Digital Transformation: Egypt’s Largest Bank Inroduces New Services to Support Virtual Banking following COVID-19 Outbreak

The National Bank of Egypt (NBE), the country’s largest banking institution in terms of total assets, number of branches and employees, has introduced several services via its Al Ahly Net and NBE mobile app, in order to support its digital banking strategy.

Hisham Okasha, chairman at the NBE, noted that the new services are part of the institution’s digital transformation strategy. The bank is planning to offer new types of virtual banking services, which may now be considered essential due to COVID-19.

Okasha stated that the nation’s digital technology adoption plan aims to encourage local consumers to conduct online transactions, instead of relying on cash payments which may no longer be safe due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Egypt’s digital transformation strategy also aims to make it easier for consumers and local businesses to access digital platforms by improving the user experience. Okasha also said that the bank plans to help customers with reducing the frequency or the number of visits they have to make to physical branch locations to take care of their banking needs.

He revealed that the NBE has upgraded its legacy technology infrastructure so that the bank can digitize most of its financial services.

Yehia Aboul Fotouh, the Vice-Chairperson at the NBA, stated that these new digital services have been developed after performing relevant research that took into consideration feedback from the bank’s customers.

He claims that more than 2.7 million customers have subscribed to the Al Ahly Net service (which supports digital financial services).

Like other MENA region countries such as the UAE, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, Egypt has been adopting innovative financial technology solutions. Cairo-based Fintech Paymob recently secured funding so that it can develop e-commerce platforms for SMEs, while supporting online payments via digital and offline channels.

In June 2020, Tpay Mobile, a digital merchant acquirer in the MENA region that was founded in Cairo, Egypt, announced that it had acquired Payguru, a Turkish payments company.

Payguru supports mobile payments, ATM cash payments, and standard bank transfer services. The company has integrated its platform with mobile network operators and large banks.

Also in June, Fintech expert Mohamed Okasha from Egypt said the country needs more specialized funds specifically for financial tech development.

Cairo based Fintech MoneyFellows has secured $4 million in capital through a Series A round led by Partech and Sawari Ventures. In May 2020, Buy Now Pay Later Fintech Shahry acquired $650,000 in seed funding from Egyptian Gulf Holding for Financial Investments.

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