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bank notes

“Best years
ahead for Qatar"
"Our customers are
extremely protected.
We have been in
internet banking for
15 years with an ex-
By Sindhu Nair cellent track record
and seem to satisfy
months later, I think that the country is But having said that he also agrees that our technology sav-
quite unique, both in terms of opportuni- most banks offer the same products. vy consumer."
ties and challenges,” he says. How do you then differentiate your
The opportunities are all in the numbers Bank from the rest?
says Scotto, in the budget figures and the “In this scenario, you not only want
analysts’ predictions. customer satisfaction but customer loy- employees too will love the new look, we are pretty homogeneous to begin with. “We are happy with the partnership and
“The Qatar market is the most robust alty too. With a shrinking pool of new everyone who uses it will feel the differ- The choice should be with the custom- intend to keep the relationship going with
in terms of growth and growth potential, customer base and with increasing com- ence,” he promises. ers and having said that we have always the Awards and build new ones with those
which makes it most ideal for a retail petition, there begins poaching. So it is With the facelift and a new-age design looked at it from the customer’s side. Our who will be awarded,” says Scotto on the
banker.” critically important that once you have of banking interiors with the latest tech- pricing have always been balanced, nei- partnership with Qatar Today.
“The challenge is in the size, it is a spent a lot in retaining your customer nology, the consumers will benefit the ther too low nor too high.” “What do you do in the Middle East?
small but high quality market that is sup- base you make sure that they also remain most. Online banking is another strong point You go out and eat. And these awards
porting way too many banks. That brings loyal to you.” “There will be minimum waiting pe- for Doha Bank with more than 40 percent make it special; people like to know what
in the competitive challenge. The other Doha Bank has identified numerous riod, there will not the need of any PIN, of its customers using the online services the majority prefers. It is already a popu-
institutions under the Qatar Financial specifically built customer care strategies but we will have latest fingerprint or eye at least once a month. On the issue of pri- lar event and we hope it gets better and
Centre brings in another layer of com- to retain customer loyalty. scan. You can walk through your transac- vacy, he says that hacking is nearly zilch better.”
petition vying for this relatively small The Customer Care Centre or Tawasol tion in a faster way.” with security much better now than in
market, though not in the same realms of (Staying in touch) is just one of them. Technology has always been Doha earlier times. A lesson learnt
traditional banking but in insurance and “It is not a virtual call or complaint Bank’s driving forces and now the Bank “Our customers are extremely protect- This is not the first and this will not be
other wealth management services. Qa- centre where you talk to a faceless per- has also taken a leadership position in ed. We have been in internet banking for last too, says Scotto, speaking about the
tar also has a heavy expat market like in son about any issues you have with the greening technology. 15 years with an excellent track record financial crisis that is on the way out.
Dubai with some banks vying for the lo- bank. This is a holistic centre of expertise, “Go Green Credit cards, a Go Green and we seem to satisfy our technology “Economies work in cycles. It was
cal Qatari market and others for the expat a physical place where you have people accounts are all services that increases savvy consumer.” tough while it lasted; it was a vital wakeup
market. There is the need for two different handling your complaints with a strict awareness levels and increases partici- call for banks and regulators to make sure
business models to handle the diversity." tracking system in place that monitors the pation. Credit cards made of recyclable Cashing in on the F&B section that the proper governance is in place. A
But the best years are still ahead, pre- time taken for finding solutions for each products, rewards programme on the Doha Bank is the bank you see most, in good learning lesson for all,” he says.
dicts Scotto, adding that the he couldn’t bank-related problem. ” cards with one percentage of spend di- the papers, on roadside hoardings, new On the regulatory tightening on expo-
have asked for better market fundamen- verted to charity are all innovative ser- products, fun run, green talks etc. sure of banks in certain sectors or client
tals than the one he is currently privy to. Bold look, new thrust vices we have taken a lead in. This is a Scotto agrees, “We are certainly the segments he says, “The government has
Doha Bank started out as a commercial philosophy which was pioneered by our most visible bank. And what we offer is bailed out the banks with real estate port-
Competition abets services bank with little space to accommodate CEO, R Seetharaman, who started talking value added, we don’t sell junk. But we folio, and now the Central Bank limits
Owing to the increasing competition in the growing customer base. With the green here in Doha much before it was can’t keep everyone happy all the time, how much real estate segments you have

Louis Scotto
Head of Retail Banking at retail banking, customer service is an im- changed business model, all that is going fashionable to do so.” but we do try our best.” in your portfolio. This is manageable and
Doha Bank portant part and banks should be rethink- to change. “We have signed a partnership with The food and entertainment section is will mitigate the risks if more such crisis
ing improving customer satisfaction with “Our Bank is 30 years old; when we UNESCO and have numerous environ- the most popular sector in Qatar, and the arises.”
ouis Scotto, Head of Retail respect to service quality. This was the started we were more into commercial mental friendly initiatives lined up for Qatar Today Restaurant Awards 2010 is But then GCC was less affected in the
Banking at Doha Bank is not in finding of a recent survey on retail bank- business than retail banking. And when 2010.” cashing in on this popular segment with crisis and in the GCC, Qatar was the least
the least modest when it comes ing. Scotto agrees, “There is increasing we took a leadership role in retail bank- On the latest QCB directive on unified Doha Bank being the presenting sponsor affected.
to expressing his accomplish- competition from the local conventional ing, we had to undergo a lot of change to service charges across all banks in Qatar, of the Award. Scotto looks ahead and says, “Look at
ments. With 36 years in the field banks, the international ones and from the fit into the new business model. The first Scotto remains sceptical, he says, “It is “I was involved in a similar event at the robust figures projected by the gov-
of retail banking of which 20 ground swell demand for Islamic banks thing we have planned to do is to remer- always difficult for a regulator to reach a Dubai and it was very popular. It is a huge ernment now. The adjustments have been
years were in the region, he needn’t be. that have joined the fray. Hopefully, the chandise and redesign our branches. We proper balance between customer protec- market that we intend to tap into. Not just done, business models have been modi-
“When I got here, I was under the im- Qatari market will remain market-driven have the top designers who use the best in tion and having an open market economy. with the Awards but even after this we fied, if something like this happens hope-
pression that Qatar would be similar to rather than regulatory driven, which opens class designs in our branches. Our Salwa If it is fully towards consumer protection will focus n this segment with discount fully the banks will be more resilient and
Kuwait and the Emirates, more like Abu the competition for products, services and branch will be the prototype branch for you take out the competitive edge from it, offers with the winning establishments, this is the time to look forwards and not
Dhabi and less like Dubai; but seven interest rates.” the new design. The customers and our particularly in the banking sector wherein and marketing solutions to be identified. backward.” n

14 Qatar Today may 10 may 10 Qatar Today 15