Digital investments help CB cope with COVID-19: GCEO

October 26, 2020

Commercial Bank (CB) has delivered a good set of results in the third-quarter of 2020 despite the unusual environment in which the banks are operating currently due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank’s top executive has said.
“This is due to our prudent approach and our investments in digital technologies which have enabled us to rapidly adapt to an evolving environment during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Commercial Bank Group Chief Executive Officer Joseph Abraham said in a statement.
Commenting on the third-quarter financial results released by the bank on Sunday, Abraham said, “Net profit before associates and taxes increased by 22.3 percent to QR1.7 billion during the first nine months of 2020 compared to the same period last year. It was supported by growth in net interest income and improved recoveries during the period.”
“Consolidated net profit for the period was down 22 percent to QR1.2 billion, due to increased impairment of our associate UAB and difficult market conditions in Turkey which impacted Alternatif Bank’s performance. The domestic bank reported a net profit of QR1.7 billion for the first nine months of 2020, representing an increase of 23.9 percent compared to the same period last year,” he said.
“Despite the current low-interest-rate environment, we carefully managed our cost of funding to ensure interest expense declined faster than interest income. This helped offset declines in total fees and other incomes, which were down 17.9 percent to QR 751 million during the period, driven by investment income volatility,” he said.
“Commercial Bank’s cost to income ratio improved to 25 percent from 28.9 percent for the same period last year, as we continue to invest in technology to streamline our operations and maintain current opex levels,” he said.
“Gross loan provisioning for the period increased 13.5 percent compared to the previous year, reflecting our prudent approach of factoring in the COVID-19 impact on our ECL models,” he said.
“Alternatif Bank’s performance for the first nine months of 2020 was impacted by the softening of the Turkish economy and 15.9 percent depreciation of the Turkish lira,” he said.
Despite these challenges, he said, Alternatif Bank reported a profit of QR53.6 million during the period. The bank’s customer deposits at the end of the period were QR8.6 billion and its loans and advances to customers were QR10.6 billion.
“The impact from our share of associates during the nine months of 2020 was negative as we took an impairment on UAB in line with our guidance to bring the book value of the asset closer to its fair value,” he said.

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