COVID-19 crisis accelerates implementation of digital development plan: Crédit Agricole

Hossam Mounir
10 Min Read

Crédit Agricole Egypt’s management is keeping in mind the future of the Egyptian banking sector, in line with the state’s plan to digitise financial services, said Pierre Finas, Managing Director of Crédit Agricole Egypt.

As a result, the bank is developing its services alongside offering new innovative services to achieve the highest level of satisfaction among customers.

After the crisis caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, Crédit Agricole Egypt became even more interested to speed up its digital development plan and expand dual branches network. This is with a view to provide unique banking services to as many customers as possible, whilst maintaining their safety and ensuring their comfort.

Finas’ remarks came during the bank’s celebration of the opening of its new Alex Bay branch in the Gleem district of Alexandria, and the reopening of the Alexandria Sporting Club branch last Thursday.

The two branches have adopted the “Banki Store” concept, which is considered an innovative model for branches that rely on a balance between digital services and banking consultations.

France’s Ambassador to Cairo Stéphane Romatet attended the ceremony, along with: Crédit Agricole Egypt Chairperson Assem Ragab, Deputy Managing Director and Chief Commercial Officer Wali El Din Lotfi, and board members of Alexandria Sporting Club.

Finassaid, “Today, we are proud of the bank’s journey, which started several years ago, and which has culminated in many prestigious awards for our digital services, whether for individuals or companies.

“Our interest in achieving digitalisation in banking services does not stop,” he added, “We are interested in the presence and strengthening of our branch network across the country, especially in the city of Alexandria, which today accounts for more than 15% of the bank’s total branch network.”

He also said that the bank’s development plan is part of its general group strategy that focuses on sustainability.

“Weare proud to publish the first sustainability report for Crédit Agricole Egypt for 2017-2019, with an integrated reporting system for the first time in Egypt,” Finas said, “The report covers all aspects of the bank’s work in an integrated manner to ensure a responsible growth of the bank’s activities and achieving sustainable value.”

He also said that the report highlights the bank’s transparency and its responsibility in working for the benefit of stakeholders, customers, employees, society, and the environment.

“Crédit Agricole Group is one of the leading banks in green financing,” Finas said, “The bank’s corporate and investment arm, CACIB, is participating in the first green bonds offering in Egypt, serving as a joint structural advisor and co-bookrunner.”

He added that part of Crédit Agricole Egypt’s strategy relies on providing innovative digital services for financial inclusion to deliver these services to different community groups in a bid to stimulate the digital economy.

“We launched an initiative targeting specific societies, starting this initiative with our partner of 40 years, the Alexandria Sporting Club, and converted its members’ access cards into prepaid cards that they can use for online and store purchases and make payments for government services,” Lotfi said, “We were not only targeting adult individuals, as we also target the youth under the age of 18, who are more reliant on technology. We want to help them understand digital payments and attract them to use these services.”

Lotfi also said that the bank is working to provide new services in response to customer requirements and anticipating their needs.

The bank has recently launched an advanced rewards programme, which rewards transactions made with various cards or digital services, and is also developing a network of ATMs to double their number during 2021.

The bank aims to launch 200 ATMs as part of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) initiative to launch 16,000 ATMs nationwide. The bank has also issued its first contactless card based on the idea of ​​recycling, out of the belief in the importance of preserving the environment and reducing the carbon footprint in all its activities.

According to Lotfi, the use of modern banking services is less expensive and achieves higher profit rates than traditional banking services.

“The bank will soon launch the fifth version of the Banki app, which, for the first time, will enable customers to submit instalment requests for their purchases and redeem their loyalty rewards points,” Lotfi said, “With these new features, the banki app will become an integrated one-stop-shop application for the convenience of our customers.”

He added that the bank is expected to launch the e-commerce service next year, after receiving CBE approval, and obtaining an online electronic collection licence for companies.

“During the last period, we witnessed an increase in demand for the use of digital services by individuals and companies, using Banki by Crédit Agricole Egypt,” Lotfi said, “About 50% of our customers have registered to use our digital service. This marks nearly a 25% increase compared to the same period last year.”

He noted that clients’ login rate into Banki services reached a total of 10 times per client. This brings the total logins, since the beginning of 2020, to over 6 million, up by 70% from last year.

The total financial transactions of individuals in the bank since the start of the year reached 1 million, reflecting a 30% increase compared to last year.

Digital transactions increased by 80%, reflecting the confidence of the bank’s customers in its digital services.

“This is why we are rewarding our customers with points on their digital transactions for the first time,” Lotfi said.

At the beginning of the year, Crédit Agricole Egypt opened three new branches offering its banki services in Cairo, namely in Hassan Al Maamoun in Nasr City, Al Rehab 2, and City Stars, bringing the total number of Banki Store branches to 13.

The Banki Store branches provide a number of services that deliver an excellent banking experience for customers, starting with a Digital Greeter to guide customers to their destination inside the branch.

It also provides the necessary support for all customers, whether or not they were registered to the bank’s online services. The Digital Greeter also assists customers to self-register for Crédit Agricole Egypt’s online services via smartphones and tablets running iOS or Android. Customers visiting any Banki store branch can also seek assistance and expert advice on various topics from the trained employees available via video calls.

Lotfi said that the small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) sector witnessed the highest growth among the bank’s sectors during this year, as it achieved a growth of 25%.

Lotfi told Daily News Egypt, on the sidelines of the of Banki branches opening in Alexandria, that the bank caters to about 7,000 small and medium companies, of which 1,000 joined the last two years. He stressed that the bank’s specially trained employees visit these clients at their locations.

He added that the bank’s share in the Egyptian market is 2%-3% in terms of assets, and that it seeks to increase this percentage in the coming period.

He emphasised that the bank’s solvency is strong, and that it has been able to take its capital up to EGP 5bn and comply with the CBE’s new law.

He pointed out that the bank’s default rate is under 1%, and that the number of clients benefiting from the CBE initiative to delay payment of loan instalment currently stands at 90,000. All clients are committed to repaying their loan instalments with by the end of CBE’s initiative.

He explained that corporate clients did not want to benefit widely from this initiative, given their desire to have liquidity and continued activity.



Share This Article