Enriched Banking: Q&A With Arab Bank CEO Nemeh Sabbagh

Arab Bank CEO Nemeh Sabbagh talks about the bank’s regional strength and its digital platform for corporate clients.

11. Nemeh Sabbagh

Global Finance (GF): How has Arab Bank managed to stay on top in a politically and economically challenging region?

Nemeh Sabbagh: There are several factors that account for Arab Bank’s consistent solid performance despite the region’s challenging circumstances. Most importantly is the bank’s deep understanding of the region, a distinct expertise accumulated through its extensive operations across MENA over close to nine decades. Also, Arab Bank’s resilience and success are the result of a sound institutional approach, prudent operating policies, proven cross-border capabilities and well-diversified income streams. As one of the largest global Arab banking networks, the bank has managed to grow its business and profitability year-on-year under volatile and changing conditions, while maintaining the quality of its asset portfolio, ensuring the safety of deposits and delivering steady returns to shareholders.

GF: How does your ArabiConnect platform meet the evolving needs of corporations?

Sabbagh: With ArabiConnect, Arab Bank offers corporations an empowered banking experience. The corporate end-to-end solution not only provides operational efficiency and streamlined processes, it is also designed to enrich the transaction banking experience of corporations.

ArabiConnect includes an intuitive interface, offering corporations a single entry-point to access all of their accounts and transactions, featuring comprehensive 360 visibility across all group entities, locally and across borders. Corporations further enjoy efficient cost-effective transacting across a wide range of functions, be it cash management, payments and receivables management, or trade finance.

In a fast-paced business environment, speed and agility have become increasingly critical. ArabiConnect can be accessed through PCs, tablets and smart mobile phones, giving corporations the ability to execute their transactions online from the channel of their choice. Furthermore, ArabiConnect incorporates a complete management solution for trade finance business, with a framework that offers full overview and speed of execution across various trade products, leading to better risk management, and empowering corporations to be efficient and competitive in today’s business environment. Additionally, the platform offers specialized liquidity management and cash flow forecasting modules to forecast and optimize client positions in all currencies across their group.

Arab Bank aims to be a banking partner for its corporate clients. ArabiConnect is specifically engineered around corporate needs, offering innovative and secure features, convenience, 24/7 availability, and a specialized Corporate Business Center catering specifically to corporations.

GF: Where are the biggest growth opportunities in the region?

Sabbagh: The banking sector can play an important role in providing financial services for increasingly important public-private partnerships for the provision of public infrastructure or supporting privatization efforts. The expected recovery in trade is also an opportunity for increasing the financing of trade, whether intra-regional or international. Emphasis on improving financial inclusion in the MENA region presents opportunities for broadening the net of customers benefiting from financial services, including small and medium enterprises. Also, there will be opportunities to contribute to the reconstruction efforts as it gets underway in several countries.