Posted on March 13, 2011

A large host of major banks have demonstrated their commitment to the regional banking sector by sponsoring the 10th GCC Banking Conference to be held in Doha between March 23rd and March 24th at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.

The conference, held under the patronage of HE Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jabor Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) in cooperation with the General Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council will tackle the topic “GCC Banking and its Role in Development in Light of Current Updates – Reality and Ambition.”

A total of ten financial institutions based in Qatar and Bahrain are sponsoring this year’s event:

Qatar National Bank (QNB), the Host Sponsor, was established over forty years ago, with ownership split equally between the government’s Qatar Investment Authority and the private sector.  With almost 40% of the market share by assets, QNB is the leading bank in the country, and one of the largest in the region.

The Platinum Sponsor for the conference is the Commercial Bank of Qatar (CBQ), the largest privately owned bank in the country.  Established in 1975 as Qatar’s first private bank, CBQ offers comprehensive corporate, retail and investment services through a network of 24 full service branches, 8 full service Islamic branches, 144 ATMs and 4800 POS outlets. Listed on the Qatar Exchange, CBQ has obtained excellent credit ratings from Fitch (A), Moody’s (A1) and Standard & Poor’s (A-).

Gold Sponsor Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) has been offering Islamic banking products and services since its establishment in 1982.  As a result of tremendous growth over the last several years, QIB has become the largest Islamic bank in Qatar, with over 50% of the Islamic banking assets in the country.  QIB has recently embarked on increasing its international presence, with the establishment of finance houses in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.

Five financial institutes have committed to Bronze Sponsorship of the conference:

Established in 1957 as Bahrain’s first locally owned Bank, the National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) has grown steadily to become the country’s leading provider of retail and commercial banking services. With a major share of the total domestic commercial banking market and the largest network of 24 branches and 54 ATMs, NBB plays a key role in the local economy, as well as diversifying to capture business opportunities in the Gulf region and international.

Even though they have only been active in the market for the past five years, Masraf Al Rayan (MAR) has quickly established itself as a leading Islamic banking institution in Qatar.  MAR offers Corporate, Retail, SME, and Private banking solutions to its clientele.

Another newcomer to the Qatar Islamic banking climate is BarwaBank.  The bank is a fully owned subsidiary of Barwa Real Estate Co, one of the largest real estate conglomerates in Qatar. The bank offers a full array of Islamic banking services including retail, corporate and commercial banking, private banking, real estate finance, structured finance, investments and asset management.

Doha Bank has been active in the local market since 1979, and with net assets nearing the QAR 50 billion mark, has grown to be one of the largest privately owned banks in Qatar.  The bank has been recognized for its excellence with numerous achievements awarded for its services in retail, corporate, and institutional services.

The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) was founded in 1952, and is the first bank in the entire region to be wholly-owned by local investors.  NBK offers a full spectrum of innovative financial and investments services to its individual, corporate, and institutional clients.  Since its inception, NBK has become a regional and international powerhouse, with over 16 branches spanning 5 continents.

First Finance, a Qatari financial institution offering Islamic banking services, is the Support Sponsor of the conference.  Established in 2004, its amazing remarkable success has attracted the attention of BarwaBank, who now wholly own First Finance.

“We are extremely grateful to the sponsors, as the conference could not have been held without their support,” said Karim Zarka, managing director of Qatar Expo Event Management, the conference organizers. “Their involvement is also a testament to the great importance that the topics that will be covered at the 10th GCC Banking Conference are to the regional finance industry.”

The 10th GCC Banking Conference is held in cooperation with Qatar Expo Event Management and is the latest of a series of conferences beginning in 1985 and is held every two years in one of the six GCC countries.

For more information about delegate registration and sponsorship activities, please contact joint organizer Qatar Expo on +974 4465 0211 or email