Number of individual customers in the Egyptian banking sector is around 6 million-8 million customers, said Hisham Okasha, chairman of the National Bank of Egypt (NBE).
Okasha’s comments came during the 7th annual conference of the Egyptian Banking Institute (EBI) that kicked off last week to discuss banking innovation.
Discussing the significance of financial inclusion in the banking sector, Okasha said it will increase the base of individual customers. He added that it is currently low compared to 54 million eligible voters, 94 million mobile users and 34 million Internet users in Egypt.
Okasha noted that banks should focus on the family sector, to benefit from the volume of its retail banking operations that approached EGP 1tn in total, representing 70% from banking deposits in Egypt.
As for loans directed to the family sector, Okasha explained that it amounts to EGP 160bn, representing 25% from granted loans in total.
Supporting financial inclusion, Egypt’s banking sector has started offering developed services, such as electronic payments for customs and taxes, Okasha said. He noted that banks are currently working to fully “automate” salaries payment of the 6.5 million employees working in the public sector.
“Banks had earlier issued 2.1 million credit cards for public employees, but 70% of them were not activated nor used by customers throughout the past years,” Okasha further said.
During his speech, Okasha called on banks to expand their activities and reach customers through ATM machines that are currently amounting to 7,000 ATMs in Egypt, 10 ATMs for every 100,000 customers.
Comparing the amount to Arab countries, Okasha stated that for every 100,000 customers there are 69 ATMS in Kuwait, 64 ATMS in Saudi Arabia and 23 ATMs in Morocco. As for Russia, there are 182 ATMs for every 100,000 customers, said Okasha, citing World Bank statistics.
By the beginning of 2015, the NBE has opened new 14 branches, and is planning to open new 25 branches in the coming few months. The bank is currently setting a medium-term plan for geographical expansion, which include opening 200 branches in three years, according to Okasha.
The total amount of NBE’s loan portfolio has registered EGP 136bn, meanwhile, the net loan portfolio of the bank amounted to EGP 129bn, Okasha noted, adding that the current deposits portfolio EGP 405bn.
NBE is also planning to increase the portfolio of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from EGP 12.5bn to EGP 15bn this year.
The bank’s assets exceeded EGP 500bn in June, with EGP 117m in loans and EGP 200bn in bills and treasury bond underwriting. The bank hopes to raise the assets rates to between 1.5-2% by restructuring the bank’s investment portfolio.
Okasha said that the bank’s net profits exceeded EGP 3.5bn for FY 2013/2014 and EGP 3.1bn for FY 2012/2013.