The Egyptian Banking Institute (EBI) will launch e-learning services in 2018, according to Abdel Aziz Nossier, the institute’s executive director.
In an interview with Daily News Egypt, Nossier said that the EBI has completed the infrastructure work and prepared the specialised experts necessary to provide these services to its bank and non-bank clients.
In this interview, Nossier reveals the efforts of the EBI to serve banking sector employees and bank clients.
Here is the transcript of the interview:
What is a simplified definition of the EBI?
The EBI is the training arm of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), which was established in 1991 with the aim of developing and improving the skills of the banking sector’s employees.
The institute has four branches, including two branches in Cairo, one branch in Alexandria, and one branch in Port Said. It has 30 lecture halls and nine computer labs.
What are the most important departments of the institute?
The institute consists of six departments offering training and assessment services, as well as three other supporting departments.
The largest department providing training services is the banking and finance operations department. This department provides training to banking professionals in the technical part of their business, such as credit, financing, risk, compliance, retail banking, and branch management through dozens of training programmes.
The second is the performance development department, which focuses on management training programmes, such as leadership, strategic management, and behavioural skills.
This department also includes the future leadership development programme and the youth leadership programme.
The third department is the management of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which provides training programmes for employees in the SME sectors of banks, as well as for clients who own such businesses and deal with banks.
The fourth department is the IT training department, which provides programmes related to the development of the information sector in banks, including computer and network security.
The fifth is the governance department and the executive leadership training, which is responsible for the governance programmes, and the departments related to the development of the skills of senior bank leaders such as board members, managing directors, and non-executive members.
The sixth department is the assessment department, which provides services to evaluate the banking sector at three levels, an assessment for recruitment, an evaluation for promotions, or an assessment for development.
What does assessment for recruitment mean?
Any bank that wants to appoint new employees comes to the institute and asks us to evaluate applicants for these jobs. We test them in several areas in agreement with the bank and the types of tests usually varies from one bank to another.
What about evaluation for development or promotions?
Each bank has a set of skills and criteria that needs the promotion candidates need to possess.
Therefore, it is the bank that determines the specifications it desires from an employee sent to us for assessment. Based on their grades, the promotion is determined or the appropriate tasks are assigned to them.
What about the supporting departments?
There is the total quality management, which is the department concerned with ensuring and confirming the quality of the educational process, and is specialised in the preparation and selection of lecturers, and evaluation of the scientific material being taught.
This department is also responsible for ensuring the commitment of the lecturers and all the educational process to the international accreditation standards obtained from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET). The ACCET has been officially recognised by the U.S. Department of Education since 1978.
The EBI was the first in Egypt to receive this accreditation in April 2009 for five years. The accreditation was renewed on December 2014 for another five years, and we await its renewal for a third time in 2019.
Another department is the international cooperation department, which is concerned with certificates and agreements with international institutions or universities. It is also concerned in organising field visits by the EBI to foreign countries to learn about the experiences of these countries and the latest experiences in the banking sector.
The third department is the department of research and awareness, which is concerned with all research and awareness-raising activities, as well as organising the annual conference of the institute, the publication of a quarterly magazine, and all related to activities and research competitions conducted by the institute.
What are the most important training courses offered by the institute?
The EBI has hundreds of training programmes, but there are several major programmes, the most important of which is the credit course, which is conducted by the department of banking operations, with a duration of six months.
The institute is constantly updating the scientific material for this course in line with the latest international applications in banking.
The second programme is the future leadership programme, which is presented by the institute once or twice a year. It concerns the senior candidates for leadership positions in the banking sector. It includes a theoretical part, as well as two visits to two developed countries, usually America, Switzerland, or Germany to learn about the latest international applications in the banking sector.
I would like to point out that a number of the programmes’ graduates are currently at the top of a number of Egyptian banks.
We also have an emerging young leaders programme, which is related to young bankers to qualify them for an advanced stage in banking.
The programme was offered in a lecture hall only, but the institute decided to add experimental training in external areas.
There is also a training for employment programme, which comes within the EBI’s social responsibility.
This programme serves both the banking sector and the community in general.
The banking sector suffers greatly from the absence of young experts suitable for banking work from university youth, which is important for banks that expand geographically and require qualified experts to join them.
It is no secret that we in Egypt suffer from a gap between the graduates and the level needed by the labour market. And we, at the institute, are working to bridge this gap.
Since 2008, the programme has been attended by more than 17,000 graduates from 17 public universities, including Cairo, Ain Shams, Banha, Zagazig, Mansoura, Tanta, Kafr El Sheikh, Damietta, Alexandria, Beni Suef, Assiut, South Valley, Sohag, Aswan, and Suez Canal, as well as Al-Azhar University, which recently joined.
