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Interview: Ibrahim Dabdoub, NBK
The Group CEO of the National Bank of Kuwait, Ibrahim Dabdoub, tells Trends about how the global economic meltdown was good for the Gulf.
January 27, 2010 10:50 by Julien Hawari
You said recently that the crisis would have people going back to basics and that it would have an impact on strategy because of the changed business and regulatory environment. Why did you say that?
The world of Paul Volcker did not contribute to the economy, to be honest.
It is not that I am against investment banking, but in general I think one of the main causes of the crisis in the U.S. was investment banking’s excessive financial engineering. The model of investment banking as it has been since the 1990s should be revisited.
You’ve expanded in Turkey and in Egypt, two large markets.
In Egypt we are doing well. We have a moderately large bank. We have 32 branches and we want to open another eight. It’s doing well.
Egypt is a large country. Some 80 million people. We want to test the waters in Turkey. We have a small participation in a small bank. We are thinking now of a larger presence. We have a lot of hope in Turkey and I think the country will play a major role in the Middle East. Not only from an economic point of view but also politically, because there is a void in the region.
What are your plans regarding Islamic banking?
We acquired 40 percent of a small Islamic bank called Boubyan Bank. We hope to acquire more of that bank. Anyhow, we control it now; we manage it.
So the crisis was a good thing?
It was good for us. It allowed us to buy Boubyan Bank.