QNB: Weathering the storm
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QNB: Weathering the storm

In the most difficult circumstances, QNB's international strategy has paid dividends

There may not be a large financial institution that has faced more trying circumstances in recent months than Qatar National Bank. 

In 2017, QNB, the financial champion of Qatar, had to contend with the most severe crisis in the country’s recent history: a sudden and heavy-handed isolation campaign orchestrated by a group of countries that were once its closest allies.

The blockade – imposed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain in June and still in place now – represented a huge blow to Qatar and tore at the fabric of the Gulf Co-operation Council, which had been the most tightly knit union of countries in the Middle East since its formation in 1981.

In the financial community, all eyes naturally turned to QNB. Not all is well for the bank. As of the end of September, its net interest income was down slightly year on year; and the diplomatic crisis potentially complicates its ownership of QNB Al Ahli in Egypt. Still, while it suffered some setbacks, the bank has emerged largely unscathed from the crisis.

For that, QNB can thank Ali Al-Kuwari, its chief executive for the past three years, and Christian Eichner, its head of group strategy for nearly a decade.

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