Mohamed El DIB, Chairman and Managing Director at QNB ALAHLI discusses the banking sector in Egypt and responds to our questions about QNB ALAHLI.
QNB ALAHLI has been in the Egyptian market close to 40 years. When you first began retail activities you operated 7 branches. You now have over 200 branches. What are the biggest challenges and opportunities you see facing the banking sector in Egypt? How is QNB ALAHLI contributing towards the growth and progress of the industry?
We have succeeded over previous years to maintain our robust financial strength in terms of growth, profitability and low non-performing loan ratio despite the continuous changing environment given Egypt’s challenging economic situation and the regional instability, this is a strong evidence of the resilience of our business model as we continue to offer new products and services to best suit the changing market and generate sustainable growth and profit as the bank provides dedicated products to the various market segments , with competitive offering. And in terms of customer satisfaction we managed to establish strong bonds with our various clientele whether large domestic corporations, subsidiaries of multinational companies, medium caps, as well as SMEs and retail.
As Egypt is passing quite well with its ambitious economic reforms program, we see lots of investment and business opportunities in all economic sectors which offer strong potential for the banking industry. The Bank is also focusing on financial inclusion initiatives and see good growth opportunities in retail banking as well as SMEs, very small and micro enterprises business.
Our ambitious strategy in the Egyptian market aims to further expand and reach all our customers in all governorates of the Republic, an area where we have already taken huge steps, as QNB ALAHLI has reached more than 200 branches in different governorates. We aim to cover more areas with new branches with the same level of service that our customers are used to and more, at the same time strengthening all branches with state-of-the-art banking technology while relying on our highly qualified and trained staff to deliver superior customer satisfaction.
The Bank also has been paying increasing attention to digitalization by investing in new technology and introducing digital solutions to its clients. The Bank has maintained its position in the Egyptian market, achieved remarkable growth in loan portfolios, increased market share, increased returns, and maintained asset quality. This is a direct result of its strategy as a business partner committed to its clients through balanced policies to work through the usual challenges, all of which aim at positioning QNB ALAHLI as first choice for customers through excellent customer service and the delivery of high quality products and services covering large segments such as corporate banking or retail through the bank’s subsidiaries all directly contributing to the welfare of the economy.
Finally, we are keen to stay in a close proximity and close relationship to our clients with access to up to minute information, which has helped in approaching clients as a universal bank offering a long list of products and services maximizing our return while still generated value to our customers, with strong operational efficiency, and prudent risk management where returns are maintained at good levels The bank knows quite well that its successes could not have been achieved without dedication of its 5400+ employees. Thus, the bank is keen on investing in its manpower and developing their skills to cope with the latest global banking systems through an organized training plan that covers all the bank employees as a key of success for any institution.
Has the demand for credit from corporates increased?
Yes, especially for capex financing given the slowdown in investments during the past few years. In addition, financing for short term working capital needs is growing given the increase of material and operating costs.
In what ways does your corporate banking division assist clients in managing their risk and enhance their revenue?
We pay high attention to advising corporate clients on solutions to their financial needs offering them advice on available alternatives, and guide them to reach optimization of their resources maintaining a good balance and minimizing financial risks. While we do that for all corporate clients, we have a dedicated team to advice clients on major projects and investments.
Can you tell us more about QNB ALAHLI’s unique business model used for SME clients?
QNB ALAHLI is a leading bank in approaching the SMEs. We developed products, packages, financing programs, and advisory services to fulfil the banking needs of this sector and help them develop and grow their businesses. As we strongly believe in the importance of this sector, and its positive contribution to the national economy we have availed teams of trained specialists and Relationship Mangers capable of serving this sector in our branches.
In line with the Central Bank of Egypt unified definition of Small and Medium Enterprises and subsequent initiatives aiming at developing this sector, the bank has introduced different types of financial and non-financial banking services catering for the special needs of this specific segment.
We have a dedicated business line that serves this promising segment, and we have been paying increasing attention to the very small and micro enterprises segment as well.
How is technology impacting the way you do business?
Over the past few years, technology was one of the main issues on the bank management’s table, as it proved to be one of the best ways to help us reach out to new customers and provide the best service possible for long-term customers, as well as an efficient medium that facilitates availability of our premium products and helps our clients develop their businesses and manage their daily accounts, a feat which helped the bank to accomplish tremendous achievements. As technology is constantly evolving, adapting to these continuous technological developments is vital to the survival of any institution. At QNB ALAHLI, we are always keen on merging these new tools and applications in our day to day operations, as well as, in the products and services offered to our customers to help them achieve more with less effort accordingly;
- We re-launched our Retail Internet banking service that offers our clients full visibility of their accounts, cards, loans, and deposits, allowing them to perform transfers within their own accounts or to other beneficiaries inside QNB ALAHLI as well as external transfers to other banks, all performed instantly, and conveniently with the highest security standards in the industry.
- A new mobile phone banking application was also launched, this new application gives access to our customers to inquire their accounts, transfer between own accounts, and get the latest offers and discounts as well as other information such as QNB ALAHLI branches and ATM’s locations, we are putting the final touches to launch QNB ALAHLI E-Wallet which will offer our clients a variety of payment services to cope with the quick pace of life by redefining the way we perform our daily financial transactions. QNB ALAHLI E-Wallet will allow bill payments directly from mobile devices in a convenient, fast and secure way.
- This year proved as usual the pioneer role QNB AA assumes in the market as it launches for the first time in Egypt QNBAA m-Visa, a seamless and secure solution for instant mobile cash payments through smartphones in partnership with Visa, the global payment technology company. M-Visa is expected to contribute to the growth of easy and secure digital commerce for financial institutions, traders and consumers as well as accelerate Egypt’s direction towards a non-monetary economy.
At the start of this year you launched mVisa. Can you tell us more about this service and the benefits?
QNB ALAHLI has recently launched m-Visa service in cooperation with Visa International. m-Visa will play a great role in expanding the field of accepting digital payments as it’s considered a perfect solution for a number of problems and dangers that face merchants when dealing with cash.
Cardholder can capture QR code through their smart phone camera to perform the transaction and debit their cards. Worth mentioning that QNB ALAHLI is the first bank to launch this service in MENA region, which confirms the bank’s leadership in availing the latest innovative solutions in the Egyptian market and specifically in the field of digital payments building on the widespread of mobile phones with a subscriber base of around 96 million subscribers. The tool provides convenience and almost no interest cost on the client side while it is a secured medium of payment. Can you tell us more about your agreement with Mubasher Financial Group and what this means for investors?
The Agreement with Mubasher company offers clients of both firms who are interested in stock market trading opportunities to sign up for trading accounts on the Egyptian Stock Market through Mubasher while they can do that through opening a bank account with any of QNB ALAHLI branches all over Egypt, benefiting from our wide range of banking products and services