Rakbank CEO: Feeling Confident About 2H Outlook

Rakbank CEO: Feeling Confident About 2H Outlook

A clear beat on the bottom line a little bit of a shaky top line. What made this quarter a little bit trickier than the previous one. Thank you. Yousef. Great to be with you. I think we had a really good first half and second quarter is actually looking stronger than the first quarter. We have seen very strong leading indicators. We have 6 percent more customers banking with us. We have seen asset growth across the corporate banking SMB banking and the retail banking sector is just to give you a sense be finance two thousand four hundred budding entrepreneurs. And as a means to the tune of one point eight billion homes in the first half of this year. So clearly we are on a growth trajectory doing growth across all sectors. I mean talk about Assamese. That’s kind of what the banks known for so that means inflation is going to have an impact on the cash flow small businesses and ultimately your banks asset quality. So as you’ve seen provisions and asset quality is at an all time provisions that are at an all time low in asset quality at an all time best we are very cautious. We are working with our clients and customers to make sure that inflation and rising interest rates are factored into their business plans and growth and lending. But so far the demand side is very positive. Inflation is relatively muted in UAE if the US versus other parts of the world and and many of our customers are sitting with inventories and stocks that they have bought at lower prices. So they have not seen the impact that perhaps is widely spread in other parts of the world. With rising borrowing costs through here what happens to mortgage growth momentum. Does that begin to decelerate. I look at some of the transaction prices in the property space and those have soft and as well. How much of a risk is it. There’s the use of I think the central bank regulations that came or perhaps the previous down downturn look at affordability. Look at that debt burden ratio than actually look at the stress rates on raising interest rates. When you are factoring that into the into the mortgages that to be too. Will there be some demand side slowdown. I would suggest that yes the growth will still be there but there may be some slowdown in the growth. I don’t see negative trends in the market at least till the end of this year. But there is enough caution and existing customers to bear any increases in interest rates to the tune that we are seeing. What are you seeing in terms of trends among demographics specifically some of the talent leaving versus perhaps new people coming. Has there been any shift in the pattern. So if I just continue with mortgages and I’ll relate this to you we have seen an interesting shift of more Europeans and Arab expats coming into UAE. We are seeing that in the diversity of our workforce as well. We are up from 48 nationalities same period last year to fifty seven different nationalities this year. And and I think you are seeing a broad based workforce getting attracted to the UAE even the way it managed the pandemic and all the changes that they have driven better regulation than the typical you know geography that we used to see in the past from. So it’s much more broad based. You’re seeing more Europeans more out IBEX boats than we have seen before. What’s possible in the second half in terms of growth in terms of targets given that borrowing costs are going up. Liquidity might become a bit more constrained. Are you scaling back some of your ambitions at least a little bit. Or you kind of stay the course. No I think I think we. We feel very confident about the next half of the year and we have lots of very strong propositions across the three sectors that we think we can continue to grow. As you rightly said our first and foremost concern is that our clients get the right financial advice and the right affordability and stability for the lending or borrowing that they’re doing. So. But I do see continuous growth in borrowing. It may be at a slower pace than what we saw in each one. But but our view is that anyone who may have even seen it in the IMF economic forecast why did they have positioned it down. But they’re still forecasting a reasonably moderate to high growth in the Middle East. So I think we will carry on with that trend growth maybe slightly less than H1. Right here your predecessor always said that at the moment there wasn’t anything that the rock bank was actively considering when it comes to MDA and kind of teaming up with with somebody else out there now with you haven’t taken up a firm position within the bank. Is that strategy beginning to shift. Are you more keen on deals. Is this a better time to do deals. Yeah so I think what Peter’s strategy was I would agree with that. We are a challenger bank. I mentioned to you we have added twenty five thousand net new customers in the half and I think we have a lot of scope to do much more. And and in a much more engaging and deeper way with the clients that we have and the clients we can serve as a me. And it is a growing sector of the economy. You’re seeing lots of entrepreneurialism coming in lots of talented individuals coming setting up a fund for themselves. We are right in the middle of that growing sector and I think we will continue to try and build the bank and the mothership to a much stronger position than than we have today. If you had one message for the central bank for the regulators that would perhaps improve the resiliency of the US financial system what would it be. What are you telling them. Maybe already today. Yes I think they’re working pretty closely with them. I really appreciate especially coming from the UK. Customer protection framework a semi market conduct that the central bank has launched and the banks are now upping their game in terms of transport affordability.

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