Egyptian banks par­take in Arab Fi­nan­cial In­clu­sion Week for 2nd year

Fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion is key pil­lar for achiev­ing state vi­sion of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment, says Fayed

The Daily News Egypt - - Business - By Hos­sam Mounir

For the sec­ond year in a row, banks ac­tive in the Egyptian mar­ket are strongly in­volved in the Arab Fi­nan­cial In­clu­sion Week, which be­gan sev­eral days ago and con­tin­ues through the end of April.

Tarek Fayed, chair­per­son and CEO at Banque du Caire, said that his bank is par­tic­i­pat­ing for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year in the ac­tiv­i­ties of the Arab Fi­nan­cial In­clu­sion Week or­gan­ised by the Cen­tral Bank of Egypt (CBE) to raise aware­ness among all seg­ments of the pop­u­la­tion and fa­cil­i­tate ac­cess to fi­nan­cial ser­vices.

He pointed out that the cam­paign for fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion con­trib­utes to the trans­for­ma­tion of Egyptian cul­ture to­wards bank­ing, stress­ing the im­por­tance of spread­ing the cul­ture of bank­ing aware­ness among all seg­ments of so­ci­ety, es­pe­cially women and youth over 16 years of age, along­side be­ing present in Up­per and Lower Egypt, as well as ru­ral ar­eas that lack ap­pro­pri­ate bank­ing ser­vices.

He added that Banque du Caire is keen to of­fer a va­ri­ety of pro­mo­tional of­fers aimed at at­tract­ing a wide range of cus­tomers, in­clud­ing open­ing bank ac­counts for new cus­tomers with­out ad­min­is­tra­tive ex­penses and with­out a min­i­mum bal­ance.The bank also re­duced an­nual fees by 50% for the first year. More­over, it will be is­su­ing pre­paid “easy cards” for youth dur­ing the cam­paign.

Hazem Hegazy, deputy chair­per­son at Banque du Caire, said that the bank will be present in 35 lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing malls, clubs, and univer­si­ties, across Egypt.

He added that there is a plan to ex­pand the bank’s branch network and ATM ma­chines and to pro­vide ad­di­tional bank­ing ser­vices to fit all so­cial classes, along with a mo­bile wal­let pro­gramme.

Ac­cord­ing to Hegazy, Banque du Caire’s ef­forts in the Arab Fi­nan­cial In­clu­sion Week also in­clude the dis­tri­bu­tion of leaflets to bank em­ploy­ees and cus­tomers at branches through­out the cam­paign, as well as the launch­ing of cam­paign ve­hi­cles in all gov­er­norates, vil­lages, and ham­lets to pro­mote bank­ing ser­vices. He noted that the bank will con­tinue its new strat­egy to en­hance aware­ness of the bank­ing sec­tor among cit­i­zens.

El­sayed Elkosayer, chair­per­son at the Agri­cul­tural Bank of Egypt (ABE), said that the bank has started im­ple­ment­ing the di­rec­tives of the CBE for the fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion week.

Elkosayer said that the bank’s 1,210 branches are now of­fer­ing bank­ing ser­vices out­side the ac­tual branches, as em­ploy­ees of the bank are present at clubs, vil­lages, ham­lets, and univer­si­ties to pro­vide bank­ing ser­vices to all clients, es­pe­cially low-in­come cit­i­zens.

He added that, in im­ple­men­ta­tion of the CBE’s di­rec­tives, the bank is open­ing bank ac­counts for new clients with no fees and with­out a min­i­mum bal­ance, while an­nual fees are be­ing slashed by at least 50%.

Fur­ther­more, he said that the bank’s ef­forts to as­sim­i­late new seg­ments to utilise bank­ing ser­vices come to im­ple­ment the di­rec­tives of the po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship, which are aimed at in­te­grat­ing all seg­ments of so­ci­ety to ben­e­fit from bank­ing ser­vices.

He pointed out that the bank is fully qual­i­fied to be a gate­way to fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion be­cause of the special na­ture of its clients, who are usu­ally farm­ers in need of fi­nan­cial and bank­ing ser­vices, as well as youth and women, along with own­ers of mi­cro and small projects.

He ex­plained that the Agri­cul­tural Bank of Egypt, with its network of 1,210 branches, is the most wide­spread in Egypt, point­ing out that this reach can pro­vide ac­cess to ar­eas lack­ing bank­ing ser­vices.

Elkosayer added that the bank also has a rich ex­pe­ri­ence in fi­nanc­ing mi­cro, small, and medium en­ter­prises, most of which are from the tar­get groups, through the ini­tia­tives launched by the bank it­self or the ini­tia­tives launched by the CBE that aim at de­vel­op­ing small en­ter­prises and live­stock de­vel­op­ment.

“Fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion is a global trend aimed at strength­en­ing the economies of coun­tries by in­te­grat­ing the in­for­mal econ­omy into the for­mal econ­omy by us­ing all bank­ing and fi­nan­cial ser­vices for dif­fer­ent sec­tors of the so­ci­ety with its in­sti­tu­tions and in­di­vid­u­als, es­pe­cially the least de­vel­oped and low-in­come groups, through the of­fi­cial chan­nels of the fi­nan­cial and bank­ing sec­tors.This by­passes il­le­gal chan­nels that lack su­per­vi­sion. This is the ABE’s path and one of its mis­sion points in the com­ing pe­riod,” he said.

El­sayed Elkosayer, chair­per­son at the Agri­cul­tural Bank of Egypt

Bank­ing ex­pert Hany Aboul Fo­touh

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