The Banker’s Top 500 Banking Brands report was published on 1 February 2012 and featured a number of leading banks and financial institutions from the Middle East and North Africa, most notably QNB Group which rose to the status of the region’s most valued banking brand.
The survey is conducted every year by The Banker magazine, an affiliate publication of The Financial Times in partnership with Brand Finance, the leading specialist in the field of brand valuation research.
The process of assigning value to each brand takes into account the bank’s size, geographical presence, reputation, gearing and brand rating. According to the brand rating calculator used in the survey, QNB is classified as an AA+ brand, or a very strong banking brand.
This rating is independent of ratings assigned by credit rating agencies and represents only the health and future growth potential of the brand in intangible indicators and brand value.
QNB Group was able to deliver outstanding financial results in 2011, driven by on-going expansion across the range of its activities both domestically and internationally along with the adoption of a conservative approach to risk management that resulted in further enhancing the Group’s leading position amongst financial institutions in the Middle East and North Africa region.
QNB Group’s Net Profit for 2011 exceeded QR7.5bn, representing an increase of 32% over 2010, with Total Assets increasing by 35% to reach QR302bn. The Bank was also able to maintain a low non-performing loans ratio at 1.1% of total loans, which is considered the lowest amongst banks in the Middle East and North Africa.
Total operating income increased to QR10.2bn, up by 34% compared to 2010, while Net interest income and income from Islamic financing activities increased substantially, up by 37% to reach QR7.8bn. The efficiency ratio (cost to income ratio) improved to 15.7%, compared to 17.0% in 2010, one of the best ratios among financial institutions in the MENA region.
QNB Group’s capital adequacy ratio also increased to 22.0% in 2011, far higher than the regulatory requirements of Qatar Central Bank and Basel Committee. The Group is keen to maintain a strong capitalisation in order to support future strategic plans.
QNB Group’s market capitalisation also increased by 34% during the year to reach QR96.7bn at year-end 2011.
QNB Group’s leading role in the banking sector and the high quality of its assets, along with its capabilities to achieve sustained growth in all activities, are demonstrated clearly in its credit rating, with Standard & Poor’s, Fitch and Moody’s affirming the Bank’s ratings during 2011, which are among the highest in the region.
Also, Capital Intelligence upgraded the Bank’s Financial Strength Rating from A+ to AA- and affirmed all other ratings in recognition of QNB’s sound financial position, high asset quality and leading role in the banking sector.
In 2011, QNB Group completed the acquisition of a controlling stake of 70% in Bank Kesawan in Indonesia, a deal which boosted the Group’s presence in South East Asia that also includes a branch in Singapore. QNB also launched its operations in Lebanon and South Sudan through the inauguration of its branches in Beirut and Juba.
A fifth branch was also established in Oman, as part of the Group’s strategy to expand its customer reach and provide them with global best practices in banking and financial services. With these expansions, QNB Group currently operates in 24 countries around the world through 334 branches, offices, subsidiaries and associate companies, and 7000 staff worldwide.
In January 2012, the Bank announced a Partnership Agreement with the Morocco-based Union Marocaine des Banques (UMB), with plans to acquire a majority stake of its capital.
A new 5-year strategic plan was also approved aiming to reinforce QNB’s position in the region and establish it as a leading icon of the financial sector in the Middle East and Africa.