By Tamara Pupic
First Gulf Bank from the UAE, Bank Muscat from Oman are said to be among those who have applied.
A number of GCC banks have reportedly applied to Qatari banking regulator to be granted licences to open branches in the state.
Up to 10 banks from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman have applied for licence to the Qatar Central Bank, an unnamed sources from the bank shared with local media yesterday.
Among them are First Gulf Bank from the UAE, Bank Muscat from Oman, and some Saudi and Kuwaiti banks, the source revealed.
Upon carefully studying their share in the GCC markets and their financial status, the authorities are to issue approval before the end of this year, and the banks might start operating in the first quarter of 2016.
Some of the banks are seeking the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) route to enter Qatar while others want to operate outside of it.
Qatar is granting licences to GCC banks on the condition that they would introduce innovative and non-conventional products and services to help improve the local market.
The new banks are also expected to contribute to the local economy by buying or leasing out property to set up branches and generating jobs.
The decision to allow GCC banks to open branches in Qatar is based on reciprocal arrangements among the GCC countries agreed by the region’s leaders at a summit held earlier this year.
A number of Qatari banks have also applied to set up operations in other GCC states as part of their expansion strategy.
The goal is part of a broader strategy to establish a full-fledged common regional market and a regional currency.