Commercial Bank of Qatar: Putting Customers at the Heart of Digital Banking

As digitization is driving transformation of the global banking industry, Commercial Bank of Qatar discusses digital banking in Qatar and how understanding constantly changing customer needs is the key to the bank’s successful digital strategy.

Global Finance: What are the distinctive strengths of CBQ’s banking model and digital strategy?

The greatest strength of our banking model is that we are fully aligned towards the customer. Commercial Bank is famous for our customer service and this can only happen when the bank is completely focused on customers and their experience.

Our banking model is guided by our commitment to understanding who our customers are and how we can best serve their banking needs. We use in-depth analysis, research, data and insight into our customers to match products, services and channels to customer need.

Our digital strategy complements our customer-centered model and we constantly improve and adapt our digital products and services through our research and direct customer feedback. Commercial Bank is dominant in Qatar’s mobile banking and digital space, but our physical branches and ATMs are an advantage as we can analyze customer branch visits and experiences with our call centers and mobile banking channels to identify the customer, test their satisfaction, how they interact with the bank and what we can do differently.

Our ability to understand all customer segments – including Qatari nationals, affluent expats, white-collar and blue-collar workers – helps us adapt to create digital banking services for every customer. Our over 40-year legacy and reputation as a strong bank with brand loyalty also underpins our success.

GF: How is CBQ innovating its digital banking products and services to anticipate customer demand?

Commercial Bank develops our digital offerings to provide high-end, efficient banking solutions and services customized to meet client demand. To do this well, we have a very broad digital offering because our customer base is demographically varied with specialized banking needs. Our digital services range from Qatari Youth App, Host-to-Host, World Class Remittance solution (this is a key solution for our large expat population), to our CB SmartTracker for Trade Finance clients to track the progress of their requests.

We established Commercial Bank Innovation Services (CBIS) in Qatar to increase the customer focus of our digital strategy. This service was previously outsourced and located in India, but we bought it back in-house to Qatar to better serve customers.

GF: How have your customers responded to your digital banking innovation?

Digital banking has been fully embraced by our customers and the wide range of features and personalization in our mobile apps is often a direct result of customer feedback. Through our customer-focused offerings, 96% of our retail transactions are now via self-service channels such as digital banking and ATMs, and we have 14 million digital banking logins and 10 million biometric logins per year. Now over 85% of our digital users prefer mobile over internet, up from 50% in 2016, and our customers, particularly biometric login users, use mobile banking twice as much as those with passwords. Using our QR code technology, over 10,000 customers every month share their IBAN using this method.

Our digital offerings are empowering Qatar’s consumers and businesses to use and self-serve the banking services they need whenever and wherever they need them.

GF: What is your outlook for the Qatari economy and what’s next for Commercial Bank?

Qatar continues to strengthen its position as a leading investment destination within the Middle East. We believe this trend will accelerate as the government introduces new reforms designed to enhance Qatar’s attractiveness to entrepreneurs and international businesses. As a leading private bank in Qatar, Commercial Bank plays an important role in supporting these government initiatives.

Our customer-centric banking model gives us in-depth expertise in the market, enabling us to offer comprehensive banking and financing solutions for Qatar’s people and businesses. Our success can be seen in our financial strength – our year-to-date net profit increased 19.4% from last year – and our operations contribute to the country’s thriving financial sector, which remains attractive to international companies setting up in Qatar. We see strong opportunities in the Government and Public Sector and in transaction banking due to the focus on digitization.

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