(MEBG) – Qatar National Bank experienced a seven-percent rise in profits for the first six months of 2000, representing a five-year consistent gain for its shareholders.
With the largest number of branches around the country, QNB achieved net profits of QR244.6 million for the first half-year, compared to QR227.7 million in the corresponding period of 1999, as reported by Gulf Times.
Net interest income reached QR305 million, representing a two percent increase over the figure for 1999. Non-interest based revenues totaled QR67.4 million, an increase of 34 percent.
The efficiency ratio of expenses to income stands at 27.5 percent, a figure that is considered rather strong and healthy.
The bank’s total assets this year grew from QR22 billion to QR23.3 billion for the first half of 2000, representing an increase of 4 percent. Customer deposits increased by 11 percent to QR14.2 billion.
The bank’s general manager and chief executive John P Finigan reported that the customer advances to deposits ratio stands at 94 percent compared to 113 percent at year-end 1999.
"This significant improvement in the key liquidity indicators, together with reduced reliance on inter-bank deposits to fund the bank's risk asset base, has resulted in the bank's balance sheet and liquidity profiles approaching the optimal levels desired to take the bank forward as the economy strengthens and Qatar becomes a capital surplus nation." he said.
Total shareholder’s equity for the first six months of 2000 amounted to R4.1 billion, a figure that has placed the bank in the top 300 world banks, ranked at the 296th position. Additionally, in terms of capital strength, measured by its equity to asset ratio, it ranks 32nd in the world.
Interim earnings per share increased from QR2.2 in 1999 to QR2.4 this year.
"The Qatar economy continues to develop and strong growth in GDP is forecasted. With oil prices at their current level, the government's aim to eliminate the budget deficit will most likely be achieved, and the country may even end up with a budget surplus” Finigan said.
He noted that the bank’s credit rating was the highest among all banks in Qatar, and has for the fourth consecutive year received the Euromoney Award as “the best bank in Qatar”.
The bank has also significantly invested in its retail banking division so as to develop its range of electronic products and delivery platforms to enable customers to access their accounts 24 hours a day all year around. The bank enhanced its computer and telephone banking services and launched the first Al-Watani Platinum MasterCard in Qatar. In conjunction with Qatar Airways, the bank recently introduced an exclusive rewards program for Al-Watani credit card holders, and also launched the Al-Watani Generations account, specially designed for students of Qatar University.
In an effort to increase its involvement in the academic and research sectors, the bank signed an agreement with the University of Qatar to establish the Ibn Khaldoun National Center for Economic. The agreement will most likely place the university in a leading position for the rapid growth and development of the Qatari economy, through increasing active co-operation with the country's industrial, commercial and financial institutions.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )