Waiting to replenish their recession-weary coffers, Qatari banks are to be briefed today on details of the generous QR15bn real estate package the state announced last weekend.
The Qatar Central Bank (QCB), the banking regulatory authority entrusted with the task of disbursing the package, has invited top functionaries from the beneficiary banks for a meeting this morning to unveil the package and discuss the modalities of disbursal.
This was disclosed by R Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank, while answering a question at the Qatar Economic Forum yesterday about what the latest QR15bn real estate package meant for the local banking industry.
Seetharaman was one of the panelists at a talk on banking at a post-lunch session of the Forum at the Doha Sheraton here which ends today.
“Frankly, we are not clear,” he said when asked how the package would help the local banks. “We will be completely clear tomorrow (today) morning as the QCB has called bank representatives to discuss the proposal.
Answering a question from a member of the audience after the talk, the banker reiterated it was not clear if the package was restricted to real estate investments of the beneficiary banks or it covered their lending (to the sector) as well.
Banks here are allowed to dispense loans to the real estate sector to the extent of 15 percent of their deposits and they indeed have exposure within the regulatory framework.
The Doha Bank CEO lauded the state for providing active support to the local banking industry and said this was their third largesse since the onset of the global recession after the capital injection and investment buyout moves worth billions of riyals.
In response to another question, he said there were no real liquidity problems here and regional money markets were improving. He, however, admitted that due to simmering uncertainties in the global financial markets banks here were cautious while lending.
Asked about the outlook of the banking sector this year and the next, Seetharaman said he was of the opinion that 10 percent growth was sustainable.
He said that since the Qatari economy was expected to grow 9.6 percent this year, banks should be in a position to keep pace with an equal growth rate. “I think 10 percent growth for them in sustainable.”
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