Interviewed By Editorial
Bassel Gamal, group CEO of Qatar Islamic Bank, received Leadership Achievement Award for Best COVID-19 Response in Qatar at the Leadership Achievement Awards Virtual Ceremony 2020 presented by The Asian Banker.
Bassel Gamal, group CEO of Qatar Islamic Bank, received Leadership Achievement Award for Best COVID-19 Response in Qatar at the Leadership Achievement Awards Virtual Ceremony 2020 presented by The Asian Banker. Qatar Islamic Bank was awarded Best Managed Bank during COVID-19 in Qatar during the ceremony.
Qatar Islamic Bank urged customers to use digital services for their banking needs amid COVID-19
Due to the level of digitalisation of its services, the bank was able to run the Bank Safely from Home campaign by urging its customers to use digital services for their banking needs. Digital sales during the pandemic comprised about 70% to 95% of all sales to retail customers. 93% of corporate transfers were done through the internet banking platform where corporate customers can apply for all products and services. The campaign allowed the bank to ensure business continuity while it operated only 20% of its branches from April to June and 80% of its employees were working from home.
Various steps have been taken to keep its asset quality stable
Under Gamal’s leadership, the bank took steps to stabilise its asset quality. These included regular portfolio reviews, mandatory client calling programmes, collateral reviews, advanced upcoming maturities follow-ups and restricting financing for affected sectors to detect early warning signals and take required actions. In the first half of 2020, the bank more than doubled its loan loss provisions and its ratio of non-performing financing assets to total financing assets remained relatively stable at 1.4%.
Raising customer awareness on personal protection and safety measures
The bank’s first proactive response to the economic implications of the crisis was to immediately postpone financial instalments and due documentary credits with a waiver of profits on due instalments for six months. It also participated in the COVID-19 National Response Guarantees Programme, a 100% guarantee scheme of the government to help private companies address pressing payments such as staff payrolls and rentals.
In addition, the bank collaborated with the Ministry of Public Health and the Hamad Medical Corporation by investing $275,000 to raise consumer and community awareness on personal protection and safety measures. It has made heavy use of its own channels to promote key awareness messages to its entire customer base.
Gamal in his acceptance speech said, “It's not an individual effort. It takes a team to work together and succeed. Everyone in the bank is deserving of the award”.
For video of the Leadership Dialogue and Leadership Achievement Awards Virtual Ceremony, please click here.
About Leadership Achievement during COVID-19 Awards
The Asian Banker conducts the annual Leadership Achievement Awards programme that focuses on the performance of CEOs/chairmen and boards in the financial services industry in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. This year, the Awards are specifically aimed at evaluating the performance and response of CEOs/chairmen and the banks that they lead during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the initiatives implemented to help customers and society at large through the crisis. Shortlisted candidates and institutions were evaluated on the level of digitalisation of operations and processes; risk management capabilities, especially around credit and liquidity risk management; how they deploy their own funds in a manner relevant to the societies they serve; and how they create social capital, the means by which they justify their value through the contributions to the communities they serve.