(MENAFN - Gulf Times) "We are looking at ways to partner with fintech companies. We are also looking closely at the blockchain technology. This is the future of banking. We cannot afford to miss out," says Dr Abdulbasit Ahmad al-Shaibei
QIIB remains focused on digitalisation and utilising financial technology (fintech), which is rapidly emerging, said chief executive officer, Dr Abdulbasit Ahmad al-Shaibei.
'This is the future of banking. We cannot afford to miss out, al-Shaibei told Gulf Times in an interview.
'With fintech, we will see greater competition from outside. From outside, they (fintech) can compete with us…using technology al-Shaibei noted.
'We are looking at ways to partner with fintech companies. We are also looking closely at the blockchain technology. And as a bank, we are investing significantly on the IT infrastructure. Cyber security is a top priority for us as we adopt technology in a big way, the QIIB chief executive officer said.
HE the Qatar Central Bank Governor, Sheikh Abdulla bin Saoud al-Thani had already stated that Qatar recognised fintech as a primary tool for achieving long-term development goals for the financial sector.
This, the governor noted, would require the right regulatory environment, competitive operating costs, government support, funding and a robust financial services sector.
Asked whether QIIB planned further overseas forays, al-Shaibei said, 'Currently, QIIB has no plans to expand outside of Qatar.
'Now we stay focused on Qatar. We continue to focus on opening new branches at commercial malls across the nation as a natural response to the urban development and customer needs, the CEO said.
With QIIB's latest branch at Ezdan Mall in Al Wakrah, the bank has some 19 branches in its nationwide network. QIIB is also present at The Mall of Qatar, Doha Festival City, City Center, Ezdan Mall-Al Gharafa, and The Mall at Hilal.
QIIB's nationwide branch network has seen a restructuring over the last few years as part of a development strategy.
On Umnia Bank in Morocco, where QIIB is a major stakeholder, al-Shaibei said, 'Our Moroccan bank is doing well in terms of growth…in terms of branches. But we have not yet been able to roll out all the banking products. This is because, for Morocco, Islamic banking is a new experience. So, we are going through the regulatory procedures.
'Recently, we got approval to launch deposit products. Once we have all the banking products in place, we hope we can start making profits.
Dr al-Shaibei said, 'Morocco is a very promising market…it is a huge market. When compared to other Islamic banks in Morocco, we are in the lead position. We were the first to move into the Kingdom of Morocco.
Umnia Bank is a joint venture among QIIB, Credit immobilier et hotelier (CIH) and the Moroccan Deposit and Management Fund.