Against the backdrop of the deteriorating Eurozone crisis, a number of foreign banks, namely BNP Paribas, Piraeus and NSGB have announced their exit plans from the Egyptian market. Contrary to such a trend, HSBC has reinforced its presence in Egypt, pledging further investments within the framework of a holistic expansion strategy.
During a media roundtable discussion the bank’s MENA regional head of retail banking and wealth management, Francesca McDonagh, announced the bank’s plan to open three new branches this year to cope with the growing residential developments in Egypt.
The bank’s expansion plan also includes a virtual dimension. “The increased use of social media is now well-established in Egypt,” McDonagh commented, “which is why we will be announcing very soon the launch of mobile banking.” The bank has already began experimenting with the service among its employees, and it will be available to customers by the beginning of next month, said head of retail banking and wealth management of HSBC Egypt, Raja Sen.
This type of service will be the first of its kind in Egypt, offering clients access to their bank accounts via a smartphone application.
Turning to the topic of Islamic banking in Egypt, McDonagh stated despite HSBC having experience of Islamic banking in Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, they were waiting for a “definitive view” on regulations from the Central Bank of Egypt, so didn’t have any plans for the time being.
McDonagh said the bank was putting behind it accusations of money laundering and funding officials of the previous regime, adding HSBC had apologised for this during an appearance at a United States senate hearing.
She added that due to this experience, the bank had identified opportunities for significant improvements in terms of the bank’s global alignment strategy, increasing investment in the bank’s compliance resources as well as raising the definition of global standards for their employees worldwide to ensure that the bank is operating at the highest ethical standards