On 30 August, the Egyptian banking market welcomed a UAE newcomer, the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), to be the fifth Gulf bank to operate in Egypt with total assets of EGP 1.75 trillion.
In interview, ADCB managing director and CEO Ihab ElSewerky talked with Ahram Online about the bank’s strategy and how attractive the Egyptian market is to Gulf investors.
Ahram Online: What lured ADCB to enter the Egyptian market to be the fifth Gulf financial Institution to join the Egyptian banking system?
Ihab ElSewerky: Egypt and the UAE are linked with special ties that are built on coherence, cooperation and mutual respect. In addition, the UAE is the top international and Arab country in terms of foreign investments in the Egyptian market over recent years.
There is no doubt that the role of UAE banks operating in the Egyptian market should extend to contributing to development and transferring global experience to Egypt, especially that the Egyptian banking system is evolving at a rapid pace as a result of its competitiveness, which will ultimately benefit the Egyptian economy.
UAE banks also have a role to play regarding encouraging the Egyptian and foreign private sector to contribute to development and improvement plans, especially with the increasingly growth rates that have resulted from the successful economic reform programme that Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi launched, and the efforts of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) regarding eliminating restrictions on monetary policy in accordance with governance and transparency measures.
All these aspects have spurred the bank to enter the Egyptian market.
How do you see Egypt's new banking law, which has been approved recently, and the role it is expected to play in supporting the banking system in Egypt?
The law keeps up with best practices regarding banking systems globally and it is expected to cause a quantum leap in the Egyptian banking system, especially that it adopts all key international standards. This will enhance the state’s plans in economic development, uplift the efficiency of the banking body, and support the CBE and banks for the sake of resuming reform efforts, strengthening their financial structures, raising their capital and creating robust entities that are able to back the state in the development process.
What about ADCB’s strategy in Egypt and its expansion plans?
ADCB targets becoming the customers’ most preferred bank in the domestic market by providing upgrades and safe banking solutions and adopting a digital transformation breakthrough with a focus on achieving client satisfaction and sustainability.
Meanwhile, the bank is expected to play a critical role in the Egyptian market, as we intend to extend unprecedented and innovative banking services to clients built on an ambitious plan including establishing new branches to reach targeted clients.
ADCB’s strategy in Egypt focuses on five key pillars, including attaining growth through tapping into available opportunities in the domestic market, achieving sustainability through a deposits base, achieving a high degree of efficiency and quality regarding the services and financial products the bank provides, dealing with likely risks according to a clear strategy, attracting, keeping and improving bank employees capabilities in order to reach high performance levels.
The bank also adopts a package of strategic goals aiming at achieving rapid growth in the Egyptian market through introducing the same products that other banks provide, while extending new innovative products such as new payment solutions, wealth management programmes and concierge services, in addition to establishing partnerships with programme providers to provide accounting services for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Further, we are providing investment opportunities for Egyptian clients to invest in multiple assets, including financial markets and fixed income. In addition, the bank will support its clients’ growth through its operational transactions in Egypt, which include extending unique banking services and products that will be announced in the coming period.
What about the financial technology solutions the bank could provide?
ADCB adopts a vertical plan centred more on expanding in financial technology services and digitalisation than expanding in new branches with the global tendency to adopt financial technology services. Also, the bank targets upgrading safe banking services to clients and driving digital improvement in the market with a special focus on achieving sustainability and client satisfaction.
What new products has the bank announced for the Egyptian market?
New products include providing online and mobile phone banking services, in addition to launching an online banking services platform for companies in order to finance current commercial operations and cash management products. Moreover, ADCB is to design and carry out transactions that focus on providing an end-to-end service chain. On the other hand, the bank will focus on boosting banking services introduced to clients in Cairo, Alexandria, the Delta, Upper Egypt and Red Sea governorates.
How can ADCB's presence in Egypt enhance its position as the fifth biggest bank to operate in the Egyptian market and the third biggest operating bank in the UAE?
The Egyptian market has lots of incentives and advantages that make it the cherry on top of the cake for Gulf investments.
Currently, Egyptian banks’ clients constitute 33 percent percent of total adults among a population exceeding 100 million inhabitants, which reflects the significance of current opportunities that Gulf banks seek to tap to succeed in the banking market of Egypt, especially given the stability the Egyptian banking sector enjoys. Moreover, the Egyptian market enjoys an increase of capital yields, which makes it attractive to investors.