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Going digital a social cause at National Bank of Egypt

The oldest Egyptian bank is now in the thick of ushering in digitization:

Set up in June 1898, National Bank of Egypt is the oldest bank in Egypt and had during the 1950s enacted the role of the regulator. It was nationalized in 1960 and has since been functioning as a commercial bank with some regulatory functions still being carried out like having the responsibility of issuing and managing investment certificates for the Government in certain areas. The bank had assets worth Egyptian pounds 4.4 trillion at the end of 2022, growing at Egyptian pounds 1.2 trillion year on year. These assets constituted around 39% of the total assets of Egyptian banks.

The bank has been remarkedly contributing to the efforts in social responsibility in the country. Its primary contributions supported healthcare and education, upgrading slums, combating poverty, alleviating the distress of imprisoned indebted persons, and empowering disabled persons, as well as supporting women. The total contributions to such causes amounted to Egyptian pounds 10.7 billion in 7 years.

PARTNERING MASTERCARD

The bank has been an early starter in digitizing its operations. It had taken up various projects in areas such as AI and omni-channel marketing. It had also projects that ensured high level of customer experience. One such recent project is in the realm of digital payment solutions and the bank has partnered with Mastercard. The partnership, announced in late 2023, entitles the bank to have access to the best-in-class solutions, which are expected to help segments of unbanked and underbanked Egyptians to be brought into the formal economy.

The bank already has a sound tech infrastructure. It has some 6700 ATMs across the country and nearly 470,000 POS machines. It has several online banking services to meet the aspirations of its 7.3 million customers. It uses AI Ahly Net, its website, to expand its e-banking services to its customers and to provide new alternative channels for services.

WEBSITE IS CRUCIAL

The services offered through Al Ahly Net include:

  • Viewing and reviewing all types of accounts, certificates, deposits, and loans
  • Inquiring about purchase, or redeem mutual funds
  • Creating or modifying investment accounts
  • Transferring funds between own corporate accounts within the bank
  • Transferring funds to e-wallets inside Egypt, and
  • Using the multiple transfer service which enables one to process more than one internal/domestic transfer faster and in one step only

The bank aims to use its e-banking facilities to expand the concept of financial inclusion. It is now proposing to introduce several new services like buying and redeeming Platinum savings certificates and a number of other certificates and saving instruments in different currencies, and linking, terminating, and amending long-term deposits, and opening sub-accounts for clients.

The bank also has a wallet, NBE PhoneCash, which has some 1.6 million customers. Besides, several of its branches are electronic service branches, which aim to reduce cash transactions drastically. It has some 650 branches. The bank has put in more than US$500 million over 5 years in improving its technology infrastructure.

TIE-UP WITH RIPPLENET

The bank has been a member of RippleNet, the decentralized global network of banks and payment providers using Ripple’s distributed financial technology, which ensures real-time messaging, clearing and settlement of financial transactions. The bank has been using this blockchain-based network for cross border payments. It has tied up with Lulu International Exchange, the United Arab Emirates currency exchange firm.

The bank has a service for corporate users – NBE Mobile – Corporate. This service offers a state-of-the-art, easy-to-use and secure banking experience, available anywhere and anytime. The service enables users to instantly view and review all types of accounts, certificates, deposits, and loans, use biometric authentication, inquire about purchase or redemption of mutual funds, transfer funds and view account activity among others.

Recently, the bank has further strengthened Al Ahly Net and introduced a slew of services. Through these services, the bank endeavors to motivate customers to use digital channels to meet their various financial needs. It is also designed to allow greater ease for its customers, by reducing the frequency and numbers of customers visiting the branches in person. Nearly 3 million customers are registered on the Al Ahly Net for various services. The new services include facilities for undertaking money transfers between local accounts using the IBAN system. Additionally, customers are also able to undertake transfers to electronic wallets through the ACH network, with the ability to make payments through the Fawry electronic payment service.

Customers can also activate the Hard Token device, which is used to complete financial operations inside or outside the bank through digital channels. All services are available to customers without the need for their physical presence at a bank branch.

National Bank of Egypt has forsaken the tag of being the oldest bank in the country to overhaul its existing infrastructure to have faster testing, more centralized management, quicker deployment and lower costs. It is a continuous process for the bank to invest in infrastructure and technology to provide advanced digital services.

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This article has been compiled based on publicly available information on the web, particularly the bank’s own website.


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