Digital makes banking simple

Reported by: |Updated: July 25, 2016

Suvo Sarkar: Senior executive VP & group head – Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Emirates NBD, speaks about making banking simple:

Brian Pereira: How are you making banking simple and enhancing the customer experience?

Suvo Sarkar, Senior Executive Vice President & Group Head – Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Emirates NBD
Suvo Sarkar, Senior Executive Vice President & Group Head – Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Emirates NBD

Suvo Sarkar: The core focus at Emirates NBD is to offer a superior customer experience by making banking simple and convenient. In the digital age, this means we offer frictionless solutions via our online and mobile banking platforms so that customers can conduct a range of transactions – from remitting funds to depositing a cheque anytime, anywhere at the click of a button.

We take pride in creating first-to-market innovations and I strongly believe that our pioneering service is a key differentiator and separates us from our competition. For instance, DirectRemit, our funds remittance platform, is one of our most successful product launches as it enables expatriates in the UAE to transfer funds back to their home countries within 60 seconds at competitive exchange rates and zero fees.

We are beginning to see the financial results of our digitization efforts with our multichannel customers holding more products with us and having higher satisfaction scores. As much as 8% to 15% of our new business now comes via digital channels, depending on the product.

Emirates NBD has linked its mobile app to the Smart Dubai Happiness Meter. What led to this idea and how has it helped you gain mindshare (and improve business) among customers?

Being the largest bank in the UAE, we have always aligned ourselves with and supported the government of Dubai’s visions and objectives. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, is a true visionary and he has envisaged Dubai as a model ‘smart city’ as well as a city that values the happiness of its citizens and residents. As a long standing player in the UAE banking sector, we are contributing to his vision by assessing the happiness of our own customers through our digital platforms. The initiative has provided us valuable insight into our customers’ needs and expectations and will help us hone our service offerings to deliver a truly unparalleled customer experience.

The bank has won multiple awards. More recently, it won the ‘Best Mobile Banking Experience’ at Smart Cards & Payments Awards 2016. What are the key differentiators?

Our award-winning mobile banking app has over 100 functionalities that simplify our customers’ lives with new features such as full biometric login, the first remote cheque deposit feature in the region, mobile queuing ticket for branches, which allows customers to obtain a token for their branch transactions via the app, and social banking using Twitter.

One of our recent offerings, the Emirates NBD Fitness account, which is a fitness-based savings account designed for the Apple Watch, heralds a new phase in digital banking as it effectively combines customers’ health and lifestyle goals with their banking needs. Our digital remittance service, Direct Remit, covers three countries today and will be expanded to 10 countries by end of next year.

Every product and service that our app offers is made to convenience the lifestyle of our customers. The results speak for themselves and the Emirates NBD mobile banking app is consistently ranked No. 1 in the finance category in the UAE App Store, with an average rating of 4.5/5.

The bank announced that it would invest AED 500 million over the next three years towards digital innovation and multichannel transformation of processes, products and services. Can you elaborate on this please?

Our AED 500 million investment is towards digital innovation and multichannel transformation and will focus on catering to the new age of online and mobile savvy customers, a majority of whom prefer digital-only interactions with the bank. The investment will focus on five key areas: end-to-end process transformation, smoother, faster and more responsive customer interface, omni-channel experience, fortification of cyber security and anti-fraud capabilities, and enhancement data management and analytics.

The first step towards this transformation will be to build the UAE’s first digital only bank, made by the customers and for the customers, that will use social input and provide customers with self-service money management tools and other financially beneficial applications.

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