Qatar most resilient economy in region: Expert

 20 Jun 2016 - 0:42

Qatar most resilient economy in region: Expert
Henk Jan Hoogendoorn, Country Head of Mashreq


By Mohammad Shoeb

DOHA: Despite the impact of significant crude oil prices decline and global economic slowdown, Qatar stood as the most resilient economy in the region. The market continues offering the best opportunities of business and investment, said a top official of Mashreq bank.
“Qatar may have shelved or merged some of the projects due to decline in energy prices, but the massive investments in infrastructure development on the part of the government for building roads, hospitals, education centres, modern transport system, industrial parks, warehouses, stadiums and other facilities in the run-up to 2022 Fifa games and the Qatar National Vision 2030, is offering a lot of opportunities,” Henk Jan Hoogendoorn (pictured), Country Head of Mashreq, told The Peninsula recently.
Henk added: “In addition, the private sector investments in developing shopping malls, retail businesses, healthcare, education and other facilities to meet the rising demand of the growing population also help maintain the pace of economic growth.”
Commenting about the impact of dwindling energy prices on the banking sector, he said that Mashreq, being one of the oldest banking services providers in the country, has seen good times and less good times over the last 44 years of its presence in the country, and the bank is committed to bringing the “best of both worlds—domestic and international” to Qatar.
Having operations in many countries, the Bank is bringing expertise to Qatar. Apart from serving 40,000 customers through its 400 qualified staff and five branches strategically located across the country, it also helps companies financing outside Qatar.
“We are organising structures for companies something that others don’t do. For example, if there is a very big project and an individual cannot do it alone, Mashreq syndicates a transaction by bringing banks and financers from outside Qatar,” Henk said.
However, he noted that the banks in general are facing a challenging time due to tightened liquidity. As a result most of the banks are focusing on developing other streams of revenues to deal with the situation.
“There is a very strange situation. Banks are required to pay more on deposits, and the prices of loans are not going up the same way. So banks’ profit margins are under pressure. So we are not dependent only on interest margins… We have other products such as organising deals and generating fees by providing innovative products and services to our customers, especially corporate customers and traders by preparing documents and payment related services.”
Headquarters in Dubai, Mashreq is one of the UAE’s leading financial institutions. It has a strong retail and corporate banking presence throughout the Arabian Gulf with branches in many countries, including Egypt, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain. It is known as one of the most innovative banks in the region, with a strong customer-centric business approach.
Continuing its legacy of innovation in digital banking, Mashreq , a few weeks ago, launched biometric security for mobile banking in Qatar, allowing its customers to use their fingertips as password.
The advanced fingerprint recognition technology has generated huge response.
The upgraded mobile banking App also offers the unique and innovative Card-less Cash withdrawal service, which allows Mashreq customers to send a transfer code to any mobile number in Qatar, 24/7. The recipient need not have a bank account and can withdraw cash from any Mashreq ATM in the country using the transfer code.

The Peninsula