Mohamed Aly, the CEO of ADIB-Egypt, explains how the bank has worked to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on its operations.
Global Finance (GF): As a customer-facing business, what precau- tions has ADIB-Egypt taken to ensure client safety and business continuity during the Coronavirus pandemic?
Mohamed Aly: In line with the Central Bank of Egypt recommendations, ADIB-Egypt has undertaken a range of important health and safety measures, including regularly disinfecting our bank headquarters and affiliated branches, implementing the mandatory use of facemasks and hand sanitiser for both customers and employees, cutting down on in-branch hours to reduce crowding, as well as allowing employ- ees to work from home where possible. To ensure the safety of our employees and customers, we launched a hotline for our associates, which provides professional advice and support in case of suspected COVID-19 cases.
In order to support our customers in weathering the economic challenges of the pandemic, we have allowed all existing customers to postpone credit repayments. We are also offering more digital prod- ucts and services to enabling remote, paperless transactions, which facilitate social distancing.
GF: The pandemic is accelerating the drive towards a cashless economy. How is ADIB-Egypt responding to this change?
Aly: Digital transformation is a crucial pillar of ADIB-Egypt’s business strategy and we had already taken significant steps towards trans- forming our bank in 2019. A key part of this vision focuses on enhancing customer experiences by streamlining services, increasing efficiency and offering even more tailored services. Of course, the pandemic has greatly accelerated this strategy and we are extremely pleased with the advances we have made this year. In the last quarter alone, we intro- duced both the ADIB contactless wearable bracelet, ADIB-Bracelet, and the ADIB contactless Meeza prepaid card, Masarify 3altayer Wallet.
The ADIB-Bracelet offers debit-card customers the option of contactless wristband payments to ensure faster and safer payment options that account for the new realities of COVID-19. Electronic
POS machines read the bracelet data remotely, allowing for social distancing. Our Meeza prepaid card also uses contactless payment technology to allow customers and non-customers to make contact- less purchases without having to touch the POS machine. Customers can register for this e-wallet through our website. We are also working on offering more Sharia-compliant digital products.
GF: What are ADIB-Egypt’s plans and priorities for the immediate future?
Aly: We remain committed to achieving impressive growth rates for the remainder of 2020 and in 2021 we will continue to expand in the Egyp- tian market. Our financing assets grew by 30 per cent year-on-year and our revenues increased by 5.5 per cent in the first half of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019. Nevertheless, we also took precautionary provisions for the expected impact of COVID-19.
We plan to continue consolidating our leadership position as a Sharia-compliant financial group by growing our subsidiaries ADIB CAPITAL and ADILEASE and we will be introducing new subsidiaries in the microfinance market and consumer finance segments. We
also plan to roll out more digital banking solutions, including digital financing, phase two of our smart wallets project and e-branches. We hope the Sovereign Sukuk Act will be passed into legislation before the end of the year so that we can add this to our offering. We will also be working to grow our recently launched ADIB-Egypt Charity Foundation, which focuses on education, health and community development.