Hassan Ghanem, Chairperson and Managing Director of the Housing and Development Bank, stressed that digital transformation comes on the list of the bank’s priorities, as the HDB provides different and competitive electronic services.
He revealed, in an interview with Daily News Egypt, the bank’s intention to launch instant money transfer service during 2022, and to digitise other banking services for its customers.
Ghanem said that the HDB also aims to open eight new branches during the current year in several regions, especially in the New Administrative Capital.
What were the steps taken to implement the bank’s digital transformation plan?
Digital transformation comes on the list of our priorities, as the bank provides different and competitive electronic services to customers, whether Internet banking, mobile wallets, and QR Code payment services. The second phase of the plan included expanding internet and mobile banking services, to exceed 50 services, including transferring money inside and outside the bank, opening accounts online, buying new certificates, managing customer cards, paying credit card bills, and many other services.
Our internet and mobile banking services increased by 144%. The number of subscribers to our internet and mobile banking services increased by 130% during 2021, and the volume of digital transactions also increased by 295%.
Moreover, we intend to launch instant money transfer services during 2022, in addition to digitising more banking services.
What is your plan for geographical expansion?
The HDB’s expansion strategy comes in line with the Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) policy to enhance financial inclusion. We adopt a plan to cover the whole country, and open new branches that provide all banking services to increase the bank’s market share. We also aim to expand in marketing our services so as to attract more customers.
Moreover, the HDB will develop new banking products that fit the region of each branch. The bank also creates distinctive products and services for people with disabilities, in addition to adjusting branches to allow access for this segment.
The bank’s branch network reached more than 100 branches. We target to open eight new branches during 2022 in different governorates, especially in the New Administrative Capital.
The bank is also implementing a plan to install more ATMs nationwide. The number of our ATMs has so far reached about 400 machines.
Our newest addition was the HDB Royal VIP service which provides special treatment for high-profile customers at large branches.
What is the bank’s plan to launch new products during 2022?
The HDB managed, within a short period, to achieve a great leap in the development and modernisation of its banking products to individuals and companies, with continuous follow-up on the global and local banking market.
During 2021, the bank was able to obtain several international awards, including the fastest growing commercial bank in Egypt, the fastest growing bank in issuing credit cards, the fastest growing bank in the field of retail banking, and the fastest growing bank in car financing in Egypt.
In 2022, we seek to complete our expansion plan, compete vigorously, and provide a variety of banking products that cover the needs of all customer segments in line with the requirements of the banking market and the principles of competition.
New credit and financing products and services will be launched, which are represented in several programmes suitable for all segments, to flexibly finance small, medium and large projects, with the launch and development of other services, in light of the bank’s strategy supporting financial inclusion, and attracting new segments of society that are not sufficiently covered by banking services as well as by providing innovative banking products and services that meet the needs of current or prospective customers, in addition to keeping pace with the digital trend, in order to complement the development plan set by the bank to expand banking services of all kinds.
What about the bank’s contribution to the initiatives launched by the Central Bank?
We had the leadership in the field of financing and urban development, as the volume of funds issued to clients within the initiative of the CBE for mortgage finance, since 2014, has reached nearly EGP 7bn. The number of clients that have been financed under this initiative reached about 70,300 clients. The bank aims to offer EGP 1.8bn worth mortgage finance under the CBE initiative during 2022.
Within the framework of the Central Bank’s initiative for supporting small companies, the value of the disbursed facilities amounted to EGP 1.650bn, bringing the total funding for major companies and small projects to about EGP 2.778bn.
The HDB was also one of the first banks to participate in the implementation of the Central Bank’s initiative to replace obsolete cars, granting car loans of EGP 18m, with a new phase to follow.
How does the HDB support small and medium enterprises (SMEs)?
The Bank has a positive role in adopting a set of programmes and initiatives to provide job and training opportunities for youth, support SMEs and handicrafts, and enhance local industries
In line with the state’s directions in this regard, the Central Bank directed that 20% of the credit portfolios of banks be allocated to financing SMEs in 2019. The HDB achieved that percentage at the time, and the CBE recently issued instructions to banks to increase this percentage to 25% by the end of 2022. The plan includes industrial, service, and renewable energy sectors. This plan is followed up on a quarterly basis.
How does the bank approach CSR?
One of the most important core values and principles of the HDB is to be a responsible and effective member of society and to achieve sustainable development goals while adhering to the principle of governance, and social and environmental standards.
The Bank seeks to contribute to initiatives and programmes that have a tangible impact on sustainable development, and meet the needs of society with optimal use of resources.
The healthcare and education sectors come at the top of the bank’s priorities in the activities of social responsibility and sustainable development, in the belief of the bank that the first step to achieving a comprehensive social renaissance and creating a conscious generation capable of advancing society is to contribute to the development and support of the educational process, and to achieve the principle of providing learning opportunities for all.
The bank has a major role in participating in initiatives that improve the educational environment for students and provide all available capabilities to raise the level and ability of students, in addition to providing literacy programmes and university scholarships.
The bank has strengthened its efforts in serving and supporting the healthcare sector by launching a series of effective initiatives, sponsoring, and supporting many hospitals, and participating in protocols, all of which aim to create a positive and sustainable impact on this sector, which is one of the most important files that need support because of its significant and direct impact on society.
The bank gives a top priority in the activities of its programme for social responsibility and sustainable development to support people of determination, with the aim of providing them with care and providing them with the capabilities and special needs, whether educational, health or facilitating daily life, in order to integrate them into society
The HDB is also keen to support marginalized groups such as orphans and residents of the poorest and border areas, and works to support them by providing basic needs such as housing, education, health and other basic rights that guarantee them a decent life.
The bank has a positive role in adopting a set of programmes and initiatives to provide job opportunities and training for youth, support SMEs and handicrafts, and enhance local industries. Women’s empowerment initiatives receive great attention in the sustainable development plan of the HDB in line with the state plan and the directives of the Central Bank. The Bank is also keen to participate in initiatives that provide them with training, education, and job opportunities, as well as initiatives to pay off the dues of women detained for debt.