Qatar Islamic Bank is the most efficient bank in the Middle East and Africa, emerging first among the largest 100 banks in the MEA 200 rankings in 2021. The bank's cost-to-income ratio (CIR) of 20.1% is twice as efficient as the ranging's aggregate CIR. The efficiency is credited to the 12.6% increase in operating income to $1.49 billion in 2020 while cutting operational expenses by 0.9%.

As to the average CIR per country of the top 100 largest banks, Qatar ranked first with 24.7%, followed by Algeria and Egypt with 24.8 %and 32.2%, respectively.

Notably, five of the 10 banks in the ranking are Qatari banks. The pandemic has prompted leading Qatari banks to strengthen their digital services. They established real-time transfers, contactless payment systems, and self-service transactions. In addition, the Qatari central bank stressed the importance of leveraging fintech as a financial industry enabler; going digital not only promotes financial inclusion by lowering costs and obstacles to accessing financial services, but also increases financial institutions' overall operational efficiency.

Qatar National Bank, MEA 200’s largest and eighth-most efficient bank, reported that digital and remote channels accounted for 98% of all retail transactions in Qatar. Currently, Qatar’s internet penetration rate is at 99.7%.

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