporting new technology initiatives. There are many environmental conscious projects ongoing in the region, such as Masdar in Abu Dhabi or in the Qatar Science and Technology Park. We have ample opportunities to find these projects. In terms of lending, if there is a commercially viable opportunity, we will pick it up.

Q: What have been your biggest achievements?

A: Well, I am privileged to be part of this institution, and I am realising leadership in a way I believe in. Transforming this bank to one of the best performing financial institutions in the region for the benefit of the stakeholders has also been a great accomplishment over the last ten years. A maximum return on equity has been created by Doha Bank, and stakeholders are getting the best out of it. There have also been improvements in governance, transparency and corporate social responsibility at the bank. We are not only here to make commercial profit, we also have public accountability and we make sure that we have the best staff, people who are prolific in their profession within a global structure.

Q: Where do you see Doha Bank in five years?

A: Doha Bank has been on a mission to become a truly globally integrated financial service provider. From banking to insurance, we want to accomplish this mission to become a global player and that’s what we will see in the next five years. Our national exposure is sufficient enough, the numbers are speaking for themselves. And as the Qatar market is becoming global, we have to go global too. Our way forward is to become a global financial institution.

Do you like this post?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid