Qatar’s regulator hopeful of merger of 3 Islamic banks
Qatar Central Bank is hopeful that the planned three-way merger of Islamic banks in the country could become a reality in 2018. The central bank’s governor Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani said he is hopeful the planned merger between Masraf Al Rayan, Barwa Bank and International Bank of Qatar would proceed as planned. He, however, said a successful deal would depend on other factors, such as shareholder support, and the central bank was waiting for a report by financial advisers before acting on the merger. The 3 banks have been discussing on the merger, though they missed an end-2017 target date to complete the proposed deal. Sheikh Abdullah said a successful merger will create a solid lender with more than 180 billion riyals of assets. First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), which was created through the merger of National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Frist Gulf Bank, completed its first year of operations with a new operating model. The bank’s group CEO Abdul Hamid Saeed said in a short period of time the bank has successfully completed many of its key integration milestones, reinforced the financial position of the new combined bank and realized cost synergies totaling approximately Dh500 million. Among the bank’s key achievements in its first year of operations were the completion of its new operating model, rationalization of its network, the channel rebrand across customer and digital touch-points and the harmonization of the group’s policies and risk framework.