Mashreq Bank Egypt has seen a 53% increase in the number of individual customers using digital channels at the bank during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The data was revealed by Haitham Hammad, Mashreq Bank Egypt’s Executive Vice President and Head of the Retail Banking Services and Distribution Channels Sector.
In an interview with Daily News Egypt, Hammad said that the bank is seeking to upgrade its online and mobile banking platform into a modern platform. Following the change, the focus is on a unique customer experience.
He added that the bank is also planning to launch a Chatbot Virtual Assistant to provide various easy ways for customers to access banking services.
How has COVID-19 affected the bank’s plans in providing its services?
At Mashreq Bank Egypt, we strongly believe in supporting our community and our customers from the individual sector, and we try to meet as much of their needs as possible.
As soon as Egypt announced that it was affected by this pandemic, we launched a number of packages designed according to the initiatives of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), in accordance with the requirements of retail customers.
They included a set of benefits, aimed at alleviating customers’ financial burdens, such as extending their loan repayment periods and delaying the payment of credit card debts for six months. It also saw us offer discounts and even exemptions on account opening fees, as well as increasing the maximum daily disbursement from cards. This made it easier for Mashreq card users to meet their purchasing needs through e-commerce.
Mashreq Bank has also encouraged all of its customers to switch to digital channels and engage with the mobile banking application during this time with social distancing measures. We shed light on a variety of contactless payment solutions and online platforms available for their daily needs.
All of this aimed to enable customers to interact with us any time anywhere through our digital banking channels “Mashreq Online”, “Mashreq Mobile” mobile banking services, and customer service through the bank’s call centre.
These services enabled customers to conduct all inquiries and enjoy fewer limitations on all online and mobile transfers to suit their needs with the waiver of utility bill payment fees and donations.
Did this crisis speed up the implementation of plans to provide technological services, and undergo digital transformation?
The bank continues to work to increase awareness of the importance of using digital channels, through awareness campaigns. During the COVID-19 period, the use of all digital channels increased significantly as the number of individual customers using digital channels increased by 53%. Whilst, the number of customer carrying out financial transactions increased by 98%, and the volume of transactions increased by 373%.
This indicates that customers have begun to rely more on digital channels, which is in line with our digital transformation strategy.
What digital services does the bank currently provide, and what services do you intend to provide in the coming period?
The bank always strives to provide the latest products and continuously develop digital services. It provides an integrated set of digital services, from inquiring about account balances, all the way to making all financial transactions such as transfers, bill payments, and donations.
Furthermore, there is a set of various transactions that include linking certificates and deposits and opening sub-accounts to simplify the banking experience for our customers. We now provide a complete set of digital services, including Mashreq Online, Mashreq Mobile, and Mashreq WhatsApp.
Our online and mobile banking platforms will be updated to become a completely modern platform where the focus is on a unique customer experience. Not only that, the Chatbot Virtual Assistant service will be launched within our plan to provide different easy ways to access the banking service.
How did the bank’s customers react to the services it provided during COVID-19?
Mashreq Bank is constantly improving its retail banking services, providing products that are compatible with all target groups, in addition to various other services to ensure customer satisfaction.
In this framework, the bank seeks to provide unique and varied products with the latest technologies to meet the needs of its customers.
The most prominent efforts made by the bank include the re-launch of the points programme. It was developed to include all individual products provided by the bank.
Customers have expressed through social media that they were happy with their new experience which allows them to redeem points from several partner merchants. They can easily do that using online e-vouchers. We have also started a questionnaire to measure customer satisfaction with the bank’s services and products. In the last questionnaire, the result showed high satisfaction on most levels.