By Walid Abdel Azim
Sahar Al-Damaty, Deputy Managing Director of Emirates NBD in Egypt, speaks with Daily News Egypt on the bank’s plans for 2015.
What are the most important sectors of the bank?
The banking retail sector is one of the most important within the bank, as it brings in a very high rate of profits through car and individual loan funding. These represent 20% of the volume of our retail banking portfolio. Our total retail banking portfolio is worth EGP 3.3bn, and the bank is targeting growth between 20%-25% this year.
What is the bank’s plan to achieve this?
Our plan includes increasing our geographic spread and opening 30 branches, bringing the total to 100 by the end of 2017, in addition to expanding our ATMs. We will also be opening small branches in preparation to submit a request to the Central Bank of Egypt with the number of branches, as we need the Central Bank [of Egypt]’s approval in order to open them. The bank owns a network of 70 branches at present.
What is the size of the bank’s credit portfolio?
The total credit portfolio of the bank is EGP 8bn, and the bank is hoping to grow this by 30% throughout fiscal year (FY) 2014/2015, to EGP 12bn by the end of 2015.
What are the bank’s financing interests?
The bank is very interested in the Suez Canal projects, and plans to expand funding for those projects greatly following the investment bank tenders that will be offered in March. The bank is considering arranging a loan for an electricity company operating on the Egyptian market. I won’t disclose any details about the funding before it is approved, but a decision is supposed to be made on the request this month.
The bank is considering funding various sectors, the most prominent of which are the construction and new and renewable energy sectors. The bank’s new strategy includes supplying EGP 3bn to finance national projects to be offered by the Egyptian government over the coming year. It also includes expanding financing for new and renewable energy projects, in addition to food and construction projects which have witnessed unprecedented popularity over the past three months.
What are the reasons behind an increase in profits during FY 2013/2014?
The main reasons that led to the rise of private bank profits during FY 2013/2014 were the successful strategies adopted by banks in providing several products in the retail banking sector, which represents one of the most important sectors generating profits in banks. Total bank deposits reached EGP 18bn by the end of last December, and the new branches are expected to attract new deposits that may exceed EGP 2bn.
What about the real estate funding initiative?
Regarding the real estate funding initiative that will be offered by the Central Bank of Egypt, a meeting will be held next week to determine the extent to which the bank will participate in the initiative. The bank’s total funding portfolio for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) amounts to EGP 2.4bn, representing 30% of the total credit portfolio of the bank, which amounted to EGP 8bn at the end of 2014. The bank plans to expand these numbers vigorously after increasing its geographic reach by opening new branches.
What about Emirates NBD’s vision for the Egyptian market?
Emirates NBD intends to expand extensively on the Egyptian market in the near future. Total bank assets amounted to EGP 23bn by the end of December 2014, and the size of these assets is expected to double over the next two years, especially following the application of the bank’s expansion plan. The bank is confident in the Egyptian economy and optimistic about the future.
The Emirates NBD deal and its acquisition of BNP Paribas are different from any other deals that have recently taken place on the market, and the aim of the deal is to support Egypt, not simply to make a profit. The bank does not plan to provide Islamic banking products at the moment, due to the small size of this market in Egypt, and as the bank also does not currently have a licence to practice Islamic banking at present.