This programme is offered through a grant provided by the CBE to students of public universities; a free grant, which is presented to students after passing several tests.
This programme is also offered to students of private universities for payment of certain fees, which vary according to the student’s grades in previous years.
In both cases, the student joins a programme of up to 132 hours of training. The student is then given a certificate at the end of the period after passing several tests.
A large number of graduates of this programme have already been enrolled in banks, as banks are keen to take advantage of such graduates who are eligible for banking work.
Are there programmes for SMEs?
I can say that since the CBE launched an initiative to finance and support SMEs in 2016, there has been a 30% increase in the number of trainees in this sector.
The institute has a number of programmes related to this sector, in addition to the development of its scientific material, as well as field visits to countries that have successful experiences in financing SMEs.
In this context, the institute has organised visits to Malaysia, Kenya, and other countries to identify new funding and support means for these projects.
The SME Certificate, which the institute intends to present in the coming period, is in cooperation with the Frankfurt School of Banking and Finance.
How many banks are receiving training programmes for their employees in this field?
There were 30 banks that trained their employees at the EBI SMEs unit in 2017.
It has not only stopped at the training, but some banks have asked the institute for technical consultations to establish specialised SMEs units, and the development of policies and regulatory procedures for these departments. We provide them with local and foreign expertise to help them in this regard.
What about the SME owners. Does the EBI train them?
The institute has trained hundreds of entrepreneurs on entrepreneurship, how to read budgets, how to develop a business plan for their project, feasibility studies, and marketing plans.
Moreover, the institute has trained 170 participants through the Ministry of Youth and Sports to be trainers for entrepreneurship, train other trainers, and so on, to increase the number of trainers.
What is the mechanism for SME owners to access the EBI training?
This is often done through the protocols signed by the institute with the bodies and ministries that send the owners of these projects to the institute, as well as some banks that want to train the owners of those projects who received loans from them.
What are the most prominent international bodies dealing with the EBI?
We deal with all known international bodies, both in obtaining programmes and training courses, field visits, or the recruitment of experts from them.
Among these institutions are Euromoney, Fitch Ratings, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, Moody’s, as well as Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, London School of Economics, and other universities.
What are the EBI’s resources?
The institute is a non-profit organisation that funds its services from more than one source. In general, the EBI receives fees in return for the training services it provides. In addition, the EBI receives annual subscriptions for the training services provided to the banks. These contributions vary according to the circumstances of each bank and their number of employees and trainees.
Where is the EBI positioned among training bodies in Egypt?
We are the first party in the Egyptian market to offer training and banking development services.
If we translate this in figures, the institute trains more than 50,000 trainees per year, more than 63,000 training hours, and more than 3,200 training programmes.
Where do the lecturers or trainers come from?
A large number of trainers are from the banking sector, and experts in their sectors, depending on the type of training programme.
The institute conducts a very rigorous selection process for these trainers to ensure they are eligible and qualified for training. We also invite international lecturers so that they can constantly develop them.
What will the institute offer in the coming period?
The institute will launch e-learning this year. This will be a training course offered through virtual education systems, whether using the internet or through electronic media used on computers. Non-bankers can also access this programme.
The institute has worked over the past period on the preparation of a team of workers and specialists, and the preparation of the infrastructure necessary to provide this type of education, and we are already ready to start.
The institute also has a ready-made number of programmes for this type of education, as well as its willingness to design any programme wanted by banks.
The trainee can get this programme anywhere in the bank and away from the training rooms of the institute, which saves time for bank employees.
What is the role of the institute in honing the skills of Egyptian bankers in dealing with international standards?
We are always aware of what is new in banking and related international standards, through the institute’s research and awareness department, in the framework of the institute’s keenness to make Egyptian bankers aware of all that is new.
Since April 2017, the institute has trained more than 300 trainees on the IFRS 9 standards. In January 2018, we also held a seminar attended by more than 100 employees in the banking sector to identify the dimensions of this new standard and the possibility of its application. The EBI will hold another seminar in February.
In 2017, the institute trained 85 trainees on Basel standards and conducted several training programmes on Basel III measures.
What is the role of the institute in financial education?
The institute started the “Alashan Bokra” (Shaping the Future) initiative to educate children and young people financially in 2012. The number of beneficiaries has so far reached 5.5 million children and youth.
The institute has materials and programmes available on its Facebook page to educate children and young people. The institute’s efforts have been crowned with five international awards in this regard.
The institute’s training for employment programme also includes educational programmes for students who are prepared to work in the banking sector.
The institute has also prepared the initial conception of the national strategy for financial education, in cooperation with a number of ministries and bodies and about 12 banks, and we are continuously communicating with various parties to activate this strategy.